Okay, let’s divide and conquer. As soon as Ari said those words, I immediately knew I was with the right people to eat with at Singapore’s Golden Mile Food Centre. I had done my online research before I flew to Singapore fron New York City and noted the stalls that were must-visits and the dishes that were must-tastes for several bloggers. Without prior knowledge of the Centre’s floor plan, Golden Mile could be overwhelming. It was during lunch hour and the place buzzed; queues sometimes stretched 10-people deep, which is pretty long for a stall that could only fit one or two cooks inside. For such a minimal staff, though, they worked like efficient conveyor belts setting up bowls after bowls and distributing just the right amount of each ingredient with precision.
Past the altar with incense burning and plates of food being offered to Hungry Ghosts for the month of August, my friends saved a table as I doled out assignments: Hainanese chicken rice from Stall B135 to Ari, beef noodles from Stall 01-89 to my brother and lormee from Stall 01-100 to Thalia. I owned the fried fish with bihon from Stall 01-101. We had char siu and kway teow on the list from Stalls 01-70 and 01-91 respectively, but both stalls were closed. To make up for those dishes, we tried the Indian-Muslin sup tulang on the basement level. To wash everything down, we drank the ubiquitous Tiger beer and tried the fresh sugar cane juice.
Are you sitting down? Check out the photos below and try not to lick your screen.
A complicated-looking bowl of soup that includes flat fried dumplings, fish cake and hard-boiled eggs in a thick and starchy gravy made out of cornstarch. The lor mee, or the yellow flat noodles, actually get overpowered in this dish, and to me, the sauce was much better with white rice.
Fried Fish with Bihon
No one at our table was excited about this dish as much as I was. When I was in line waiting for my order, the lady asked me, Meer? I didn’t understand her until she pointed to the can of evaporated milk on the counter. (Throughout my stay in the country, I had problems understanding the locals’ English with Chinese and British intonations.) I asked her if she recommended milk and she poured just enough in the broth to make it cloudy. The fish pieces were airy and crisp, and the bihon, or rice stick noodles, were a good addition to the lightness of the soup.
Don’t be fooled by its boring name. The soup is not as thick as the lor mee‘s, but the pieces of thinly sliced beef made this so nice and hearty. The fried fish balls with the crumbled peanuts and chives completed the look. It’s a beauty:
Hainanese Chicken Rice
If I have access to this good of a Hainanese chicken rice here in New York City, I wouldn’t mind eating it everyday, but I don’t. The Nyonya restaurant version in our Chinatown is bony, and the rice tastes and looks like chicken bouillon was involved instead of cooking the rice in a master stock. In Singapore, the rice is oily–as it should be–and the flavor has more depth.
The bright red-dyed mutton bones that gained notoriety on TV after Anthony Bourdain sucked the marrow out of them using a straw. I prefer getting the marrow out by holding a bone with my left hand and then tapping my wrist with my right. But then again, I also prefer my marrow served with finely chopped red onions and parsley on a nicely toasted baguette.
The Golden Mile Food Centre is at 505 Beach Road and is open from 10am until 10 at night. You must go on an empty stomach.
Golden Mile Food Centre in Singapore photos on Flickr