Serangoon Gardens has an outstanding reputation for being an enclave that houses everything and anything you could ever need. From ice cream and roti prata, to quaint cafes and craft beer bars and even KTVs… but there is one particular enclave within the neighbourhood that draws crowds from all over the island – Chomp Chomp Food Centre.
This hawker heaven is not one to discount on because it houses some of Singapore’s most prized dishes. Offering a stunning array of local favourites from char kway teow to barbecued seafood and satay, there is no surprise why it is always crowded.
But is Chomp Chomp really that fantastic, or is it just overrated? Read on to find out what we think.
Chomp Chomp is unlike many other hawker centres in that it only begins operating at 6pm, which is good news for night owls who find their bellies rumbling late at night.
Not to be associated with comfortable and cozy dining, Chomp Chomp is a place that usually sees massive dinner crowds and overworked hawkers. So expect to be squeezing your way in and out of crowds and long waits for food and vacant tables.
#1 HOKKIEN MEE
Ah Hock Hokkien Mee (Stall 27) is a name synonymous with Chomp Chomp Food Centre. Ah Hock serves up a drier rendition of the classic Hokkien Prawn Noodles (S$3/$4/$5) which is regarded as one of the best in Singapore. An iconic local dish, we really loved the rich and aromatic seafood flavours and the bouncy noodles, complete with fresh ingredients.
#2 BARBECUED SAMBAL STINGRAY
We ordered up a small portion of sambal stingray (S$15) from stall 6 and 7 and to our pleasant surprise, it was not small at all. The chewy, stringy stingray meat was well-marinated and covered in a generous heap of savory sambal sauce. It was not overly spicy but we felt that it would have been better enjoyed with a plate of rice to neutralize the strong sambal flavour.
#3 BLACK CARROT CAKE
The black carrot cake (S$3) from stall 36 is a must-try for lovers of this popular breakfast item. Props to the cook for being generous with the egg and sweet dark sauce. The carrot cake was well flavoured with a copious amount of garlic to amp up the flavour but what made this so unforgettable was the perfectly charred exterior of the carrot cake coupled with the sweet sauce; it almost tasted like caramel.
#4 CHAR KWAY TEOW
No dinner at Chomp Chomp is complete without a freshly fried plate of char kway teow, and the stall to look out for is Chomp Chomp Fried Kway Teow Mee from stall 35. It may not be the best in Singapore, but it sure lived up to our expectations. It contained everything you could ever want out of a good char kway teow: sweet, savory, generous portions of ingredients and a perfect balance of both mee and kway teow.
#5 SUGAR CANE JUICE
With a feast like this, you’re going to want something sweet and refreshing to wash everything down. After all, there’s no better way to end a Singaporean hawker feast than with pints of ice-cold sweet sugarcane juice from Charlie Corner (stall 14). With all that chili and barbecued delights that you will be indulging in here, you will surely require jug-loads of it.
Massive glasses like the ones we had cost us only S$2 each!
#6 BARBECUED CHICKEN WINGS
As you snake your way through the crowds, one thing you are sure to notice on every table is the immense amount of chicken bones piled high.
Chong Pang (Stall 28) is everybody’s go-to for barbecued chicken wings (S$1.40 each) because of their addictive chili sauce that is sweet and spicy that you can further pimp with a squeeze of fresh calamansi. The wings themselves are served fresh from the fire, with skin that is crispy and mildly charred and meat that is bursting with the slightly sweet marinade.
#7 PORK AND CHICKEN SATAY
At Chong Pang (Stall 28), you can also enjoy a variety of meat satays in addition to their amazing chicken wings. For a hit of variety, we decided to try both the chicken and pork satays (S$0.70 per stick).
Between the two meat satays, we felt that the chicken was the star. It was tender and had a perfect char to it. Also, we liked that it slid off the stick much easier as compared to the pork satay. The Ketupat (S$0.70) was not the tastiest we have had but it did a good job in polishing up the rest of the satay gravy.
#8 OYSTER OMELETTE
Oyster lovers are in for a treat with the Singapore-style fried oyster omelette that is available at Ang Sa Li (Stall 33). Quit the calorie counting and order up a plate of this eggy, starchy dish dotted with plump, briny oysters.
What made this dish stand out was the freshness of the oysters, the firmness of the omelette, and the fact that unlike many other places, they did not go too heavy on the amount of starch. The ‘chinchalok’ sauce that accompanied this brilliant omelette was tangy and spicy which really cut through the distinct seawater flavour of the oyster. A portion this size only set us back S$5 which was super worth it.
All in all, our evening at Chomp Chomp Food Centre was truly an evening well spent (as with many other evenings we’ve had because we practically grew up eating at Chomp Chomp). Each individual food item surpassed our expectations and albeit the food centre being incredibly hot and stuffy, the food alone blew us away. Outstanding or overrated?