Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rekindle old memories...

Went to the city for some work today and decided to call a few kaki for lunch at Maxwell Food Centre. All of us are “busy people” thus I always grab such opportunity to meet up with them. No matter how busy, we still need to eat, right? This place rekindles many of our memories. Long, long ago, we were colleagues and good friends, and Maxwell Food Centre was the place we relieved our hunger. Then we changed jobs… some of them still worked in the city while I go there once in a while.

Maxwell Food Centre began in the 1950s as a wet market for the Chinatown area. In the 1980s, the site was changed into a temporary hawker centre to house the hawkers from China Square. This structure remained for more than a decade. It was designed such that stalls shared a communal washing area which was located in the major thoroughfare where patrons consumed their food at fixed tables. Thus when people were eating, they could see dirty dishes piling up and hawkers washing their plates at the washing area; soon clogged drains lined the nearby stalls. Despite being notorious for its unhygienic conditions, it remained a popular food centre as it was home to many popular traditional Chinese delicacies such as turtle soup and pig's brain soup. It was only in March 2000 that renovations began on the centre and reopened in May 2001.

One of the more popular stalls is the hum chee peng, a doughnut stuffed with bean paste and deep fried. Last time, 1 hum chee peng costed 10cts, now 6 for $1. Long queue was common, even now, and if you are in a hurry, you can help to fry the fritters, just ask for the long chopsticks from the stall owner.

Tian Tian chicken rice is what we called cheap and good. The chicken is normal but the rice is fragnant and tasty without being too oily. For $3, you get a huge plate of rice with about 10 sizeable slices of chicken.

Deep fried sweet potato balls that come with various fillings.

Mi chiam kueh with various filings. Above: peanut filing

Fine and smooth Zhen Zhen porridge.

Ondeh-Ondeh & tapioca cake

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