In a nation where snaking queues at stalls are a sign that they serve good food, it can be rather disconcerting to enter a food centre with barely any diners.
That was the scenario at The Bedok Marketplace in Simpang Bedok at 11.30am last Thursday.
To refresh your memory, this is the food centre that started out as a social enterprise in 2012. It closed and re-opened at the end of 2014, with new owners and more hipster-type stalls.
Perhaps I went at a bad time, but I think it is a pity to relaunch with fancier stalls if only a handful are open during lunchtime.
Many of the diners who trickle in head to Liang's Wanton Noodles. The stall started out as Seng's Wanton Noodles at Dunman Food Centre after the revamp.
LIANG'S WANTON NOODLES
The Bedok Marketplace, 348 Bedok Road, 02-07, open: 11.30am to 10pm (Tuesday to Sunday), closed on Monday, call 8407-8042 for pre-orders
Rating: 3/5 stars
While I have no complaints about the wonton mee ($3.50 to $5.50), the chicken feet noodles steal the show for me.
The $3.50 option is enough for me as I add a bowl of wonton soup ($3). I get two big chicken feet and half a mushroom - all stewed perfectly in a savoury, slightly herbal gravy.
I make quick work of the skin and cartilage and wish I had ordered an extra portion.
The noodles are tossed in a fiery chilli sauce and you can add your own pieces of lard at the counter.
For those who do not fancy chicken feet, there is mushroom noodles ($3.50 to $5.50) and dumpling noodles ($4 or $5).
The wontons come in a large bowl of peppery soup, which I polish off despite the sweltering heat. But there is a bit too much thick wonton skin for my liking.
Other stalls in The Bedok Marketplace include Uncle Chicken (from the Margaret Drive Chicken Rice family), Huong Que Vietnamese Cuisine, meat-centric stall The Chop Chop Selections, yakitori stall The Burning Oak and Ballistic Meatballs.
So, besides having Liang's Wanton Noodles, there are more reasons for diners to grab a bite at The Bedok Marketplace.