Danlao: Ex-Eggslut chefs whip up HK-inspired scrambled egg rice bowls at Maxwell Food Centre
When we talk about hawker centres that are typically packed to the brim with CBD folks during lunch time, Maxwell Food Centre comes to mind. Though this hawker centre is home to plenty of historic food stalls like the ever-famous Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon, there seems to be a recent influx of young blood, such as Nian Nian You Yu, and most recently, Danlao.
Run by 4 young hawkers (2 of whom are ex-chefs at Eggslut), Danlao is the newest kid on the block, having only started operations on 5 Dec 2022.
Danlao 蛋佬 literally means “guy who does eggs” in Mandarin, and that should give you a hint as to what this humble hawker stall specialises in— eggs. Specifically, Danlao sells Hong Kong-inspired scrambled egg rice bowls, with simple yet comforting toppings such as luncheon meat cubes and tomatoes.
With most of the ingredients such as its char siew and chicken cutlet being made in-house, as well as everything being cooked to order, I had no doubts as to why this stall garnered such a huge hype. I couldn’t wait to try it for myself!
What I tried at Danlao
Danlao’s menu is one of the most concise I’ve ever seen. It only offers 5 types of scrambled egg rice bowls— Tomato (S$4.50), Luncheon Meat (S$5), Chicken Cutlet (S$6), Char Siew (S$6) and Prawn (S$7). Hooray for indecisive eaters like me!
In a bid to try as much of Danlao’s menu as possible, I decided to get a bowl of Tomato (S$4.50) scrambled egg rice, and added on additional Luncheon Meat at S$2.
Just looking at the bowl of food made my mouth water. Peeking through the pool of homemade tomato gravy were silky, shiny scrambled eggs, and topping it all off were large, square chunks of pan-fried luncheon meat.
I swear to you, I’ve never taken my photos this quickly! I was hoping that the tomato gravy wouldn’t cook my silky scrambled eggs any further, and that by the time I dug in, it’ll still be at its optimal condition.
Not sure as to whether I should be mixing everything together or eating each element individually, I decided to grab a bite of the stewed tomatoes first.
This was done superbly well, and instantly reminded me of my mum’s stir-fried home-cooked tomato and egg dish. The tomatoes were soft, warm and comforting, with a slightly tangy yet savoury kick that only made me want to go back in for more.
Not to mention, Danlao used a combination of regular and cherry tomatoes for the gravy, resulting in varying textures— one bursts in your mouth, while another comes in large, tender chunks.
I was most excited to try Danlao’s scrambled eggs, after hearing raving reviews about it.
My biggest pet peeve with scrambled eggs is that it’s either too firm or too watery. Danlao’s rendition was perfectly in-between— soft and silky, yet not too runny. I loved that it was seasoned well enough on its own, such that you can actually eat the egg as it is.
This is what I’d imagine would go on top of avocados and toast, albeit a little thinner in volume as it’s more of a blanket rather than a stack of scrambled eggs.
I absolutely adored how Danlao’s luncheon meat came in thick, sizeable square chunks. Each side was well grilled, creating a crispiness to it, and its iconic saltiness was a welcome addition to the bowl.
Though this bowl of Tomato with Luncheon Meat was pretty straightforward, I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. Youv’e got juicy sauce from the tomatoes, saltiness from the luncheon meat, and a silky softness from the egg, all of which contributed to a comforting home-style yet utterly satisfying meal.
I moved onto my second bowl: Chicken Cutlet (S$6).
Without any additional gravy from the tomatoes, I wondered if the rice would be overly dry or plain. Thankfully, Danlao’s white rice was cooked well, and had been drizzled with sauce prior to being blanketed with the scrambled eggs.
The chicken cutlet instantly reminded me of har cheong gai, with savoury and smoky notes. I could taste the fragrant, umami-filled prawn paste, as well as other spices. More importantly, I genuinely appreciated how generous Danlao was with the chicken cutlet— I counted 7 to 8 slices which varied from meaty chunks to pure crispy skin.
A must when you’re dining here is to pair your chicken cutlet with Danlao’s homemade chilli oil. Though slightly oilier than I’d have liked, the chilli oil added wonderfully roasted notes to each bite. I reckon you can even mix the chilli directly into your rice for that extra savoury and spicy kick!
This is probably one of the most no-fuss meals I’ve had (I mean, it’s scrambled eggs on rice), but each element is executed so well that it’s hard to identify areas of improvement! Not to mention, everything is priced so affordably, and you get generous portions to boot.
Most of the time, it’s easy for me to pick a clear favourite. This time, I couldn’t— I loved Danlao’s Tomato with Luncheon Meat because of its tangy, appetising sauciness and large meaty bites, but the Chicken Cutlet amazed me with its har cheong gai-like marinade.
Danlao is a place I’d definitely recommend, especially if you’re looking for home-style and comforting meals that fill you up. My only suggestion? Include more vegetables, perhaps, just to balance out the carbs and protein.
Expected damage: S$4.50 – S$8 per pax
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