Tuesday, January 15, 2008

First Hawker Dinner

Hawker - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawker_centre

We are having problems with our gas range which prompted us to eat our dinner outside instead. My Wife and met in front of Novena Church after work. I forgot to take note of the name. It's directly in front of Novena Church located on the right of Cheers convenience store in front of the bus stop. We went to Cheers first since our housemate asked me to buy a prepaid card for her. In the counter i asked the Auntie
Do you have HOT 20?
She doesn't respond and gives me a WTF-are-you-talking-about? look. So i repeat myself and still she didn't understood me. Then my Wife comes to the rescue and said
Top up hot 20?
Finally the Auntie nods. Auntie told me that i just need to say either "top up" or "top up 20" next time. I just laughed at myself. The prepaid card name is HOT20 in bold text in front of the card itself so i assume that i should use that name in purchasing the card, right? No, they wan't the "top up" instead. I guess it's a little bit easier to pronounce and understood "top up" compared to "HOT 20"...sheeshhh.

Anyways back to the Hawker dining experience. I'm really not sure if it can be considered as a Hawker although it looks like one. We checked the menu and if i remember correctly it was divided into categories. Vegetables, Beef, Pork, Chicken, Noodles, Drinks, etc. They also have deer meat. I forgot the term they use in calling deer meat. Since it looks like a hawker i was expecting the price to be in the range of S$3.50 to S$6.00 but to my surprise the cheapest meal cost around S$5.00 (Small). They also have waitresses that take down orders. Their meals comes in 3 sizes or quantities, Small Medium and i guess Large. We chose Pork Rib King (S$5, S$8, S$16) and Crab Meat Fried Rice (S$5, S$8, S$16). We opt for the medium size. For us that's quite expensive already. We seldom shell out more than S$6.00 meal/person. My Wife brought our drink in Cheers while i ordered. I almost did not understood the waitress since i'm still having a hard time diciphering their chinese accent. She asked me
For 1 person?
and i answered
No, for two
After a couple of minutes she placed the plates, 2 wet tissues in a pack and placed the utensils on top of the packs. I said to myself "What the hell?" since the spoon and fork slid down to the table surface. She could have just placed those on top of the plates instead. I'm not that whiny so i just got my tissue paper that i took with me and wiped the utensils along with the plates since it's still a little wet. A copy of the order slip is placed on a small bottle in our table. Then after eating you need to bring that slip in front of the counter to pay. I guess that's their system. Another couple of minutes our order arrives. Of course i don't have a picture of the meals because i only decided to post this experience on the blog late at night. The Pork Rib King almost looks like sweet and sour pork with sesame seeds and strips of green vegetable garnishing. It also has a small fake rose bud but i don't know if it's edible or not since it looks like made out of styrofoam. The meal is good for 2 - 3 persons. The Medium Crab Meat Fried Rice is huge. The platter can at least feed 3-4 person. They also served free bowl of hot soup with chopped spring onions. At first i thought this was another one of the tasteless free soups that some of the stalls in food junctions gives but this one tastes good to me. Finally a free soup with attitude! We didn't got to finish it all so i asked the waitress to pack it for take away. By the way they use "take away" instead of "take out" in the Philippines. I went to pay at the counter and i saw the Aunties punching in two 8.50 and another .40 but i let it slide since i tought it's just tax and i don't really want to complain since i'll just probably have a hard time understanding her. I gave the receipt to my Wife and she told me that the wet tissues are 50 cents each so i guess the tax is 40 cents. Total damage? S$17.40!! Just like eating in a restaurant. Aside from the place, the Food is ok. I even ate the left over crab meat fried rice during lunch time today. The left over pork rib king is for dinner later.

Tips for the newbie

Ask a friend
- Ask a friend who has had some Hawker experience for recommended Hawker stalls and food. Sometimes doing trial-and-error is frustrating specially when you're hungry.

- Observe the eating crowd and look for the popular stall. Chances are its good there.

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