Friday, 8 August 2014

Singapore’s best hawker delicacies @ Changi Airport

Update 11 Aug 2014: Changi food street stalls renamed
Eight of the stalls at the Singapore Food Street in Changi Airport (above) have been renamed, including Fatimah Nasi Lemak. -- ST PHOTO: REBECCA LYNNE TAN

Food and beverage service provider the Select Group has renamed eight stalls at the Singapore Food Street in Changi Airport, three weeks after it opened.

Gone are the stall names which included famous street names and geographical locations synonymous with particular local dishes. Stalls with such names as Changi Village Nasi Lemak and Jalan Tua Kong Minced Pork Noodles have been changed. The nasi lemak stall, for example, is now called Fatimah Nasi Lemak.

The renaming exercise came about after the hullabaloo last weekend, when The Straits Times found that most of the stalls at the new food street had no direct links to the original stalls in those streets or areas.


New Singapore Food Street at T3 features specially-curated selection of popular hawker stalls from across Singapore

Changi Airport Group (CAG) today issued a foodie alert! Passengers can now partake in Singapore’s national pastime before they fly – hunting down the island’s best hawker stalls – all in a single stop at the new Singapore Food Street at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 (T3). Located in the transit area of T3, the Singapore Food Street features 13 popular hawker stalls specially curated from different corners of Singapore, a nation known for its unwavering pursuit of good food.

Occupying around 1,000sqm on the third level of T3’s Departure Transit Mall, the Singapore Food Street offers a dazzling array of over 200 well-loved dishes by household hawker names – an exciting prospect for both local foodies, as well as foreign travellers who are keen to experience Singapore’s colourful hawker food culture. In addition, passengers on transit can get an authentic taste of Singapore’s best street delicacies, without even stepping out of the airport.

Among the famous hawker stalls found at the Singapore Food Street are Sin Ming Road Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh (pork rib soup), Changi Village Nasi Lemak (Malay coconut rice dish), Odeon Beef Noodles, Newton Circus Satay Bee Hoon (vermicelli in spicy peanut sauce), and Old Airport Road Fried Kway Teow (fried flat rice noodles in dark sauce). Please see the Annex for a full list of the stalls and descriptions of their signature dishes.

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Changi Airport launches Singapore Food Street at Terminal 3

Playing up Singapore's well-known reputation for good food, Changi Airport Group (CAG) has introduced a Singapore Food Street, which boasts fare from 13 popular local hawker stalls.

In a statement on Monday (July 21), CAG said it had set aside 1,000 sq m at Terminal 3 for the Singapore Food Street, which offers more than 200 dishes by household hawker names such as East Coast Lagoon BBQ Seafood, Odeon Beef Noodles and Changi Village Nasi Lemak.

The other 10 hawker stalls are:
  • Tiong Bahru Meng Kee Roast Duck
  • Sin Ming Road Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh
  • Jalan Tua Kong Minced Pork Noodle
  • Bugis Street Hainanese Chicken Rice
  • Old Airport Road Fried Kway Teow & Carrot Cake
  • East Coast Lagoon Fried Rice Noodle
  • Newton Circus Satay/Satay Bee Hoon
  • Thai Corner
  • Kampong Cafe
  • Singapore Food Street Beverage Stall

Changi Airport’s new dining offer

The best of Singapore’s hawker delicacies have been brought closer to travellers at Changi Airport.

The 1000sqm Singapore Food Street has been launched at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3, featuring 13 hawker stalls including Sin Ming Road Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh (pork rib soup), Changi Village Nasi Lemak (Malay coconut rice dish), Odeon Beef Noodles, Newton Circus Satay Bee Hoon (vermicelli in spicy peanut sauce), and Old Airport Road Fried Kway Teow (fried flat rice noodles in dark sauce).

The dining environment features intricate Peranakan-style decor and nostalgic-looking pushcarts seen in 1960s-Singapore, taking diners back to the memorable era where many of the best meals were found at the roadsides.


