Its hot, humid and a little smoky. With the almost non existent fan for the few or the deep starry night for almost everyone else. And if you notice, there is a certain atmosphere of buzz and just simple enjoyment of perhaps just plain good ol’ home cookin with masters of the kitchen belting out the same dishes easily a couple of thousands of time in a year. There is no air-conditioning, but perhaps the most refreshing cool-aid would be a glass of ice cold sugarcane juice. The crowd is noisy, everyone is jostled together. And most of the popular hawker stalls will have certificates of accolades well printed all over like a norm. But its awesome as this is one of Singapore’s greatest attractions, the hawker food of ages past and today’s soul.
Only my second time to Bedok 85, and I know I must make that return visit again. Even now as I type this post, I crave the Bak Chor Mee and that juicy and spicy Sambal Stingray which I have to say on hindsight, is probably one of the more delicious ones I’ve come across so far in its category. Cheap and good, no frills and a great sense of satisfaction. This is Bedok 85, one of the simple food havens in the East.
I rave the Sambal Stingray for two reasons. One, its awesome spiciness that hits the spot just right but yet not that screamingly hot that will turn you off. Two, the freshness and juiciness of the stingray itself that proves itself well in its meatiness. Simplicity is the way to go, and the onions are a pleasant touch for its crunch, sweetness and colour. From Chan BBQ, I think it was $10 or $12 for this large portion.
The Orh Luack (Oyster Omelette – $8) was decently done, with a very generous serving of oysters and egg. I had this the previous time and was loving it. Today’s serving was a tad dry though. But still my friends finished the bits till the end.
Bedok 85 Fried Oyster Omelette
How could it be hawker fantasy without some barbecue wings. The shop says its from Chong Pang Huat, and if its the one I’ve missed for so long and grew up eating since primary school, then this should be good. The chicken wings are very nicely bbq-ed with charred bits here and there while simply leaving a good amount of juicy meat within. The chilli is a little tone downed from what I expected and its not as shockingly spicy as before, but at $1 a piece, its worth it.
The Chicken Satay ($0.50 a stick, minimum 10). Good, though I still suspected that gave me pork satay instead. My friend, Dante, was named on the plate as well, since he made the order, as “Ah Boy”. Just goes to show how young we are. Actually he’s not very young, just looks young, but that’s another story altogether.
Chong Pang Huat
Now for the highlight of the whole meal, and one which I waited for about 45 minutes to serve. Any normal bak chor mee would take about 5-10 minutes to serve. But I went through the stingray, satay, orh luack, chicken wings, two coke lights, before this came to me. There are multiple stalls serving the same dish at Bedok 85 though, and both Dante and Heng Seng (another of the group) recommended this particular Bak Chor Mee to me.
The looks are within the beautiful flavour of the clear liquid. Taking the first sip of the soup, a sudden savoury sweet aftertaste strikes. Its clean cut rich flavour shines with a melodic range of taste. The minced meat is well scattered throughout and the meatballs bouncy, but the keynote is the broth. Its very satisfying. Excellent. $3.50 for a large bowl.
Xiang Ji Rou Cuo Mian
The Ah Bailing Peanut Soup was one dessert I had to try before leaving Bedok 85 for the night. Its nice and a tender sweet, though the broth was a little thin. But when one takes in the tang yuan balls floating gently underneath, I know the impressive part is its softness and the burst of sweet or savoury stuffing from within.
The stall also has a Almond Milk version, but I didn’t like this. Too thin, a tad bland, and more of an acquired taste. Give me the Peanut soup version anytime.
I left the night full and stuffed, and ready to buy durians. Yes, its oxymoronic, but there was a durian fair ongoing just outside. Best part, PAssion card members had a 5% (or was it 10%) discount. I bought boxes of $5 durians which I gamely told everyone I would finish over the next two days. Or so I thought. Its definitely worth it for its price range. Gah, I got to stop thinking about durians. And at this hour, I have to sleep.
|85 Fengshan Market and Food Centre (Bedok 85)
85 Bedok North Street 4
Stalls Mentioned and Discovered :