10 Chinatown Complex Food Centre stalls you can’t miss out on

September 4, 2022 By Charmian Lee
10 Chinatown Complex Food Centre stalls you can’t miss out on
Soy sauce chicken noodles from Fatty Ox HK Kitchen. Photo: Kenneth Cheng/HungryGoWhere

Hidden in an ethnic enclave is the largest hawker centre in Singapore — Chinatown Complex Food Centre. The sprawling food centre boasts more than 250 stalls and is almost maze-like for the unfamiliar.

A hotspot for both tourists and locals alike, there are tons of famed stalls and good food to be found. No matter whether you’re a regular or if it’s your first time to this food centre, here are 10 stalls you have to try.

 

1. Fatty Ox Hong Kong Kitchen

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-84, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Wednesday to Sunday (7.30am to 2.30pm)

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Photo: Kenneth Cheng/HungryGoWhere

Located in a corner of Chinatown Complex Food Centre, Fatty Ox Hong Kong Kitchen specialises in Hong Kong-style Cantonese egg noodles and roast meats.

Diners will be spoilt for choice with its assortment of meat-centric dishes — signature beef brisket noodles, char siew noodles (S$4) and pork knuckle noodles (S$4). But for us, the winner was the soy sauce chicken noodles served with slices of tender meat. 

For something lighter on the stomach, its dumpling noodles (S$3) are a comforting choice that’s equally delicious.

Its beef brisket sells out fast, so arrive early to avoid disappointment. And steel yourself for long queues, as the meats are prepared and sliced upon order.

What to order: Soy sauce chicken noodles (S$4), signature beef brisket noodles (S$5)

2. 168 CMY Satay 

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-168, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Tuesday to Sunday (9am to 7pm)

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Photo: Charmian Lee/HungryGoWhere

Chinatown Complex Food Centre isn’t short of Michelin-approved stalls and 168 CMY Satay is certainly another for the books. If CMY sounds familiar, it’s actually an acronym for Chun Man Yuan, one of Singapore’s largest satay suppliers. 

The stall doles out cooked-to-order satay grilled over a charcoal fire, leaving us with slightly charred meaty chunks that are tender and juicy. 

Its peanut sauce is served on the side with a dollop of pineapple puree. Chunky and nutty, the sauce is elevated by the sweetness and flavour of the tangy fruit. It also helps balance the heaviness of the peanut sauce.

What to order: Pork satay (70 cents per piece), beef satay (70 cents per piece)

 

3. Hakka Fun HamCha and Yong Tou Fu

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-123, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Monday to Sunday (no fixed rest days; 11am to 6pm, or earlier if sold out)

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Thunder tea rice. Photo: Hakka Fun HamCha and Yong Tou Fu/Facebook

Hakka Fun HamCha and Yong Tou Fu opened in 2018 and is manned by a Malaysian couple, Michelle Yee and Alan Kok.

Specialising in traditional Hakka delights, the ham cha (otherwise known as leicha or thunder tea rice) and yong tau foo here are family recipes passed down from Kok’s and Yee’s mothers respectively.  

Give their Hakka ham cha with puffed rice a go if you love added crunchy textures in your food. Loaded with 10 ingredients, the rice is also paired with a thunder tea — one that possesses a stronger flavour than others you may encounter. 

What to order: Hakka ham cha (from S$4.50), yong tau foo (from S$1 per ingredient)

 

4. Seng Kee 119 Steamed Fish Head

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-190/200/207, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Wednesday to Saturday (11.30am to 2.30pm, 3pm to 8.45pm), Sunday and Monday (11.30am to 2.30pm, 4.30pm to 9.30pm)

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Photo: Charmian Lee/HungryGoWhere

Steamed Song fish (​​Asian bighead carp) head was a popular dish among the Cantonese from Guangdong, China. It’s little wonder, then, that Chinatown Complex Food Centre, a Cantonese enclave, is the place to find this dish. 

Said to be the pioneer stall that created the steamed fish head in hot sauce, Seng Kee 119 Steam Fish Head is one of the stalls in the food centre that sell this. The meaty snapper fish head comes doused with Seng Kee’s special hot sauce.

The fresh and tender meat is pleasantly paired with a savoury, sour and spicy blend — a fermented bean sauce that leans toward the sweeter side.

What to order: Steamed fish head in hot sauce (S$18)

 

5. Hill Street Fried Kway Teow 

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-32, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Tuesday and Thursday (11am to 6.30pm), Saturday (10am to 5pm)

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Fried kway teow. Photo: jamietan04/Instagram

Some might know of Hill Street Fried Kway Teow in Bedok, but the truth is this stall in Chinatown and that stall have no relation to each other. This Hill Street Fried Kway Teow stall may receive less media attention, though it has its following of die-hard fans.  

Founded in the 1970s, a husband-and-wife duo has been running the stall since. In the capable hands of Tan Chiang Boo and his wife, the stall sees queues that can stretch up to 30 minutes or more — but it’s worth the wait.

