You'll find this popular food centre absolutely packed with people during the evenings. Besides the regular crowd of Serangoon Gardens residents, the steady stream of diners includes food fanatics from different corners of the city-state who flock here to sample its tasty BBQ dishes, scrumptious satay and other delectable culinary offerings.
Chomp Chomp Food Centre first opened in 1972 and was most recently upgraded in 2003. While it isn't exactly easily accessible by train (you'll have to walk around 20 minutes from Lorong Chuan MRT station) it's serviced by a solid handful of buses. Not sure what to try? Read on for our suggestions.
Chomp Chomp Food Centre | 20 Kensington Park Road
Hai Wen Yuan BBQ
This stall is easy enough to hunt down: simply enter the food centre and it's one of the first vendors you'll see. There are a clutch of good barbecue joints here offering all manner of seafood dishes, but Hai Wen Yuan BBQ could be the most beloved of them all if the extensive queue during dinnertime is anything to go by.
Customers adore their signature BBQ stingray ($12 for a small portion). The fresh, tender and flaky fish is blanketed in an addictive sambal sauce and presented atop a banana leaf with red onion slices.
Chomp Chomp Satay
Recognised with a Michelin Plate mention, Chomp Chomp Satay should be your go-to spot to indulge in tender, succulent meat skewers. You can choose from chicken, beef, pork and mutton options - they each have a smoky char that isn't overdone, and the juicy pork and chicken are particular standouts.
Sticks are served with cucumber, red onion and a peanut sauce that includes a special ingredient: pineapple puree, which adds a refreshing sour dimension to the condiment. Each stick goes for $0.70.
Swee Heng Wanton Noodle
Swee Heng Wanton Noodle, which has been operating here for decades, doles out delicious wanton mee starting at $4.
The eggy, al dente noodles have a firm bite, and are plated alongside chunks of charred, salty-sweet char siew and some leafy veggies. You'll also receive a small bowl of soup with wantons.
To switch things up - and perhaps make your meal a little bit healthier - you can even opt for spinach noodles instead. Other items on the limited menu include dumpling soup and chicken feet noodles.
Ang Sa Lee Oyster Omelette
This outfit has made a name for itself with its namesake oyster omelette, and it's a popular choice among both regular patrons and new visitors.
Fork out upwards of $5 and you'll get a glorious mess of fluffy egg, fresh oysters and starchy batter, topped with spring onions and coriander leaves for good measure.
The oyster omelette has a soft texture, and isn't quite as crispy as some other establishments. The chilli sauce leans towards the sour side, and provides a nice tang to complement the oily and briny flavours of the dish.
Another satay stall here is The Warung. It's a Muslim-owned vendor selling tasty and authentic Javanese satay alongside other hearty options such as mee soto, soto ayam and tahu goreng.
If you're here for the satay, they offer chicken, mutton and beef sticks that are cooked over a charcoal grill.
Rather than provide a dipping sauce on the side, The Warung smothers its satay in a delightful peanut gravy and tops it with some refreshing cucumber, red onion and green chilli slices. You can nab 10 sticks for the price of $7.
Chong Pang Huat
If you're a fan of BBQ chicken wings - and, let's be honest, who isn't - then a visit to Chomp Chomp Food Centre isn't complete without dropping by this stall.
Hungry diners flock to Chong Pang Huat to feast on its signature BBQ chicken wings ($1.30 each, so do order a few for the table).
They boast glistening, crackly and well-charred skin, as well as succulent meat that retains its moisture throughout the cooking process. Drizzle some lime juice and chilli sauce to balance out the rich flavours.
Chomp Chomp Rojak Popiah
Moreish helpings of rojak, popiah and kueh pie tee are what you'll find here.
If you opt for the rojak, you can look forward to a plate piled high with cucumber chunks, fried dough fritters, tau pok, crunchy turnip and tangy pineapple slices that have been mixed in a piquant sauce and dusted with plenty of crushed peanuts.
Meanwhile, the popiah and kueh pie tee come stuffed with a juicy turnip filling and slices of boiled egg, plus a smear of chilli sauce for those who request for it. Each dish costs upwards of $3.
Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Mee
Those who are craving a solid plate of Hokkien mee should head to this joint. It's been awarded with a Michelin Plate recommendation, and seems to be a crowd favourite, too, judging by the long queue.
For upwards of $3, you'll get a generous plate of noodles, prawns, squid, egg and fresh beansprouts that have been wok-fried in a fragrant prawn stock.
This is perfect if you like your Hokkien mee on the drier side. Don't forget to add a dollop of sambal chilli sauce to complete the experience.
Big Big Fries
One of the food centre's most novel establishments is Big Big Fries, which is run by two young hawkers and specialises in highly Instagrammable fried spuds. But these are by no means the pre-packaged potatoes you'll find in the frozen section of the supermarket.
Rather, Big Big Fries doles out handmade, cooked-to-order fries that are 20cm long and are drizzled with a colourful array of lip-smacking sauces: think mentaiko mayo, seaweed mayo, barbecue and nacho cheese. Expect to pay around $7.
Satay Bee Hoon & Hainan Beef Noodle
This vendor specialises in two very different but equally comforting dishes: satay bee hoon and Hainan beef noodles. The former comes swimming in a light sauce and includes thin rice noodles topped with the likes of cuttlefish, prawns, pork, tau pok and kang kong.
The latter consists of thick rice noodles, beef slices, preserved vegetables and peanuts with a thick and starchy gravy. We recommend drizzling some lime juice before digging in. Prices for both items begin at $5.
This article was first published in The Singapore Women’s Weekly.