Need a place to grab a meal after an invigorating morning run or relaxing sunset stroll at the Botanic Gardens? Besides the many cafés and restaurants dotting the area, you can check out this food centre at the intersection of Adam Road and Dunearn Road.
Opened in 1974, the foodie haven is ringed by palm trees and Angsana trees, and has a breezy interior courtyard that lets in plenty of fresh air and natural light. And while it may be especially known for its top-notch Malay food, you’ll also find other multi-cultural delights such as Indian rojak and prawn noodles. Here are a few stalls to patronise.
Adam Road Food Centre | 2 Adam Road
Adam Road Noo Cheng Big Prawn Noodle
An umami-rich soup base with slightly sweet undertones; chewy noodles that possess a firm bite; and succulent prawns make this one of the most popular places in the city-state for moreish prawn noodles.
Operating for over three decades and counting, the vendor offers its signature prawn noodles (starting at $8, with both dry and soup options available) in a large serving with huge, meaty prawns. Alternatively, you can opt for a smaller bowl of prawn noodles with pork ribs, sliced pork or pork belly at the price of $5 and up.
Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak
Lovers of nasi lemak would do well to stop by this spot. The household name doles out large plates of the crowd-favourite dish complete with all the requisite fixings: think crispy chicken wings, otak, fried eggs with runny yolks and coconut rice.
A must-try is the sambal. It’s on the sweeter side, and yields a nice kick without being too spicy. If you’re hungry, go for the Royal Rumble ($6), which includes rice, chicken, egg, fried fish, begedil and cucumber slices with a dollop of sambal and smattering of ikan bilis.
Satay, anyone? Zaiton Satay should be your port of call. The Muslim-owned establishment is one of the most popular outfits at the food centre. Assorted meats such as beef, chicken and mutton are speared onto skewers and cooked to perfection.
There’s a crispy char and subtle smokiness from the grill, and the meat is juicy and tender. Each stick goes for $0.70, with a minimum order of 10, and is served with small chunks of red onion and cucumber. Don’t forget to dunk the satay in the delicious peanut dipping sauce.
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Adam Fishball Noodle
For a comforting bowl of noodles, head to Adam Fishball Noodle. It’s where you’ll find well-portion servings of springy noodles paired with bouncy fish balls and thin slices of fishcake.
You can go for the soup version that has a light broth, though we like the dry option where the ingredients are tossed in a flavourful mix of sauces. If you’re craving something spicier, sample the laksa. It has a fragrant coconut-curry broth and is the ideal antidote for the shivers on a rainy day. Prices begin at $3.50.
Teck Kee Hot & Cold Dessert
Those in the mood for something sweet can swing by Teck Kee Hot & Cold Dessert. It serves a range of treats to either cool you down on a sweltering morning, or warm you up on a cold and dreary afternoon.
You’ll find all the classics here: from lightly sweet cheng tng with longans, white fungus, ginko nuts and barley grains; to ice kachang drizzled with condensed milk and syrups in a riot of bright colours; to warming yellow bean soup that even grandma would approve of. Expect to pay around $2 per dessert.
Adam Chicken Rice
Make no mistake: you’re not going to find any Hainanese chicken rice here. Instead, Adam Chicken Rice is the food centre’s go-to establishment for scrumptious Indonesian-style chicken and rice.
The ayam penyet features a large chicken thigh that’s shatteringly crisp, alongside seasoned rice, crunchy veggies, crispy bits, fiery sambal and soup. Meanwhile, the chicken rice is composed of a smaller serving of chicken atop a mound of fluffy rice, plus a tangier chilli sauce. A meal here will set you back roughly $5.
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Warong Pak Sapari
Be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, some mee soto or mee rebus is sure to put your stomach and spirits in a good mood. Adam Road Food Centre is home to Warong Pak Sapari, which specialises in these two dishes ($3.50 and up).
The mee soto comes with a cloudy broth that’s redolent of chicken flavour and aromatic spices, and is served with your choice of noodles, plus shredded chicken, fresh beansprouts and a spicy chilli sauce. The mee rebus, with its thicker gravy, also worth a try for something heartier.
Adam’s Indian Rojak
If you want some variety, then swing by Adam’s Indian Rojak. It’s where you can fill up on wallet-friendly plates of rojak composed of an array of ingredients: Think crispy meat and vegetable fritters, tempeh, fried bean curd, fishcake and a whole lot more.
Each helping also features chunks of fresh cucumber, green chilli and some red onion, plus a yummy dipping sauce with a great depth of flavour. The price is based on the number of items you select, but $5 should score you a satisfying serving.
The simple meal of bee hoon with pig trotters may be something that you can make at home. But to sample a version that’s been painstakingly perfected over decades, there’s Cheng Ji, which serves plates of bee hoon with pig trotters starting at $5 for a small serving.
It’s a well-done take on the nostalgic dish – soft and steamy without being too wet, and with fresh beansprouts and leafy greens added for good measure. Kick everything up a notch with a squeeze of lime and some chilli sauce.
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Bahrakath Mutton Soup King
Steaming-hot, sumptuous bowls of mutton soup – also known as sup kambing – are the name of the game at this joint. For $8 and up, you can get a hearty, brimming bowl that’s chock-full of your choice of tender and gamey mutton ribs, mutton leg or various mutton innards.
The rich, fragrant and peppery broth includes a plethora of spices and is crowned with fresh coriander and fried shallots. Be sure to get some pillowy bread to help mop up all that liquid – you won’t want to waste a single drop.
This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.