One thing I love about Chinatown is the sights, sounds, and of course the smell of good food! The best part of heading to People’s Park Complex Food Centre is that it’s really convenient as the entrance to the MRT Station is right next it! Once you’re out of the station, you’ll be able to see the food centre almost immediately. You are spoilt for choice once you’re in there but I’m proud to say that I’ve got my two favourite stalls (FOR NOW).
With a rich history of at least 60 years, Tian Jin Fong Kee has been operating since the late 1940s till this very day. One of their star dishes would be their dumplings. You can have it either boiled or fried, though I would very much prefer the latter, with an ice-cold beer. The dumplings are made by hand, from the dough to the filling.
When pan fried, these dumplings have a crisp exterior, and an interior that is so juicy. But be careful when you bite into it as the meat juices might squirt out! My way to eat it is to dip it in vinegar, drape some julienned ginger over the dumpling and the whole thing goes into your mouth. At $6 for 10 dumplings, it is a pretty good deal!
On the other hand, if you’re quite adventurous and a lover of spicy food, you might want to try out Mala Xiangguo (麻辣香锅), also known as “spicy numbing stir-fry pot”. In one bowl, you get a plethora of ingredients which would include different types of meat, offal, and a whole lot of vegetables, cooked in a spicy broth. Your dish can be customized to your liking, namely: the spiciness level, and dry/soupy. You can also ask them to make it less numbing for your mouth if you wish.
The soupy version as shown below. You might find it too oily, so you can always skim the oil off if you’re itching for some soup.
The dry one is as good. However, as the sauce has reduced by quite a fair bit, the flavours tend to concentrate and it could become a little salty for our palates.
Some of my mandatory ingredients to go into this are: Napa cabbage, beef, pork, tripe, lotus roots, oyster mushrooms, kangkong (aka water spinach), and luncheon meat. I’ve got friends and colleagues that are big fans of processed meat, and yes, they have it! Sausages, luncheon meat, mock crab meat etc.
Don’t really eat spicy food? Don’t worry, you can start off with the lowest level, and you can request for the dish not to be numb, which means they’ll lay off the Szechuan pepper corns. But it’s a dish that I would recommend to anyone coming here for the first time!
32 New Market Road
Chinatown MRT Station (NE4/DT19)