Come 31 May 2014, the all so familiar Ghim Moh Market & Food Centre (20 Ghim Moh Road) will be closed for scheduled renovation. The improvement works can last up to 18 months. Also coinciding with said date is the expiration of many stallholders’ 20-year lease that started in 1994. Consequently, the stalls facing this issue will need to go through the entire tender process again; ie. no guaranteed tenancy at the newly refurbished food centre when it opens. Further, no one will be surprised to learn that fees will rise too.
We have about 3 months from now to savour our last memories from Ghim Moh Market & Food Centre. The stalls listed below are in no order of merits.
(1) Hin Fried Beef Hor Fun :: More than half the time, you will have the join the snaking queue. But fret not, they are pretty quick on their hands; waiting time usually is not too big an issue. Though the sauce was pre-prepared, quality is retained. But the star of the dish is its fried hor fun, fried almost on an ala-minute basis. The uncle will fry batch after batch, and this happens once every 5 minutes or so. Therefore, when it is your turn, be rest assured that it was fried not too long ago at all. The smell of wok hei of the fried hor fun was sufficient to satisfy. I placed an order for its Beef + Fish Hor Fun ($5). The slices of fish were ordinary, but generous pieces of tender and succulent beef made up for it. It is no wonder they are they are the Hin Fried BEEF Hor Fun.
(2) The Hakka Yong Tau Foo Stall :: By lunch time, chances are, the ingredients are more or less sold out. It is ridiculous, but I am guessing the breakfast crowd is strong. It is at $0.50 per piece; I was looking for any signs of minimum pieces, but could not find any. I know that they are fine with 6 pieces if you are looking to have that little. If it is your first at this stall, they work with this system: grab a bowl, pick your ingredients, pass it to the aunt stating your preference of soup / noodle type, you will be given a number, stand aside, wait for your number to be called, throw the number into the tin can on the table in front of its stall, pay up and off you go for your lunch.
(3) Guan Kee Fried Kway Teow :: Another one of those Toto / 4D queues, I stood in line for a good 40 minutes. Ranging from $2.50 – $4, you would likely only like this if you are like me. I do not like my Char Kway Teow to be too black (and thus sweet). I am glad that here, they used the sweet sauce sparingly, and the accompaniments of cockles and lup cheong did not take over the taste base kway teow. The kway teow was moist but still stood well as its separate pieces of noodles. While it still does not justify the queue, I must say it is one of the best Char Kway Teow I have had.
(4) Katong Laksa :: Though not as indulgent and powerful in flavour as the original famed Katong Laksa, it is considered reasonable for me, especially in a hawker setting. I like that the noodles are similarly chopped up, making savouring the laksa in a slurp possible and easy. The chilli though, was not sufficiently potent. Ask for more than the given spoonful if you want to have a kick.
(5) Lian He Cai Tao Kueh :: I always have mine white because I do not like the sweetness that swallows the joy of tasting the kueh. I like that the portion is larger than usual for a $3 plate. The burst of saltiness from the evenly distributed chai poh also helped in ensuring a wholesome flavour. The kueh itself is more moist than normal, which is heavily subjective, but I prefer it this way. In any case, expect polite service here, which is always a plus point, especially at an establishment without service charge imposed. You appreciate it more.