It was no surprise that many Singaporeans were immediately intrigued when they heard that a new hawker centre was opening at Sengkang West. Yes, I’m talking about Fernvale Hawker Centre & Market. Food is, after all, one of the main threads in the fabric that binds us together. Better still, at a hawker centre, the thrill of discovery of a new favourite often coincides with the glee of spending around just S$5 to do so. Kiasu foodies unite!
When I searched for the location, I discovered that the official name of the building is the Fernvale Community Club, Hawker Centre & Market. You may have noticed that hawker centres tend to be located near CCs but here, they share the same (massive) structure opposite Seletar Mall.
It’s also conveniently just a short stroll from Layar LRT station which connects to the MRT network at Sengkang station.
This isn’t the hawker centre of our parents. Located on the third floor (there is no second floor), it is marked by wide open spaces and aisles, a towering ceiling and massive industrial fans. There’s a conveyor belt at the tray return station. As far as first impressions go, Fernvale was off to a great start… but would it be the tortoise or the hare?
That would be decided by the 12 stalls out of the 28 here that I visited. I present to you the 12 stalls to check out at Fernvale Hawker Centre & Market.
1. Feng Xiang Bak Kut Teh (#03-01)
Feng Xiang Bak Kut Teh is a(nother) brand that advertises itself as the “authentic” bak kut teh specialist. This is their fourth branch island-wide so they are definitely doing something right.
Not sure where to start with their menu? A reliable favourite is the Herbal Bak Kut Teh (Soup) (S$6.90 regular, S$11.90 medium). I myself prefer the Bak Kut Teh (Dry) (S$7.90 regular, S$13.90 medium). For side dishes, I usually add You Tiao (S$1) but have heard rave reviews about the Stir-Fried Lady Finger (S$3.90), too.
There is a complete Fried Porridge range, too, and at reasonable prices. The Sliced Pork Fried Porridge (S$5.90) and Sliced Fish Fried Porridge (S$6.90) are my picks here.
2. Tong Fong Fatt Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice (#03-25)
One of the reasons that I was drawn to Tong Fong Fatt Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice was the elderly work crew. Another was their recent brush with controversy regarding pricing. Hoping for the best, I asked for the basic Chicken Rice (S$4.50). It was whipped up in about 3 minutes and came with clear soup. Diners are welcome to help themselves to the coriander, red chilli sauce and ginger sauce at the counter.
I looked at my tray and realised that for the price I had paid, it seemed there was a measly amount of what the stall says are “fresh kampung chickens”. So my advice would be to go for this dish only if you’re looking for something light. That said, the meat was extremely tender and possessed that wonderful mouthfeel which I can only describe as ‘squeaking against your teeth’.
The soy sauce drizzled over the meat was delicious, especially if you have a tendency towards a sweeter palate as I do. Because the red chilli was a bit too salty for my liking, I wonder if it was a deliberate choice to overdo both components. I did not ask the vendors as they were busy attending to the queue but it seems entirely possible.
Given the amount of chicken, it was gone too soon and I stole my dining companion’s black carrot cake (keep reading) to compensate!
Daily: 10am – 8pm
3. Saudagar Penyek (#03-21)
Saudagar Penyek touts itself as “100% Muslim Owned” and is situated in the halal section of Fernvale Hawker Centre.The fare here ranges from the quite pricey— Nasi Goreng Ikan Bakar (S$9.50), Nasi Goreng Ikan Penyek (S$8.50) and Nasi Goreng Ayam Bakar (S$8.20)— to the affordable— Chicken Wing Set (S$3) and Fish Fillet Set (S$3).
I found their Indonesian fare to be above average but the meal was quite different from the pictures (expected, I know, but slightly disappointing given how fantastic the food images looked). Gotta add that their sambal that’s made fresh every day pairs well with virtually everything.
If you’re an Indonesian food lover like myself, be sure to visit Saudagar Penyek by Project Penyek that has Nasi Ayam Penyek (S$6) and Nasi Ikan Bakar (S$8).
4. Song Zhou Carrot Cake (#03-27)
The original Song Zhou Carrot Cake located at Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre does a roaring business with some declaring their black carrot cake ‘the best in Singapore’. Jeez, can you say ‘pressure’? Despite such a high bar to live up to, this branch is holding its own in a competitive scene.
I ordered a small plate each of the White Carrot Cake (S$3.20 small, S$4 medium, S$5 large, S$6 with prawn) and Black Carrot Cake (S$3.20 small, S$4 medium, S$5 large, S$6 with prawn). The white version was on the salty side but had more than enough egg to satisfy even the most demanding carrot cake connoisseur. By contrast, the black version was sweet but not overly so. I liked it better.
Hats off to the stall for giving a pretty reasonable amount of food even for the smallest serving. My only gripe would be the ‘no mixing’ rule since I find it so hard to choose sometimes!
5. Munchi Pancakes (#03-04)
Min Jiang Kueh is one of those cute little foods that can be a dessert, a handy little snack between meals or, if you’re a sweets-fiend like me, a meal unto itself. Munchi Pancakes offers 3 pancake skin flavours— Original, Charcoal, and Green Tea. You then have 11 choices of filling— Peanut, Coconut or Red Bean (S$1.50 each) and Belgian Chocolate, Cream Cheese, Matcha, Thai Milk Tea, Oreo Cheese, Strawberry Cheese, Black Sesame or Biscoff (S$1.80 each).
