A stool, a plastic table, and a bowl of goodness – the late Anthony Bourdain has showed us the sumptuous joy of local street food and its ability to bring common folks together. And Tiger Beer proved that point succinctly last Friday with the second installation of the Tiger Street Food Festival.
Held at the bustling Tan Quee Lan Street just opposite Bugis Junction, the local brewery rallied street food aficionados from all over Singapore to celebrate and support the local street grub. Throughout the night, the festival raised over S$40,000 in support of the heritage-rich street food culture and to nurture the next generation of hawkers.
Great Company, Great Food and Great Beer
The second installation saw 15 hawkers participated in the event, and the food were sold at the wallet-friendly price of just $2 per bowl. No direct cash transactions though – diners have to purchase the food voucher at the Food Voucher booth at $10 per piece. There were two Tiger Beer Stall Booths that sold Tiger Black and White beer by the cup at $6.
With a voucher of $10, we put our money on the 5 all-time Singaporean favorites – Yam Mee Signature Laksa, Thong Sum Hot & Cold Desserts Ching Bo Leong, K.R. Banana Leaf Masala Chicken Nasi Lemak, Jia Le Yong Tau Foo and Prawn Village Prawn Mee.
If popularity were to be judged by the length of the queue, then K.R. Banana Leaf Masala Chicken Nasi Lemak would be the definitive winner. The fried chicken wing possessed that satisfying crunch and the sambal chili paste amps up the savory edge of the meat. The only regret was the rice and cucumber were a slightly dry when I tasted, perhaps due to the fact that we left it on the table for quite some time while I queue at the other stalls.
For a sweltering Friday evening, a bowl of refreshing Ching Bo Leong is a treat that I need. Known to help detoxify the body, this dessert from Thong Sum Hot & Cold Desserts was mellow sweet with a generous serving of longan, lotus seeds, foxnuts and other ingredients. Thankfully, it didn’t taste too herbal, and the dessert comes in slightly lighter shade which should probably suits millennial’s taste buds.
The rich laksa aroma flowing out from the gigantic pot made this stall so alluring when I was queuing for it. One word to say about Yam Mee Signature’s Laksa – INTENSE! The creamy broth possessed that pleasant coconut sweetness with a hint of spiciness that lingers and slowly grows on the tongue. The tau poks, having absorbed the essence of the broth, burst with umami goodness when you bite into it. Coupled with the smoothing, zesty quality of Tiger White, it would be a match-make of pure satisfaction.
Adding some vegetables to the mix, Jia Le Yong Tau Foo by 32-year-old Pamela Loh was a lucky find. While the stuffed beancurd was skewed more to the softer side, the sauce itself was surprisingly ‘shiok’ in its spiciness score, giving the palate a delightful contrast of texture and flavor.
Overall, the Prawn Village’s Prawn Mee was light and succulent, a sharp contrast to the laksa dish. Although I would prefer to have more soup, you can tell that they don’t cut corners on the ingredients – the prawns were fresh and crunchy, whole pieces of fish cakes, and the noodles made al dente.
Altogether, more than 5,600 convivial chompers were present in the festival. When I reached the premise around 6.30pm I was part of the long queue stretching from the event entrance all the way to Bugis mrt. How galvanizing street food were, how supportive fellow citizens demonstrate towards it, speaks volume to the yearning in preserving local food culture alive.