Offering a wetter version of fried kway teow, rice and yellow wheat noodles are evenly coated in savoury, sweet sauce with pork lard. The fried noodles are also dished up with cockles, lup cheong (Cantonese wax sausage), lard, and chives — what some may call the definitive ingredients of a hearty plate of fried kway teow. 

What to order: Char kway teow (from S$3.50)

 

6. Chef Leung’s Authentic Hand-Milled Rice Noodle Rolls 

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-96, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Tuesday to Sunday (7am to 2pm)

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Original chee cheong fun (foreground) and century egg congee (background). Photo: matildalim/Instagram

Opened by an ex-Raffles Hotel dim sum chef, Chef Leung’s Authentic Hand-Milled Rice Noodle Rolls doles out handmade chee cheong fun (rice noodle rolls) that’re hot in demand — as evidenced by the long queues during mealtimes.

Diners can choose from five flavours — original (S$2.80), pork (S$3.50), char siew (S$4), prawn (S$4.50), and tuna (S$4.50).

Chef Leung also sells Hong Kong-style congee as a wholesome breakfast option. Choose from either pork and century eggs congee or seafood congee (S$5.50).

What to order: Pork chee cheong fun (S$3.50), pork and century egg congee (S$4.50)

 

7. Kazan Japanese Cuisine 

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-01, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Monday to Friday, and Sunday (12pm to 3pm, 5.30pm to 8.30pm) 

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Photo: Charmian Lee/HungryGoWhere

Japanese food may seem out of place when you visit Chinatown, but Kazan Japanese Cuisine dishes out dependable Japanese fare at wallet-friendly prices.

The unagi set comes highly recommended, especially with a price point of less than S$10. The thick slab of eel is coated in a sweet glaze and retains its tender interior.

Not a fan of seafood? The katsuo boshi chicken set may be right up your alley, with a chicken cutlet smothered in teriyaki sauce, finished with a light drizzle of mayonnaise and a sprinkle of bonito flakes. 

What to order: Unagi set (S$9), katsuo boshi chicken set (S$6.50)

 

8. Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Foo 

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-88, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Tuesday to Sunday (5am to 1.30pm)

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Yong tau foo with an assortment of ingredients. Photo: yippi312_eatdrinklove/Instagram

When I heard that there exists yong tau foo that costs less than S$4, I could hardly believe my ears. Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Foo delivers just that.

For a mere S$3.80, you can choose six ingredients for your yong tau foo with noodles, or eight ingredients without noodles.

Starting at 2am, the yong tau foo ingredients are freshly prepared by the family that runs the stall. The fish paste is fresh and tender, and unlike many places, it’s handmade by the owners.

Don’t forget to add a sprinkling of crispy ikan bilis (anchovies) atop your bowl. The crispy and fragrant fried fish is not only the stall’s specialty, but it also adds an extra layer of crunch to a simple bowl of yong tau foo. 

What to order: Dry kway teow, with six pieces of yong tau foo (S$3.80) 

 

9. 115 Tang Shui

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-206, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Wednesday to Sunday (7.30am to 4.30pm)

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115 Tang Shui storefront. Photo: 115 Tang Shui/Facebook

If you’re looking for something other than run-of-the-mill local icy desserts, make a beeline for 115 Tang Shui. Unlike the usual chendol and ice kachang, you can find traditional Chinese desserts here.

Behind each bowl of dessert are hours of preparation, starting from three in the morning. Some choice desserts include fragrant herb (rue) green beans and bobo chacha (S$1.90). 

What caught my eye are its pastes using hand-peeled nuts ground with a traditional stone grinder.

What to order: Fragrant herb (rue) green beans (from S$2), pastes (from S$1.70)

 

10. Smith Street Taps 

Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 02-062, 335 Smith Street
Nearest MRT station: Chinatown
Open: Tuesday to Thursday (6pm to 10.30pm), Friday (6pm to 11pm), Saturday (2pm to 11pm)

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Photo: Smith Street Taps/Instagram

Once you’re off the clock, head to Smith Street Taps to get your hands on a crisp pint of craft beer. Founded in 2014 by Meng Chao and Daniel Goh, this stall features premium local and international craft beers on tap. 

Here, visitors can acquaint themselves with lesser-known international breweries. Occasionally, they have “tap takeovers”, where a single brewery takes over taps to serve parched visitors. Siren Craft Brew (Berkshire, Britain) and Baird Beer (Numazu, Japan) are two such brands to have been featured. 

Enjoy a rotation of beers (from S$14) at this hidden craft beer haunt while you pair your pint with a satisfying meal from your favourite Chinatown Complex Food Centre stall. 

What to order: Craft beers (from S$14)

Kazan Japanese Cuisine is on the GrabFood delivery service. You can also book a ride to the Chinatown Complex Food Centre.


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