Chicken chop and curry noodles seem an odd pairing. That was what a colleague thought when I asked her to go to Hong Lim Food Market & Food Centre to check it out with me.
That was what I thought too initially when I stumbled on the offering at Cantonese Delights recently.
I had gone to Hong Lim to satisfying my craving for the roast pork ribs at Lee Kheong Roasted Delicacy, which I wrote about in this column last month. Unfortunately, it was closed on a Wednesday when it should have been open. (It is normally closed on Monday).
Caught off-guard, I walked round the second floor for an alternative when the tail-end of a queue at an awkward corner caught my eye. I followed the queue and saw that many customers were going for either the chicken curry mee ($3.50), chicken chop noodles ($3.50) or yong tau foo laksa ($3.50).
I plumped for the chicken chop as I saw the hawker frying cutlets - guarantee of the chicken turning out crispy. I later realised the cutlets are fried in small batches to ensure their crispness.
The chicken chop was well seasoned and, sure enough, it was crunchy too. The curry was flavourful, and the more you bit into the mee, the more intense the flavour of the curry seemed to be.
I opted for the noodles that normally go with the wonton mee that the stall also sells, rather than the thick version, for a change. It was the right choice as the thin noodles turned out springy and went perfectly well with the gravy.
The curry chicken noodles were excellent. For $3.50, there were four pieces of tender chicken, which melted in the mouth.
I also opted for yong tau foo laksa ($3.50) without noodles and got eight pieces. With noodles, you get only seven pieces. You can tell the pleasant woman behind the showcase which items you like but you do not get to choose them yourself.
The gravy reminds me of the laksa an old Cantonese hawker used to sell in the Tanjong Pagar area, where I grew up in the 1960s. It was intense, a tad salty but really good.
No wonder the stall is called Cantonese Delights.