Maxwell market has been around as long as I can remember. There was one brief moment in my life that I worked in the Tanjong Pagar area and Maxwell market was one of the hawker lunch places that I visited very often. Maxwell market is very popular with the office workers around the area so if you visit during lunch hour, be prepared to queue for food. And by the way, queuing at hawker centers is normal and no one complains. Why would you when the food is so tasty and affordable?
Even though there are many variety of stalls here, there are only a handful that has a queue. One of these stalls is the infamous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall. Please note that it does not open on Mondays! And when it does open, prepare to queue for about 20 minutes. Also note that it is self-service. You queue, order and pick up the food.
This place has been endorsed by Anthony Bourdian but it does not matter. It is really good and one of the best in town if you are prepared to wait.
The skin and the white chicken meat is so smooth and tender. It almost melts in the mouth. Every mouthful is a dab of chilli, dark caramel sauce on the chicken meat and a generous spoonful of fragrant rice. Everything is just perfect from condiments to the rice. It has won so many awards and recognition over the years. If you are a visitor to beautiful Singapore, just make sure you make your way to Maxwell Market and ‘die die also must try’ Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken rice.
And since we are here, let me introduce you to other favourites in this market. Another stall that has a long queue is this corner Fish Head Bee Hoon stall. It is on the middle row and in the middle and always with a queue as well. I ordered a fish slice thick white noodle with added milk. The fish was really fresh and the noodle was slippery good. The stock was sweet and I was happily slurping away. There are other versions like the fish head noodles or fried fish slice. All yummy!
By the way, the milk is evaporated milk and not the carton type milk.
Mister brought back a plate of roast duck and pork with rice. Not sure which stall it is but the roast duck was really succulent and the skin was nice and crispy. The pork had enough fat vs meat ratio and I just love the drizzle of dark soy on the rice.
Sorry to be going backwards. But let me introduce you to Chinese sashimi! It is from the congee stall opposite the fish head bee hoon. You can’t miss this as it’s line is as long as the fish hoon stall but just going the other way. If you are not local, then it’s better if you have a ‘strong’ stomach before you attempt this dish. It is raw fish that is topped with loads of fresh cut chillies, spring onions and generous sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Mister squeezed loads of kalamansi juice to help cook the fish a little. Allow it to sit a little, stir and combine thoroughly and then eat! So fresh, so good.
Mum got some rojak some a nearby Rojak and blood clams stall. I did not try the blood clams but you will be able to get a plate for about $5. Looks good but I try to avoid eating too much blood clams. The rojak was fantastic and is actually manned by a local young couple. With every visit back, the number of older generation hawker is being replaced by the young but mostly foreigners and not actually local. So it is good to see interest from the local younger generation. I wonder what will happen in the next 5 to 10 years? I sincerely hope that Singapore hawker food continues to strive!
Now we jump to dessert. I have eaten this hum jin peng. Hum means salty in Cantonese. Jin peng is fried biscuit or dough. This particular stall is quite special. It’s self service and they have brought the meaning of self-service to another level. I was standing in line and initially thought the guy in front of me was one of the stall helpers. And when he walked away, I realised that I had to pack the hum jin peng myself. The one behind me ended up picking up the hum jin peng from the hot wok himself while the old couple were kneading dough and throwing them into the hot wok. No wonder the hum jin peng was so affordable. 6 for $1! There is also a sweet version which is coated with icing sugar but I prefer the salty ones. And it goes so well with kopi. That is a luxury that I will never have in Sydney. Simplicity at its best.
If you are a tourist or traveller, this is an easier hawker center to get to. All taxi drivers will know where Maxwell Market is. And if you are hoping onto a train, just make sure you are headed towards Tanjong Pagar station. Once you get there, just ask anyone for direction. There are so many good stalls here. Just stick to the ones with queues and you will be fine!