Maxwell Road Hawker Centre Hot
A Hawker Centre located between Chinatown and Shenton Way and houses many famous stalls, such as Zhen Zhen Porridge, Tian Tian Chicken rice and self made you tiao.
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One Of The Best Hawker Centres In Singapore
Maxwell food centre has got to be one of the most famous hawker centres in Singapore. Right smack in Chinatown, this hawker centre is home to countless of well known stalls, the most famous being Tian Tian Chicken Rice.
However, whenever I visit Maxwell food centre, I queue up for not Tian Tian Chicken Rice but Jin Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon instead. Their Sliced Fish Bee Hoon has the most flavourful milk fish broth in the whole of Singapore, and the fried fish is very tasty when it soaks up all that milky goodness. I would have preferred the vermicelli to be cooked slightly longer, but I do understand that it’s intentionally cooked al dente.
Another favourite of mine would have to be Xing Xing Ondeh-Ondeh Tapioca Cake. The ondeh ondeh here is like no other. Compared to Bengawan Solo’s rendition, this ondeh ondeh is a mammoth. Chewy and filled with gula melaka that squirts out when you take a bite, these glutinous rice balls are a piece of heaven.
Maxwell is perhaps my favourite hawker centre.
I like the laoban, the fried rice, the crispy noodles, the chicken rice (many stalls though, so do your research before you go... or just pick the stall with the longest queue, haha!) but most of all, the oyster omelette is THE BEST. Not even kidding. I haven't found a better oyster omelette in Singapore yet. Now you know the secret.
There's a stall for fish bee hoon that has a perpetually long queue - I tried it recently when my friend queued for it (because I am always too lazy to queue.) It wasn't worth the wait, in my opinion. I guess the common consensus is that it's great because it tastes like xo fish bee hoon but there isn't actually xo in it? I mean, xo fish bee hoon isn't that hard to find in Singapore, and this one isn't particularly stand-out, so I see no reason to queue :)
Oyster omelette, on the other hand, though. TO DIE FOR.
Favourite hawker centre
Maxwell food centre got to be my all time favorite hawker centre. It is huge with many food stalls selling really good local food. Though it can get quite crowded during weekday lunch time, that wouldn't stop me from coming to Maxwell.
My favorite food stall is the fish noodle soup from Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon. It is really the best fish soup in Singapore. The queue is always long but they serve customers rather quickly. The fish soup is flavorful and milky and the fish are fresh and in generous servings. Thinking about it makes me crave for a hot bowl of fish soup right now. Jin Hua fish soup is my number 1 choice when I am at Maxwell food centre. Hence, I never got to try the other stalls. But judging from the queues, the chicken rice stall is pretty popular amongst locals too.
No drama, I just want my chicken rice.
Maxwell Road Hawker Center's location in the heart of Chinatown gives it a certain degree of responsibility; food that is sold here needs to be consistently good because this hawker center is largely primed for tourists. My top 2 picks are the infamous 'runaway' chicken rice stall - Ah Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice, and 75 Peanuts Soup.
Why Ah Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice and not the legitimate Tian Tian Chicken Rice, who established themselves as chicken rice prima donna in Singapore? For one, the people serving you at Ah Tai actually smile at you, you know, they are polite and nice. Maybe I caught the staff at Tian Tian at a bad time, and I'm not saying chicken rice sellers are all angels of joy. All I'm saying is if you can get a plate of equally tasty chicken rice at a lower cost, and if the person selling you chicken rice is at least friendly and acknowledges your need for extra chilli, then why not go to Ah Tai instead?
Out of stubbornness and pure Singaporean inclination for food that requires a heavy amount of queuing I have been back to Tian Tian more times than I'd like to admit. This is me saying I will no longer be googly-eyed at the Gordon Ramsay posters stuck up on their walls and henceforth pledging my allegiance to Ah Tai.
Then there is 75 Peanuts Soup. No drama here, sadly. But you should definitely try it anyway if you desire a bowl of sweet, light and flavorful peanut soup. Just remember to go before it all runs out, I would say any time before 2pm is a safe bet.
