Old Airport Road Hawker Centre | Yi Fa Kway Chap and Toa Payoh Rojak

An impromptu lunch brought me to Old Airport Road hawker centre again. I like Old Airport Road hawker centre for two reasons — it doesn't feel as crowded as the nearby Marine Parade Hawker Centre, and for the sheer variety of good, quality food here. While there are quite a number of stalls that have received critical acclaim here — Lao Fu Zi Char Kway Teow, Albert Street Prawn Noodles, among others — I like to take time to discover and try random stores that are less acclaimed. Such as this one: Yi Fa Kway Chap, Stall number #01-70 at Old Airport Road. 

I ordered the $4 Set Meal for One. The portion size was pretty decent, and came with a healthy serving of big and small pork intestines, tau kwa, and pork belly, with a nice braised egg. The addition of sweet Chinese braised peanuts was a fairly interesting addition that I appreciated as well. 

The kway chap was pretty good — the innards were well cleaned and didn't have an unpleasant aftertaste, and was the right mix between soft and chewy. The flavourful pork belly had a good, lingering savoury taste, complementing the tau kwa well — it was soaked in a rich, slightly sweet braised sauce. The sweet peanuts made this a good mix of flavours. 

I don't normally see fried shallots with my bowl of kway chap, but I really appreciate this because it had a nice crunch with the slightly sweet taste of fried onions melting in your mouth and you negotiate the medley of flavours in your kway chap. I couldn't put my head around why the whole kway chap was so good — but I guess I was confident enough to recommend this hot bowl of savoury, rich kway chap as a perfect accompaniment on a rainy day. It's monsoon season afterall. 

With my mouth feeling peckish, my lunch buddy and I decided to try the famed Toa Payoh Rojak (#01-108). Rated "Die Die Must Try" by Makansutra in 2013, I had this a few times before, and it was pretty good. This time, it didn't disappoint.  

My criteria for good rojak is simple — it has to be sweet (but not cloyingly so), a good mix of wet and crunchy, and the fruits cannot be soggy. This rojak hits all the right notes, and then some. 

While the taste of the prawn paste in the sauce was definitely not very noticeable, it was pretty sweet. I remember seeing them at least use 2-3 tablespoons of sugar for a $4 serving. That being said, I closed my eyes, prayed to the diabetic gods and ask them to pang chance. We ordered the $5 portion (the largest)

Defining features about this plate of goodness was how fresh, juicy, and naturally sweet the fruits (even the yellow swede turnip, otherwise known as meng guang) here were. The sauce had a decent amount of tartness to prevent it from being too cloying. But alas, the sweetness must be enjoyed in moderation. I was really full finishing this plate. 

One thing is clear — they don't scrimp on their ingredients, and they are very well balanced. They apparently have jellyfish strips, freshly toasted tau pok/you char kway, and some form of spinach (I think, it looked like it anyway). The medley of flavours explode in your mouth in a sweet symphony of natural freshness, one that fully justifies 6 Makansutra chopsticks to this endeavour. 

If you like peanuts (as evident from the picture), you're also in luck as they definitely don't scrimp on it, providing a nice crunch eating this throughout. There were also a good amount of other vegetables (like beansprouts and I think I saw some jicama in there) to alleviate your guilt eating this sweet and sinful asian salad.

It was another good meal, at one of my favourite hawker centres in Singapore. 

Old Airport Road Food Centre
51 Old Airport Road

Open Mon to Sat: 12PM to 8PM
Closed on Sunday

Yi Fa Kway Chap
Old Airport Road Food Centre
51 Old Airport Road


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