15 Minutes at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre (Singapore)


I came to Asia for food and pretty much food only. That is unless you have a tour guide. To preface, I’m so very thankful that I had a tour guide, Pamelia Lee who has written countless books on Singapore and worked as a board member of Singapore Tourism for years. Her nephew is Lee Hsien Loong, the current prime minister of Singapore, I was in good company. With my tour guide / auntie, and coupled with the toxic haze from Indonesia forest fires equals a less than great food experience in Singapore.

I was on my last day in Singapore and trying to get out of the grips of my auntie, when 30 minutes magically appeared! She told me to check out her old office for a visit of an exhibition and she would run an errand. Noticing out of the corner of my eye Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, I knew I could make this work. By the way, Hawker Centres are what Night Markets are to Taiwan, what are food trucks to the U.S. The local, down and dirty home-cooked shit that starts a food culture. After a few minutes of checking out the exhibition at her old office, I had 15 minutes to explore the Hawker Centre. Game on.


It’s a really daunting task to get a good experience at a Hawker Centre in 15 minutes. I knew my stomach wouldn’t feel the effects of food for about 30 minutes, so I could just eat non-stop.

The fruits in Asia are amazing. Many of the fruits we love in the states come from or are grown best in Asia. I got a smoothie made of papaya and guava. Both of those fruits aren’t overwhelming with flavor and have a nice mild sweetness. They are sometimes combined with sour plum or other stronger flavored fruits. In this case, I wanted something refreshing that would overpower all the food I was going to eat.


I couldn’t wait too long for food to be cooked to order as I was on a time crunch, so I spotted a place that specializes in fried foods and got fried tofu and fish. The tofu was pretty good, but the fish was so succulent and juicy. The exterior was nice and crunchy even though it was fried earlier in the day. I’ve also noticed in Asia, most of the fried foods are made ahead of time, and they’re done so well, they hold up for hours. It is probably because they fry the shit out of it.


There was one place that was fucking packed, so I had to try to grab something. I asked for something quick and they told me the fried Wontons are good. Done. I ordered a small order. The cook was going to wrap it up for me, and after some hand gestures, I got her to give it to me in an open container. I went for the Soy Sauce and she had that “Fuck no” look. Then she grabbed a spoonful of a chili mixture and threw it in my container. I took a bite and the steam and juices started running and it was so good. Asian food can be overly salty, and in this case, it was just right. The chili mixture with multiple types of peppers and probably some garlic and fish sauce gave another complexity to the dish. Wontons done fucking right!


There’s so much roasted, fried, broiled meats in Asian culture, that it’s an absolute must. So I spotted a popular meat spot and headed for it. Once I got there, I asked the chef what to get and he recommended the pork. I was down and wanted a small side order. This was the first time I saw a pork belly that looked to be braised in a black, savory sweet sauce. It was so goddamn good that this was the only plate I finished. Mind you, I ended up having about a minute or two to eat.


When my time was up, I met my auntie and we made our way throughout the city. Yes, I didn’t give this area any time, but in the short time I was there, the food was really good. I later found out that, that area is known for good soups, so fuck me. Anyways, that 15 minutes was insane and I was able to hit up 4 stalls that were crowded and eat the food. Also, the hazardous haze didn’t help. I had to take off my mask and gorge. Meaning with every delicious bite, I was smelling a bit of burnt rubber. Can’t wait to do it again.

Source: Your Singapore

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