When Life’s Tiny Miracles invited us to join their blog train on Singapore’s wet markets, I readily agreed because I thought it was a fantastic way of capturing images and memories of places that are in many ways, the heartbeat of a neighbourhood. And it is these neighbourhoods that make Singapore, Singapore, isn’t it?
A wet market that I was familiar with in my childhood, lies at Fengshan Block 85, Bedok North Street 4.
Revisiting it filled me with nostalgia. Especially since some of the hawker stalls are still run by the same people, and some of the shops in the blocks surrounding it are exactly the same.
Also, I was surprised at how fun it is to photograph a wet market, and how varied the stalls are.
I was surprised to see fresh groundnuts! The colours, the variety, neighbours of all races making their purchases…
Every market has a couple of these stalls. When I used to cook meals for our small family, I totally appreciated how we could buy onions, ginger, shallots, garlic in small quantities from stalls like these, instead of the large bags that they come in, at the supermarket.
Besides fresh cuts of pork, check out the entire roasted suckling pig that was sitting on the side table that day!
This stall was by far the most crowded that morning. And you know what they say about queues right? Definitely a sign of something good. 😛
Eggs, eggs and more eggs
I recall how as a child, I was fascinated at how there were so many categories of brown eggs, with each category differing by 10-20 cents in price. I could only discern the difference in size between the cheapest and the most expensive category!
The fresh flower stalls in every wet market always lend such cheer to the place. It is not uncommon to see aunties carrying a bundle of flowers in addition to their heavy bags of vegetables and meat…
Famous Blk 85 Fengshan Hawker Centre
Blk 85 is popular especially as a supper venue, featuring BBQ chicken wings, sambal sting ray, satay, hokkien mee, and its famous bar chor mee soup noodles. It is currently making the news as the backdrop to some hot political discussion – check out #reasonstowin if you haven’t heard. 😛
These seats are packed by nightfall, especially on weekends.
There are actually 3 rival bar chor mee stalls, though most people are more acquainted with the two rivals located side-by-side. Personally, I patronise the one inside, instead of the two near the bus-stop, because I recognise the uncle who runs it, from some 20 years ago. I used to take Bus 14 to school and he’d be there, fluffing those noodles to give it extra bounce! He only serves the soup variety, i.e. no dry version.
During a visit last year, we were touched and impressed by the uncle’s rotund assistant (pictured in black jersey above). He really went out of his way to make our meal super child-friendly. Chili slices are usually always plonked into the bowl of soup, but this time it was served to us in a separate saucer without any request.
When he saw that we were sharing our bowls with the kids, he came with a fork and empty bowl, again without us asking. And they were having a busy evening! My kind of hawker hero.
For breakfast, this is my favourite fish ball noodle stall. I recall training myself to up my chili tolerance level here, as a primary school kid!
I had a wonderful chat with the friendly aunty recently, who said that she and her husband have run the stall for more than 25 years now, and how her kids had grown up attending schools nearby… we even chatted about their primary schools and how her kid was balloted out from a popular one 15 years ago, even though they lived right next to it! Haha.
Most of her patrons are her friends, and some regulars need not even say their order. One look, and she’ll start processing their favourite combination of noodles. The friendly chatter, the customary greetings, all this makes up the essence of a neighbourhood wet market and hawker centre.
I am so glad that our wet markets and hawker centres will not go the way of
my beloved red brick national library the dodo. I am glad that there is clear recognition of how they are important places for community bonding, and how they are systematically being maintained.
Hooray for another part of our heritage that will be mindfully preserved!
This post is part of the ‘To Market, To Market’ Blog Train hosted by Life’s Tiny Miracles. To read about other local markets in Singapore, please click on the icon below.
Tomorrow, we have Karen, a mum to 2 wonderful children, who muses over at Mum’s calling. She believes it is almost every woman’s calling to be a Mum. While fulfilling hers, she finds the journey truly rewarding and enjoyable. She is convinced that Motherhood is life-changing and full of surprises.