Maxwell Food Centre tops City Hawker Food Hunt awards

Mr Ng Kok Hua at his ngoh hiang stall at Maxwell Food Centre, which won the Heritage Hawker Stall award at the 8th City Hawker Food Hunt, on Nov 8, 2015.
Mr Ng Kok Hua at his ngoh hiang stall at Maxwell Food Centre, which won the Heritage Hawker Stall award at the 8th City Hawker Food Hunt, on Nov 8, 2015. ST PHOTO: VENESSA LEE
For the second year running, Maxwell Food Centre was voted by members of the public as their favourite hawker centre at the eighth annual City Hawker Food Hunt.
For the second year running, Maxwell Food Centre was voted by members of the public as their favourite hawker centre at the eighth annual City Hawker Food Hunt. PHOTO: ST FILE

For the second year running, Maxwell Food Centre was voted by members of the public as their favourite hawker centre at the eighth annual City Hawker Food Hunt.

The City Hawker Food Hunt awards, presented on Sunday morning, were based on public voting for a shortlist drawn up by organisers City Gas and Shin Min Daily News.

Maxwell Food Centre is also where one of two winners of the new Heritage Hawker Stall award, introduced this year to mark Singapore's 50th birthday, is based: Stall No 64, China Street Fritters, which sells ngoh hiang.

This heritage award aims to recognise stalls that have been serving good hawker fare for more than 50 years.

The stall's owner, Mr Ng Kok Hua, 58, has been selling handmade Hokkien ngoh hiang since he took over his father's stall at 16. The family business, which he runs with the help of four other siblings, is about 70 years old.

"We deserve it (the award). We've worked for so long and gone through hardship, (sacrificing time with) friends and family. We've kept this traditional food until today," says Mr Ng.

His three adult children are not interested in carrying on the business and he is searching for a "dedicated person to maintain this vanishing trade".

A satay stall at #02-123 at Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre, another family business of some 80 years' vintage, was the other heritage award winner.

Ms Lucy Tay, an administrative officer in a bank, was among those who voted for Maxwell Food Centre, located at 1 Kadayanallur Street, to clinch the My Favourite Hawker Centre award.

"I'm very familiar with this place so I've got feelings for it," said Ms Tay, who is in her 50s. She goes there regularly as her workplace is nearby.

She likes the diverse dishes there, such as the famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, vegetarian food and ah boling (glutinous rice balls) in peanut soup.

Yesterday also saw the launch of a food guide, The Hawker Guide to Our 50 Local Favourites - SG50 Edition, which is written in English and Chinese. From Nov 27, 350 free copies will be available for redemption at City Gas Gallery at PWC Building, 8 Cross Street. More information can be found at the City Gas website, www.citygas.com.sg

The awards presentation marked an end to the seven-month public voting period for the "Best of the Best" hawker stalls from four selected food categories for 2015 - popiah, lontong, curry fish head and tau suan. The winners are listed below.

More than 40 hawker stalls were recognised at Sunday's 8th City Hawker Food Hunt. Among them, Kovan Market & Food Centre at Block 209, Hougang Street 21 bagged the Cleanest Hawker Centre award.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, was guest of honour.

He said that it was significant that National Heritage Board was involved in the enterprise. The Board is a co-sponsor of the food guide launched on Sunday.

"Our hawker food is really part of our heritage. Let's keep this heritage alive," said Mr Tharman.

venessal@sph.com.sg

Winners of the "Best of the Best" categories

Popiah: Stall no. 40, East Coast Lagoon Food Village

Lontong: Satay Solo, stall no. 9, Bedok Food Centre

Curry fish head: Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre, #03-139/140

Tausuan: Rainbow Dessert, Chong Pang Market & Food Centre, #01-178