Whampoa Fish Head Steamboat
Let’s talk about Singaporean eats today. I know I’ve already blogged about Singapore Fish Head Steamboat three years ago, but the previous place we used to frequent (in Hougang) isn’t that good anymore. So it’s time for an update.
Xin Heng Feng Guo Tiao Tan
Blk 92, Whampoa Drive
Whampoa Market & Food Centre
Closed on Tuesday
Each Singaporean family has their own favourite stalls serving their much-loved hawker dishes. But based on my own taste preferences, this stall in Whampoa Food Centre serves the nicest Fish Head Steamboat I’ve ever eaten.
On arrival, you can tell it’s popular. That’s because even though the hawker centre hardly has any stalls open in the evening, you can still see tables and tables of people sitting and waiting with no food on the table. They’re all waiting for their turn to have their steamboat served.
We did the same. Mum lined up and ordered, telling the hawker stall vendor our table number. And then it’s a waiting game… where dad would quite often buy little snacks such as Hoover Rojak to tide us through the longish wait.
I remember there were weekends where we’d arrived at 6.30pm but waited till 8pm before our food arrived. But the good news is, they’ve somehow become more efficient lately, and the wait doesn’t go beyond 30 minutes. And the arrival of a round wooden pedestal with cutlery, disposable napkins and chilli sauces signals that our turn is coming soon.
Not long after, a trolley of supporting dishes arrives, and you pick which ones you want. Dad usually orders the pork aspic (trotter jelly), soya sauce eggs and chye buay (salted vegetables). They all serve to give extra umami to the already delicious main event.
And here it is! A bubbling steel pot arrives… still heated by red smoking hot coals underneath, with orange flames licking up its central airwell. This is the reason why it has to be served on a block of wood.
And let the feasting begin!
The reason why fish head steamboat tastes go good is because of the use of the charcoal fire… sizzling and flavouring up the delicious piping hot soup whilst searing the scatter of seaweed, toasted pnee her (dried sole), slices of yam, wombok, and of course the delicious chunks of succulent fish head. It’s such a tantalising offering and a fantastic Singaporean meal.
We’d usually order Ang Go Li (红哥里 – Red Snapper) as the fish of choice with our steamboat. A small pot costs S$20, medium S$28 and the large goes at S$35. Other options include Pomfret and Garoupa.
I know I can’t make a charcoal-fired meal in Melbourne, but I’m seriously so tempted to have a go at recreating this amazing hawker dish even if there aren’t any recipes out there. If anything else, it’d be just to have a little slice of home in my heart to remember by before my next gastronomic visit to Singapore.
You may also be interested in exploring more of my Singapore Hawker Food Trail.