The food at Maxwell is way overpriced; our local hawker centres usually sell food at about $3-4; but Maxwell's stalls sell food at about half the price more - ranging about $6-$8. I personally do not mind the higher price though; because the food does really taste better than the average neighbourhood hawker centre. The food also comes in a larger than usual portion. I also really like the location of the hawker centre - there are many hidden attractions around (namely cafes, hipster joints and museums). Taking all of these factors into account; I think the increase in price is fairly reasonable.
It is really crowded regardless of timing; but the hawker centre is large enough for most to be able to find a seat in no time. I would recommend going in at least a pair; although 4 is ideal - so that half can go and order whilst others can look for a seat.
In general, Maxwell serves affordable and good hawker food, and is definitely worth a visit if you're in the vicinity. However, I usually frequent the same old stalls and truthfully, I go to Maxwell because of them.
I will always have the century egg porridge and the fried tofu at the front of the hawker. The gyozas and fried red bean pancakes are also a must-try. I remember once when I had the dou jiang you tiao and I thought it was the best I ever tasted in my life, but that might be because I was hungry as well.
I love Maxwell, and it's one of the better hawker centres I've been to.
Try the things to try
Coming from the Subordinate Courts after an Open Court case, me and my friends were stunned as to where we could go for food in the vicinity of China Town other than the food centre that we had tried a few days before.
We decided to search Hungrygowhere and to our surprise, the Maxwell Food Centre came up as an option that we could visit. We decided to give it a go and used our GPS to walk there. With our experience of fighting with the lunch crowd in the working district of Singapore, we managed to get a table midst the noisy and bustling hawker centre.
We decided to eat of all the food that Maxwell was known for - the fried gyozas that were affordable and came placed neatly on the plate. We also decided to try the porridge that was sold really cheaply and it came in cute, small portions. We loved it!
Childhood Hawker Centre
In a sense, I grew up with Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. I attend the church next to it and it has been the place we go to for meals before or after Sunday service.
My favourites drink stall in the hawker centre is none other than Beng Seng. Located at the first row, it serves the best iced milk tea (Teh Bing) in the world, ok, among all that I have tasted. The auntie and uncle running the stall on weekends are very friendly, and they remember your orders after you have been there a few times.
Next to their stall is a breakfast stall. I call it a breakfast stall reason because it opens only in the morning and serves amazingly palatable fried beehoon with many side dishes to choose from. It also has the traditional Rickshaw noodles (La Che Mian) popular amongst the older generation.
On the same stretch of stalls is a stall selling delicacies from China, namely, their Shanghai Rice Cake and Beijing dumplings. The Rice Cake is a little soupy, but resembles original rice cake from Shanghai, cooked in the soupy style. The steamed dumplings are sold in 8 for 4 dollars. You usually have to wait a while for the food during the lunch hour as they get many orders.
Maxwell Hawker Centre is easily one of the best and most accessible hawker centres due to its location in the central area near to Chinatown and the CBD.
Look out for the tau huey stall in the middle row
In the middle row of stalls near the entrance there is a tau huey stall. Go on. Buy some.
The tau huey is affordable and it is divine. My personal favourite is the almond flavoured one. A bowl costs $2 and it is so delicious, one bowl is never enough.
Don't say I didn't warn you. It is highly addictive.
Lao Ban after a meal
Maxwell is one of the places in the CBD area that offers cheap and good food. Where else can you have a satisfactory and full meal for less than $5?
My favourite stalls include the Tian Tian Chicken rice, the local delights stall, the vegetarian stall and the fish soup stall. The famous chicken rice by the needs no further explanation. It has been my favourite since childhood! I would recommend the char kway teow and hokkien mee by the local delights stall. The waiting time is quite long though. I remember being famished and having to wait almost twenty minutes for my dish. Nonetheless, good things are worth the wait.
Another reason for dining at Maxwell is the Lao Ban Dou Hua. I always have a refreshing bowl of Lao Ban Dou Hua after a meal. It is cooling and helps to take away the aftertaste of hawker food. When Lao Ban was at its peak, the bowls of soya bean pudding at Maxwell gets sold out within 15 minutes.
One shortfall of the food centre is that it may not be easily accessible, especially for people who have never been there. It is about a 15 minute walk from the Tanjong Pagar MRT station. That said, I'm happy to be able to take a stroll after a full meal.