Old Airport Road Food Centre for the win
With the news that Golden Shoe Food Centre will be closing soon, it makes us wonder how many other hawker centres will follow its footsteps in the years to come. Opened in 1973 and featuring a whopping 168 stalls, Old Airport Road Food Centre is one of the oldest and largest hawker centres in Singapore. Having been around for decades, it has had the time to collect a good number of well-known food stalls. Here we highlight 10 of our favourite and, for some, the best in its category.
1. Nam Sing Hokkien Mee
They close on random days, and when they are open, they sell out fast. So if you ever catch the stall with their shutter up, call it your lucky day and order their Hokkien mee ($3/$5). Nam Sing uses thin bee hoon to absorb all the sweet seafood stock, resulting in a drier but more flavourful and well-balanced end product.
Check out our list of top 10 Hokkien mee in Singapore!
Unit number: #01-32
Opening hours: Not fixed. Usually 7am to 8pm, or until sold out, on days they open.
2. Ru Ji Kitchen
Ru Ji Kitchen has expanded into several outlets the past three years, and this one at Old Airport Road is run by the daughter and son-in-law of the owner. The stand-out here is their handmade fish balls and fish cakes, which are significantly bouncier and firmer than factory-made counterparts. A bowl of fishball noodles ($3/$4/$5) combines the tanginess of black vinegar and a kick of spicy sambal, providing a great counterpart to the mildly-flavoured fish balls.
Unit number: #01-37
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 7:30am to 1pm
3. Mattar Road Seafood
The chilli crab (seasonal price) and Mattar Road Seafood is fiery, peppery, and has a slight tanginess that only fresh tomatoes can provide. The sauce is not overly starchy, and it’s laced with egg ribbons and crab roe. They are also known for white pepper crab, which is full of wok hei and sweetness from fresh Sri Lankan crabs. They take two days off every week just to make their signature sambal – talk about dedication.
Unit number: #01-63
Opening hours: Thur-Mon 3pm to 11pm
Tel: 6447 2798
4. Chuan Kee Satay
There are a few satay stalls in Old Airport Road Food Centre, and we like Chuan Kee for its Hainanese-style satay ($0.50 per skewer). Juicy skewers of meat are slowly grilled over charcoal to give it charred edges, and each stick is not overly sweet or caramelised. The peanut sauce here is served the traditional way – with a dollop of pineapple sauce – and its tanginess is pleasantly appetising.
Unit number: #01-85
Opening hours: Tues-Wed, Fri-Sat 6pm till sold out, Sun 1pm till sold out
5. Toa Payoh Rojak
Rojak can be easily put together, but the key is to make sure every ingredient is prepared well. At Toa Payoh Rojak, the fruits are ripe enough to be sweet and tart, but not overly ripe to become watery. In this rojak ($3), the fried dough sticks are crispy and the prawn paste is thick enough to blend everything together.
Unit number: #01-108
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12pm to 8pm
Tel: 6958 9380
6. Xin Dong Fang
Xin Dong Fang sells bak kwa, ngoh hiang and fried intestines. It might not look particularly inviting, but their fried intestines ($5) is a must-try. Braised ’til tender, the intestines are thoroughly cleaned and rid of any unpleasant smell. It is then deep fried to give it a crisp exterior, while the interior is juicy and almost buttery. A side of chilli helps to cut through the fat in this dish.
Unit number: #01-112
Opening hours: Daily 10am to 10pm
7. Xin Mei Xiang Lor Mee
Xin Mei Xiang serves arguably one of the best lor mee in town, drawing long queues and selling out fast. The lor mee ($3/$4/$5) is generously topped with flaky white fish instead of the usual deep fried fish. The gravy, which is made with a combination of herbs, is savoury and has a thick consistency that lasts ’til the last drop.
Unit number: #01-116
Opening hours: Fri-Wed 6am to 1:45pm
8. Wang Wang Curry Puff
This unique curry puff crust at Wang Wang is a result of hours of assembly by hand. Every day, the owner folds and rolls each curry puff to create this layered flaky crust. Aside from the usual curry chicken, they also offer puffs ($1.10) with other fillings such as black pepper chicken, yam, and sardine. The curry chicken filling is generously packed with juicy chunks of chicken, potatoes, and a wedge of boiled egg – a sure crowd-pleaser at gatherings.
Unit number: #01-126
Opening hours: Sun-Tue 10am to 9pm
9. Dong Ji Fried Kway Teow
Fried kway teow ($3/$4) at Dong Ji is reminiscent of Penang-style char kway teow. Compared to the Singaporean version we’re familiar with, the kway teow here is drier and less sweet. Each plate of kway teow is painstakingly fried one at a time, and come out savoury, slight spicy and full of wok hei. The wait can be long, but it’s worth it.
Unit number: #01-138
Opening hours: Daily 8am to 2pm
10. Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun
This chee cheong fun at Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun beats those at fancy Chinese dim sum restaurants. All the components are delicate, from the almost translucent rice roll, to light soy sauce with sesame oil, and carefully placed ingredients such as prawns and char siew. Best of all, each plate comes at $2.
Unit number: #01-155
Opening hours: Daily 7am to 9pm
Fly off to Old Airport Road
In case you’re wondering where the “old airport” in Old Airport Road is, the name is in reference to Kallang Airport, Singapore’s first civilian airport. The road was actually part of a runway and the hawker centre was built beside it. Thank goodness we ended up moving the airport to Changi, because we’d otherwise be bereft of this hawker centre.
Address: 51 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390051
Nearest MRT Station: Dakota