SINGAPORE - I am all for hawkers putting a modern spin on dishes - as long as they still retain the traditional flavours or techniques.
For the past 1½ years, Ms Yong Yean Hui, 39, has been putting the fun in chee cheong fun (abbreviated to CCF on the menu) at her stall in Maxwell Food Centre, aptly named Chee Cheong Fun Club.
A supplier makes the steamed rice rolls according to her recipe.
The Malaysia-born Ms Yong, who gave up her job in the banking sector to be a hawker, also offers a flatter, softer kway teow-like version.
These flat rolls are used in her signature KL Famous Curry CCF ($4) and SG Special Laksa CCF ($4). They come in generous portions, in bowls containing the deliciously lemak gravy and ingredients such as fish balls, bean skin rolls and ngoh hiang.
The magic in the curry version - Ms Yong's childhood comfort food in Kuala Lumpur - is the dried shrimp topping that adds extra flavour and fragrance.
I slurp up the messy goodness of the laksa dish as well. The robust, slightly spicy gravy can rival that of any laksa stall in town.
Of course, purists can stick to the Classic Black Sauce CCF ($2.50) or the sweeter Traditional Red Sauce CCF ($2.50). But after digging into the curry and laksa versions, these seem a tad too basic for me.
So I go for the Hong Kong-inspired Exclusive Sesame Sauce CCF ($2.80), where the rice rolls are coated in a creamy sesame sauce.
For the Black Sauce, Red Sauce and Sesame Sauce chee cheong fun, the three rice rolls in each version are more tightly rolled, says Ms Yong, so that the sauce gets locked into the layers.
I like that the rice rolls are not too soft or too thin and have just the right chewy texture.
I suggest getting the 3 Sauces Sampler ($3.50). Try the flavours separately first, then mix them for that perfect sweet and salty "fourth flavour" - as recommended by Ms Yong.
Ms Yong, who says she became a hawker to fulfil her dream of becoming her own boss, also sells the chee cheong fun via food delivery platforms like Foodpanda and Oddle.
Other unique flavours she has rolled out previously include satay sauce and zha jiang mian (noodles with minced pork and bean sauce).
I am already looking forward to her next novel flavour.
CHEE CHEONG FUN CLUB
01-38 Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur Street; go to www.facebook.com/cheecheongfunclub; open: 7.30am to 3pm (Mondays to Saturdays), 8.30am to 3pm (Sundays), closed on irregular days
Rating: 4 stars