I chose Original with Biscoff, Charcoal with Black Sesame and Green Tea with Peanut. The peanut one, as you can perhaps tell from the pictures, is not just a filling but an ‘overfilling’. as always, Biscoff was a safe bet and quite tasty. I have to say, though, that the pancakes are nothing to write home about. Also note that there is no eat-in option— you only get the takeaway bags, which can sometimes be a tad cumbersome (and sad for the ‘gram).
6. 178 Yi Qi Fa Econ Beehoon & Nasi Lemak (#03-02)
178 Yi Qi Fa Econ Beehoon & Nasi Lemak is a unique start up, as its young lady owner explained to us. As the name suggests, they specialise in budget-friendly meals. The most expensive thing on their menu is the Signature Wing Rice Set (S$4.30), which comes with nasi lemak rice, a chicken wing, a semicircle of a fairly thick slab of luncheon meat and a fried egg.
Want to create your own meal? Start with a base of Econ bee Hoon/Noodles/Kway Teow (S$1.20), White Bee Hoon (S$1.70) or Nasi Lemak Rice (S$0.90). Add on a Hot Dog (S$0.70), Egg/hash brown/Otah/Tofu (S$0.80) and Stir-fry Vegetables/Sambal Ikan Bilis (S$0.90). The most expensive single items are Chicken Cutlet (S$1.80) and Chicken Wing (S$1.60). All in all, quite affordable for a wide variety.
Tue to Sun: 6am – 3pm
Closed on Mon
7. Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee Bedok 85 (#03-07)
Most bak chor mee fans will recognise the Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee name from their rather famous Bedok 85 Hawker Centre stall. (‘Bedok 85’ is prominently emblazoned on the front and side of the stall just in case you don’t).
You can sample their signature dishes of Bak Chor Mee Soup (S$4.50 small, S$5.50 large) and Bak Chor Mee Dry (S$5 small, S$6 large), and get a filling serving for a pretty reasonable price. I have enjoyed both at their original stall and it was great to see that they’ve managed to be pretty consistent between locations.
Thu to Tue: 10.30am – 8.30pm
Closed on Wed
8. Fins & Feathers (#03-10)
As you can probably tell, Fins & Feathers specialises in fish and chicken dishes. It is among the most expensive options at Fernvale Hawker Centre with a Fish & Chips (S$8) and Seabass Fish & Chips (S$11.80) in the mid range and their Ribeye Steak with Fries & Slaw (S$16.30) capping off the menu.
The Mac “N” Cheese (S$3.20) and Bolognese Spaghetti (S$3.20) are at more typical hawker stall prices but I found the portions to be overly economical. It’s great that there is a stall that focuses on Western fare just so we have a variety of choices but I think they could (should) rethink their pricing— it will probably bring in more customers and, thus, revenue.
9. Umi’s Spices (#03-16)
Umi’s Spices is another “100% Muslim Owned” stall in the halal section of Fernvale Hawker Centre. This is the second branch of the Malay food specialist and lists about 40 different items on its storefront menu.
They range from the affordable Rice Economy (S$3.20) that comes with rice and one Fried Vegetable and one Side Dish (selected items only) to the pricey-for-hawker Nasi Kuning Set (Chicken/Beef/Mutton) (S$6.80 – S$7.80). I got myself one of my favourite foods since I was a child, Sambal Telor (S$1.20) and it proved to be a great pick!
10. JIN Kimchi Express (#03-22)
Okay, JIN Kimchi is not just a stall at a hawker centre— it’s an entire operation that includes the cooked food stall, a “flagship store”, a Korean butchery and a Korean mini supermarket all rolled into one. With such a wide array of readymade and freshly cooked food products, JIN Kimchi Express occupies the space of 4 regular stalls.
Listed number 1 on their menu is the Galbi Pork Belly Meat Set (Sweet & Savoury) (S$7.60). It’s number 1 in my books, too as it includes the famous JIN “Original” Kimchi together with their absolutely fantastic pork belly. I know it can seem that I am simply falling into the I-love-K-anything trap but, no, this really is a scrumptious dish that you have to try!
More adventurous diners my want to ask the chef to whip up a serving of Kimchi Pancake (S$6). The tangy twist of kimchi added to the traditional savoury pancake flavour is made even more special with JIN Kimchi’s delicious soy dipping sauce.
11. Hock Hai (Hong Lim) Curry Chicken Noodle
With a Michelin Bib Gourmand under its belt, Hock Hai (Hong Lim) Curry Chicken Noodle from Bedok Interchange Hawker Centre is probably the most accomplished brand name at Fernvale Hawker Centre. They have brought all their flair and expertise with them here because both the Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee (S$5.50/S$6.50/S$7.50) and Satay Bee Hoon (S$5.50/S$6.50/S$7.50) were absolutely scrumptious!
If you arrive with a a smaller appetite and/or lighter wallet, the Satay Shredded Chicken Bee Hoon (S$3.20) is a fair alternative.
+65 9786 8624
Fri to Wed: 9am – 8pm
Closed on Thu
12. Whitley Road Big Prawn Noodle (#03-09)
Just a notch under the Bib Gourmand, the Michelin Plate is awarded to restaurants “recognised for having very good food”, which is an apt description for Whitley Road Big Prawn Noodle. In its recommendation for the Old Airport Road branch, Michelin described it as “Varied side ingredients include prawns, pork liver or pork ribs. Cooked-to-order, the soup is rich in prawn flavour.”
That meant that I had to try the Big Prawn Pig’s Liver Noodles (S$6, S$8, S$12, S$16) and it proved the recommendation absolutely spot on. I think I may have enjoyed it more than the dishes from Hock hai Curry Chicken Noodle.
Tue to Sun: 8.30am – 5.30pm
Closed on Mon
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