Sherman's Food Adventures: Singapore Hawker (Sperling)

Singapore Hawker (Sperling)

I personally believe that Singapore Hawker is one of the best values in town especially considering the rising prices of food these days.  Yes, there are cheaper spots in town, but you must factor in the food quality and general lack of Singaporean food.  We've been to the location in Coquitlam and were thoroughly impressed with the place including their on point efficiency.  However, it gets quite busy there and the seating is not that comfortable.  Now that they have a new spot in Burnaby, we had to see if things would be the same or better.

One look at the place and it is apparent that it does not resemble the previous tenant (Deer Garden).  The place has an open concept and is brightly lit.  They are counter service only and that helps lower the price.  To start, we had 3 pieces of the Chicken & Beef Satay Skewers each.  These were rather meaty where the chicken was moist while the beef was tender with some chew.  As you can see, there was a nice char from the grill and that came through with some smokiness.  The side of sweet peanut dip was tasty and complimented the skewers nicely.

We actually ordered 2 each of the Nyonya Sambal Egg and the Roti Canai, however I must've not paid attention to the cashier repeating my order because we only got one each (we ended up going up and getting 2 more).  No matter, the sambal egg was not overdone and the sweet, briny and spicy sambal was addictive.  As for the roti, it was featured some crispiness on the outside while soft and chewy on the inside.  Side of curry dip had some mild heat.

Again, I must've blanked out because I swore I ordered the Malaysian Laksa, but I ended up with the Singaporean Laksa instead.  No big deal as this was pretty good, if not too mild for me at least.  It was creamy with enough coconut while the brininess was definitely there as well.  All the usual ingredients were on top including tofu puffs, fish cake, shrimp, fish balls and egg.

For our one veggie dish, we opted for the classic Sambal Green Beans.  I would say this was pretty much the same as the other location.  Hence, the flavours didn't pop like I expected it to be, especially with their delicious sambal.  Although there was some spice and shrimpiness, the entire dish was a bit underwhelming.  Beans were good though with a nice vibrant crunch.

One of my favourite items from Singapore Hawker is their Hainanese Chicken on Rice.  The dark meat deboned (like it should be) chicken was tender and "wat" (which means buttery texture).  It was flavourful, but the side of ginger and chili condiment made it even better.  The side of chicken oil rice was nutty and chewy with a touch of sweet soy on the bottom.  Still a good deal at $14.95 (was $12.95 one year ago).

I guess we ended up ordering almost the same things as last time as we also got the Kari Lembu with Rice.  This was a good thing though as the beef brisket was fatty and tender.  The chunks of potato were fried up nicely where they softened, but did not melt into the curry.  About that curry, it was rich and flavourful while mildly spicy.  In addition to the rice, it was served with some veggies.

Not to be outdone, we also added the Nyonya Rendang Lembu with Ginger Rice too.  Unlike the previous dish, this sported lean brisket, where it was less tender and more meaty.  Also the use of coconut milk as well as shredded coconut, there was some definite aromatics happening here.  In addition the lemongrass came through too. There was some mild spiciness as well.

I wanted to add another curry to our order and I asked for their recommendation and it resulted in the Nyonya Yellow Curry Chicken with Ginger Rice.  Not sure if this would be my personal choice, but it turned out to be not bad.  Naturally, the use of chicken breast meant the meat wasn't super tender, but it wasn't dry either.  I found the curry to be aromatic yet quite mild.  The ginger rice had an appealing colour but wasn't that flavourful.

Lastly, we had the Char Kuey Teow.  No, there was not cockles in this version and not expected (especially in Vancouver).  However, it was pretty good with lots of ingredients and decent wok hei that ensured caramelization.  Overall, the food at Singapore Hawker is good, especially for the price.  Are there better versions of some of the dishes in the GVRD?  Yes, of course, but for me at least, Singapore Hawker is a place that is good enough for me with all things considered.

The Good:
- Yes, the prices have gone up, but still good value
- Decent eats
- Efficient service

The Bad:
- Things are efficient and you will be finished eat quickly, so not a place to eat slow and enjoy your meal


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