While it may not be one of Singapore’s most well-known hawker hotspots, Circuit Road Hawker Centre (not to be confused with the neighbouring Circuit Road Food Centre) houses a cornucopia of stalls worth making the trip to patronise.
Simply alight at either Mattar MRT station or MacPherson MRT station and make the short stroll over to discover a dancing hawker slinging plates of char kway teow, scrumptious satay that’s suitable for vegetarians and other tasty eats.
Circuit Road Hawker Centre is at 79 & 79A Circuit Road.
1. Nan Xing Claypot Rice
Nan Xing Claypot Rice is known for its claypot items that span everything from smoked duck rice and barbecue pork rice to pig trotters and bak kut teh. If it’s your first time here, you can’t really go wrong with the classic claypot chicken rice (approximately $7 for a small portion). Customers can expect well-marinated chicken pieces, slivers of Chinese sausages, salted fish and leafy Chinese greens, as well as that all-important crispy rice at the bottom that gives a satisfying crunch.
2. Briyani by Hamidah Bi
Visit this family-run establishment for generous and flavourful helpings of briyani. The compact menu features only two dishes that the hawkers have perfected over the years: chicken briyani and mutton briyani, which are priced at under $7 each. Both dishes come with a heap of aromatic basmati rice, saucy and tender meat, zesty cucumber achar to help cut through the richness of the other flavours and a small portion of lentil-based stew, all of which make for a satisfying meal.
3. Dancing Char Kway Teow
At this stall, you’ll be treated to a special performance as you wait for your food. The owner has been known to shimmy to catchy instrumental music as he fries up his unique rendition of char kway teow. It supposedly contains less oil than other versions of the dish, and you can choose to add either a soft-boiled egg or an omelette – we’re partial to the former, which lends a silky texture to the meal. Expect to pay approximately $5 here.
4. Yong Lai Fa Ji Shu Shi
If you need to warm up on a blustery afternoon, you can do so with a bowl of fish soup from this vendor. We like the fish head soup or sliced fish soup – which sports a clear yet flavour-laden broth and ingredients such as tofu cubes, tomatoes, thin bitter gourd slices and some leafy vegetables – complemented with a bowl of warm white rice. It also does seafood soup, fish porridge and fried fish soup. Anticipate forking out upwards of around $5.
5. Ghim Guan Fried Oyster
If you’re craving a shiok and sinful plate of fried oyster, oyster omelette or fried carrot cake, hoof it over to Ghim Guan Fried Oyster. This stall is helmed by a third-generation hawker who purportedly uses a fried oyster recipe that’s been passed down to him from his grandfather. The dish is chock-full of briny oysters with a good balance of starchy to crispy bits, and is best accompanied by lashings of chilli sauce. Expect to pay approximately $5 and up.
6. Omar’s Thai Beef Noodle & Rice
One of the more popular vendors here, Omar’s Thai Beef Noodle & Rice is a Muslim-owned establishment run by a husband-and-wife team who wanted to share their love of Thai cuisine with the masses. Head straight for the signature Thai beef noodles (about $8). Each bowl is packed with assorted beef parts including bouncy beef balls and thin beef slices, alongside a robust and fragrant broth that’s sure to have diners happily slurping away until the very last drop.
7. King of Chendol
Dessert time calls for a refreshing and indulgent helping of chendol. At Circuit Road Hawker Centre, you can find this treat at King of Chendol, which specialises in just this one item (you can nab it for under $3). It’s composed of the requisite shaved ice, coconut milk, red beans, green pandan jelly and gula melaka syrup, and won’t send you straight into a sugar coma. Additional toppings are also available: everything from sweet corn to attap chee and even durian.
8. Victor Veggie
At most hawker centres and kopitiams, satay is commonly reserved for the enjoyment of meat eaters. But at the aptly named Victor Veggie, vegetarians can get in on the feasting, too. The vegetarian satay (approximately $1 per stick) and otak you’ll find here are pretty close to the real deal. The sticks of satay are plated up with peanut sauce and chopped cucumbers, and there are also heartier vegetarian dishes to choose from including nasi lemak, bak kut teh and curry noodles.
9. SS Western 66
In the mood for some Western fare but don’t feel like spending on a meal at a cafe? SS Western 66 is a halal stall here that plies a wide range of old-school Western hawker eats: think crowd-favourites such as chicken chop, chicken cutlet, fish and chips, spaghetti and sirloin steak. Its chicken chop is smothered in a plentiful amount of gravy and served with French fries, baked beans, coleslaw and a small bun, and you can expect to pay around $6.
10. Don Don Prawn Noodles
You can satisfy your prawn noodle cravings at Don Don Prawn Noodles, which doles out a solid range of standard and gussied-up versions of the popular dish. Choose to keep things simple with the pork rib prawn noodles (which are available in dry and soup versions) or level up with the hearty jumbo prawn noodles, which come with the addition of fresh and juicy prawns. The umami-laden broth is rich, balanced and highly slurpable, and prices start at roughly $5.