The best wars to fight in this world, hands down, is a food war. Because, there are no losers in a food war. When a competitor or a neighbouring country compares or yips about your food or culinary culture, the whole country or the world looks on, salivating, waiting to devour both. We love our Katong Laksa war, the chicken rice battles and the bak chor mee scuffles and of course the nasi lemak confrontations. And now, I like to add one more to the fray..the fried chicken wings and beehoon wrestle, and this one has so much more side show skirmishes than I like. And these brazen breakfast food stalls, open only in the evenings.
Firstly, that set of fried breakfast beehoon with fried chicken wings is so comforting is many ways. The umami beehon explosion with crispy hot wings is something you got to devour every so often. It’s simply about that comforting relationship we all have growing up with this humble sensation. But do you remember back in the day, when such stalls offer up, aside from beehoon and wings, a warm-the-cockles-of-your-heart selection of peanut porridge, glutinous rice and some hard core old school dessert like sweet potato in ginger soup, green or red bean or even pulot hitam. This is a full meal- from starter porridge to dessert. Three stalls have been amicably fightly this moreish makan war at Tanglin Halt for decades. Each sell almost identical, with gastronomically correct variations in their menu, items that please the masses there. And for some reasons, each have their own silent peace treaty and the queues gravitate to all the stalls at different times of the day. Go figure this one.
Tanglin Halt Hawker Centre, 48A, Tanglin Halt Road.
1.Mei Wei Xiao Zhi, stall 01-02, 6pm-1am, close on Tuesdays.
Their chicken wings ($1.20) has an edge- the aroma of five spice hits you and the thin crispy batter hooks you. They fry only when there’s a line, just so you get them fresh. The beehoon ($1.20) like the others, has bits of bean sprouts and carrot shavings for added crunch. It looks light and is done with a light soy sauce and stock. Their Pulot Hitam ($1.10), is a hit because of the distinct salty coconut milk they lay over it. The peanut porridge- at $1.10 a bowl is a tad smaller in portion and not the highlight here.
2.Piao Xiang Xiao Zhi. Stall 01-10, 5pm-2am daily.
My chicken wing vote goes to this one. The little aunties take their time to fry up these juicy wings with a crispy rice flour batter and it tastes just like..chicken wings, not much distracting flavour added and the best part- just $1 each. The beehoon is not the star here but their edge is the glutinous rice ($1.50)- soft smooth not salty and gorgeous with the sweetish chilli sauce. The peanut porridge (90cts) with fish cake and ikan bilis has that “childhood taste” of mine.
3.You Jing. stall 01-11,5pm-12.45am, Close on Saturdays.
The chicken wings are very similar to Piao Xiang and is equally juicy, except pricier ($.1.40). I absolutely love their sweet potato ginger soup as it bites, warm and nicely with the sweet tubers. The peanut porridge at $1.50 is hearty and in big portions with generous peanuts and is flavourful. Their beehoon, darker colour with use of dark soy, is bolder in flavour and my favourite of the lot here.