Long Hua - Crave-worthy handmade yong tau foo
Eating yong tau foo can be a complicated affair. With rows of ingredients such as fishballs, fried dumplings, broccoli, three kinds of mushrooms and a few types of leafy green vegetables to choose from, my tongs often hover over each item and I am unable to decide.
Then, there is still the matter of picking the carbohydrate you want - rice or one of the noodle options - and if you want your ingredients in soup or prefer them dry.
With all these choices, sometimes it is just easier to opt for a set where everything is pre-selected.
This is one reason I like eating at Long Hua, which serves its soupy Hakka yong tau foo with stuffed bittergourd, meat-filled tofu, fishball, meat fritter and tau kwa.
My go-to order is yong tau foo with rice, though customers can also choose thin yellow noodles or kway teow. Each set costs $4.
Even without the carbohydrates, the bowl is filling on its own.
The pieces of yong tau foo are chunky and generously filled with chicken and fish paste. Stall owner Hu Ming Zhu, 37, makes them herself. The bonus is the minced meat gravy that she scoops on top of the rice or noodles.
02-01, 978 Toa Payoh North,
open: 7.30am to 7.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Ms Hu, a Xiamen native who has lived in Singapore since 2004, learnt to make the dish from her aunt. She has been serving this version of yong tau foo for the last decade.
Previously, she had a stall in Taman Jurong, but moved when the coffee shop it was in underwent renovations and the rent increased. Long Hua is now on the second floor of an industrial building in Toa Payoh North.
I like the simplicity of her yong tau foo - it is unfussy yet hearty.
The soup, which is lightly flavoured, is also comforting, especially on cold, rainy days. She does not use monosodium glutamate in her cooking, making the yong tau foo a healthy meal.
I had noticed the stall when she moved in, but did not start patronising it until a few months ago.
But since my first meal there, I have found myself craving it often - so much so that I have been eating at Long Hua once a week.