Dieticians say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
I woke up this morning, squinting against the glare from the window and wondered what would be the perfect food for the day’s most important meal. The answer came almost naturally – breakfast at the Toa Payoh market. Toa Payoh in general has some good hawker food. I love taking my friends to revisit all the hidden gems I discovered during the 6 years I worked in the area.
This morning, the only other person up at 7am was my brother. He’s always regarded breakfast with great importance, so he eagerly accepted my offer of a ‘traditional Singaporean breakfast tour’. This was our ‘itinerary':
First, to cleanse and refresh the system – a glass of sugar-cane juice, freshly squeezed between 2 fat rollers, sweet and icy cold.
Next: To indulge the senses and awaken those tastebuds (and overdose on your body’s daily fat requirement) – some pan-fried ‘chai tao guay’ cake (which is actually a sort of turnip cake). The lady who runs the stall lovingly cooks it on a giant pan, until the outside is golden crisp, and then smears it with chilli, so that it looks…well sort of like the picture below… This means a 30 min wait, especially when there’s a breakfast crowd, but damn it’s good! Even my self-confessed chai tao guay-connesieur brother agreed. The stall is only open weekend mornings, but during the week they remain open through lunch as well.
While waiting for the carrot cake to come: Distract yourself with all the other delights that the market has to offer. Like the small paos that are freshly made everyday. There are both savoury and sweet varieties
Lastly: To cleanse the palate and soothe the stomach, a snow-white bowl of porridge. This stall is very popular for their wide variety of porridge and mee suah.
This market also houses my favourite fishball noodle stalls of ALL time. The noodles are cooked to just the right texture and coated with a mouth-watering vinegar and chilli sauce. Their fishballs are bouncy and have a lovely bite. And the owner’s brother, who serves, is pretty cute and never forgets a customer’s face (service with a smile rarely seen at hawker centres). It’s not on the itinerary because sadly, I had no more room after all that ‘chai tao kuay’, paos and porridge. Moral of the story, the more people you go with the more food you get to eat!
Lorong 1 Toa Payoh Block 127 Market & Food Centre
Open daily for breakfast and lunch (dinner-time stalls may differ)