Changi Airport's hawker stalls: Not so famous after allSingapore Food Street at the third level of the transit hall in Terminal 3. -- PHOTO: CHANGI AIRPORT GROUP

The week-old food street at Changi Airport, which was touted as offering 13 popular hawker stalls from different corners of the island, is not what it has been made out to be.

The Straits Times has found that of the 13 stalls at the 10,800 sq-ft Singapore Food Street in Terminal 3's transit area, seven bear no direct links to the original famous stalls. Some are new start-ups while others are named after streets or areas well-known for particular dishes but have no connection to the original brands.

For instance, Jalan Tua Kong Minced Pork Noodles at the airport food street is not an offshoot of the famed 132 Meepok in Marine Terrace, which was located in Jalan Tua Kong in the 1990s. It is also not related to Jalan Tua Kong Lau Lim Mee Pok Kway Teow Mee in Bedok Road. Instead, it is run by Mr Tan Dee Hond, 33, who told The Straits Times that he had worked at the Lau Lim stall for about two years in the mid-90s.

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Changi Airport’s food stalls should not misrepresent origins
“Travellers flying out of Singapore can now stop for nasi lemak or BBQ stingray from some of Singapore’s top hawkers before they fly: Changi Airport Group (CAG) has introduced the Singapore Food Street, which boasts hawker fare from 13 popular local hawker stalls.”
That was what the TODAY newspaper reported on 21 July this year.

The Food Street is located at Changi Airport Terminal 3, and encompasses about 1,000 sqm and will feature more than 200 dishes by “household hawker names”, said the report. In a media release on the same day, the Changi Airport Group described the stalls at the Food Street as some of the “island’s best hawker stalls”.

It also claimed that the street “features 13 popular hawker stalls specially curated from different corners of Singapore”, and that “passengers on transit can get an authentic taste of Singapore’s best street delicacies.”


Changi Airport food street hawkers not from original stalls
When the ‘food street’ was launched last month, it boasted ‘household hawker names’, yet with a surprising omission of a dish that even Gordon Ramsay swears by; Laksa. Otherwise, it came across to me then as a rather obvious tourist trap and I was skeptical that our hawker heroes would sell out to a place that calls itself a ‘street’ when it’s actually in a building. Changi Airport’s media release was also damningly cringeworthy, describing the assemble as ‘specially curated’ from all over Singapore, as if they sent hawker archaeologists out with a bag of money to hunt down the holy grails of local delights.

If even our locals could be fooled into thinking that the char kuay teow in Terminal 3 is the same as what you get in an old-timey hawker centre, what more foreigners? Location, location, location. One reason why ‘Katong Laksa’ wasn’t in the list could be that food enthusiasts have been doing so much detective work over the years on a brand notorious for its copycats, that it would have hawker geeks up in arms in protest should anyone even have the cheek to ‘borrow’ the Katong name once more. According to Leslie Tay, the real Mccoy, the ‘Janggut’ style, is from an unassuming stall in Telok Kurau. Fans of prata would also appreciate that there’s only one ‘true’ Jalan Kayu stall, the Thasevi one. Some hawkers continue to exploit the good name of a place that doesn’t even exist anymore, like ‘Blanco Court’ Kway Chap. Ponggol Nasi Lemak and Punggol Nasi Padang are also two completely different entities.

In 2010, a relative of the man behind the original Tai Hwa Hill Street ‘Minced Pork Noodles’, or more affectionately known to Singaporeans as bak chor mee, was brought to court for claiming that his own version in Vivocity food court was the original and in the process ‘misleading the public’ with this ‘publicity gimmick’. Since then, we’ve only heard of such name-stealing suits from the big boys in the FnB industry, like Subway trying to take down Subway Niche for example. If anything, ST’s reveal on the Changi Airport Food Street misnomers helps to raise awareness of where the real deal is located, and if you’re a savvy traveller in transit who’s done your fair share of culinary homework, you would skip the wannabes and go for something less pretentious like Ya Kun Kaya Toast. If you’re a Singaporean and you’re willing to travel all the way to Changi Airport to queue up for counterfeit char kuay teow on a weekend instead of going to Old Airport Road hawker centre, then shame, SHAME, on you.

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