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DISCLAIMER: Does a dish exist if there are no online reviews? At Yummy!, we aim to be honest and transparent about the food we cover. As much as possible, we paid for the food. Where meals are offered for free, don’t assume for a moment we will disguise our delight or displeasure. What is guaranteed, however, are honest opinions (though we recognise taste is subjective) and relevant deets, to help you make a decision about a visit. For more Yummy! content, visit yhoo.it/yummy
How would your lunch or dinner look like on a cold, wet day in Singapore?
For Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, bak chor mee (minced meat noodle) add hum (cockles) is the perfect rainy day comfort food.
While not exactly a regular order on the menu, the tongue-in-cheek post (possibly a nod to the mee siam mai hum speech from 2006) has inspired foodies to descend upon confused noodle stall keepers to relegate them with the exact order.
Since PM Lee is like a de facto food influencer, we thought we would retrace his path and check out a couple of food places where he has made an appearance to see if the nosh checks out.
Nasi Lemak at The Coconut Club, 28 Ann Siang Rd, Singapore 069708
The Coconut Club opened in 2016 and shot to fame after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hosted Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to a meal there. In 2018, the restaurant made it into the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand list, and this year, it still sits snugly among the entries in the widely-recognised guide for good food.
For starters, we tried the Gado Gado ($9.80) and Homemade Otah ($10.80). The satay sauce in the Gado Gado is a well-rounded blend of peanut, lime and spice, but remains light on the palate. In an unusual sentiment, we wished there was less fish meat in the Homemade Otah, but the generous amount of fish meat justified the price point.
Between us, we shared the Ayam Goreng Berempah Set ($16.80), consisting of spiced fried organic French Poulet leg and fragrant coconut rice. The coconut rice is hands down the gold standard for nasi lemak – the lemak comes through like a walk through the garden that you can luxuriate in all day.
We talked at length about the coconut rice even after the meal, so the restaurant must have done something right by insisting on producing their own fresh, small-batch cold-pressed premium coconut milk. We're talking about a proprietary blend of both Mawa and Malayan Tall coconut milk that has achieved its aim of the perfect balance of creaminess, fragrance and flavour. In fact, most of the signature items on the menu, such as coconut rice, rendang, traditional handmade kuehs and signature Chendol are made with the same coconut milk blend.
Speaking of the Chendol ($4.80), it came highly recommended, so we indulged, and it did not disappoint, reminding us of the ones we had in Malacca. You can add on azuki beans for an additional $2.50.
Chicken Wings and desserts at Redhill Food Centre, 85 Redhill Ln, Singapore 150085
Redhill Food Centre is nestled within the Redhill estate, and it's only a couple of minutes walk away from Redhill MRT station. However, its claim to fame is not just the cheap local fares and great eats, but also the fact that PM Lee himself queued 30 minutes for chicken wings at one of the stalls there.
Since we're there, we, too, queued for Yan Fried Bee Hoon (#01-19) for a generous serving of beehoon ($0.80) and chicken wings ($1.20 each). The beehoon is as old-school as it can get – a fuss-free, single note with a strong garlic flavour. The unassuming chicken wing truly is the star of the show, crispy and lightly salted on the outside, and juicy even when cold.
It was a hot day, so we cooled off with Qing Tian Cold and Hot Dessert. PM Lee had the green bean soup there, but we decided to go for the Cheng Tng ($1.50) and Honeydew Sago ($1.50). Both desserts are sweet – forget about healthier versions – but it's also packed generously with ingredients. For the price point, it's more than a good end to a meal.
Special call out to the Radin Mas It's On Me programme, where people can sponsor a meal or a drink for a beneficiary by paying extra when getting the hawker eats. Each gifted meal or drink will be represented by a small magnet, and anyone who needs it can take a magnet from the board to redeem from the participating stalls.
Bak Chor Mee with Cockles at Changi Simei Community Club, 10 Simei Street 2, Singapore 529915
When the Yummy Crew went there and asked the stall-keeper if there is now a demand for bak chor mee with hum, the answer was a resounding yes. So yep, Bak Chor Mee with Hum ($4.50) at Fei Siong is actually a thing now. How does it actually add to the taste of the dish? Check out the video for our review.
What's your favourite out of this list? Anything else we should definitely try? Check out our Youtube channel and leave a comment there!