Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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Melvin Chew, second generation owner of Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap took over reins of the 36 years old business from his father after the elder Chew's demise a few years ago. He now runs the stall with his mother.

Unlike other conventional lor ark (braised duck) stalls which serves either rice or kway chap, Melvin went one step further by injecting Japanese influences into this traditional Teochew dish. Think bento and ramen with lor ark.

Jin Ji does serve their braised ducks the traditional way for the purists, of course, but the new offerings will appeal to the millennials. After all, they are quite Instagram-worthy. 

Tai Wah Cooked Food - Pandan "Butterfly" Bun @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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Tai Wah Cooked Food at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre sells traditional Chinese fried fritters like the youtiao (Chinese cruller), ham chim peng (salted five-spice buns), green bean bun, red bean bun and, the specialty of their stall, the butterfly bun.

I enjoy their fritters as they are hand-made at the stall daily and fried on the spot so it is always fresh and piping hot.

My favorite among all is the butterfly bun but not just any butterfly bun, mind you. Theirs is really unique because it is pandan-flavored. So far, this is the only stall I know that does it this way. 

Fatty Ox HK Kitchen - Beef Brisket Noodle @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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I am not much of a beef person thus, there are some beef dishes that I have not eaten before. Among them, I am particularly curious about the ngau lam (beef brisket).

I heard that the ngau lam at Fatty Ox is one of the best there is in Singapore. Since I am already checking out Fatty Ox for their soy sauce chicken, why not give their ngau lam a try?

That is why, I decided to order a plate of ngau lam with noodle ($4).

I also hear their sui kow (shrimp dumplings) are pretty solid so, I asked to add a couple in as well.

My ngau lam noodle with two pieces of sui kow came up to $5.50.

As this is my first time having ngau lam noodle, I do not know what to expect. In fact, I do not even know which part of the cow ngau lam is!

Fatty Ox HK Kitchen - Soy Sauce Chicken Noodle @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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Soy sauce chicken are a dime a dozen at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre. At last count, there are at least five such stalls here in this food centre and that's not including the lesser known ones.

The most famous one of them all - Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle - is the world's first hawker to be awarded one Michelin star. I was a fan of theirs prior their award days but ever since then, I can only shake my head in disappointment at the outrageous queue.

That is when I decided to seek out the other soy sauce chicken located within the food centre.

Cue Fatty Ox HK Kitchen.

The chef, Mr Cheung, is a Hong Konger who moved to Singapore during the 1980s. In 1986, he started his first stall inside a coffee shop at Pagoda Street. Then, in 1991, he moved to Murray Street and operated there for 16 years. Subsequently, he moved to a coffee shop at North Bridge Road for about two years before settling down at Chinatown Complex.

Maxwell Haha Mee Siam Mee Rebus @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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Reviewing this stall is not part of the plan.

I was actually there at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre for Fatty Ox HK Kitchen's soya sauce chicken noodle but I have forgotten that they are closed on Mondays.

Not wanting to make a wasted trip, I went to the next stall on my list, Tai Wah Cooked Food for their Pandan-flavored "butterfly" but they, too were not opened.

Then, I remembered about this mee siam stall at the row behind Chang Ji Gourmet when I was there to review them. I was actually sitting at the table outside this stall because I wanted to make use of the lights coming from their stall to take photos of the fried bee hoon and peanut porridge.

The stall in question is called Maxwell Haha Mee Siam Mee Rebus and you can probably tell where they were previously located and what they sell. The stall is wholly Chinese owned, selling Chinese-styled mee siam and mee rebus.

Chang Ji Gourmet - $1.20 Porridge & Fried Bee Hoon @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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Chang Ji Gourmet at Chinatown Complex have a very simple menu with just three items: fried bee hoon, fried noodle and peanut porridge.

I have not eaten at this stall before but I did walk past it many times and I am intrigued by its long, snaking queue.

Chang Ji offers a simple, no-frills breakfast at just $1 per serving. Their fried bee hoon and fried noodle come with just bean sprouts and nothing else. They do not even have additional sides that you can add on to your meal so why are they such a hit with customers?

I decided to join the queue on a Saturday morning to find out why.

Woo Ji Cooked Food - $2 Laksa & Prawn Noodle @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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The food centre at Chinatown Complex is like a labyrinth filled with surprises at every turn. I am excited to learn of a stall here that sell laksa and prawn noodle for a mere $2!

The only catch is, you have to come very early for a bowl as they are opened from 6am till they closes at 10am. Yes, only four hours! Very short operating hours I know!

But, what is one to do if you want to have a bowl? Well, you jolly wake up and leave the house when the skies is still dark which is what I did!

There is already a snaking line when I reached the stall Woo Ji Cooked Food at 7am. I cannot decide whether to have laksa or prawn noodle so I ordered both!

Jia Ji Mei Shi @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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After an intensive three-months renovations, Chinatown Complex has finally reopened much to the relief of the stall owners (no income for three months!) and the nearby office workers who had to venture further for their lunches.

Honestly, I do not see any difference with the newly renovated food centre. Illumination within is still as bad as before, throwing people into a dreary mood. Furthermore, seemingly cleaned tables still have stains on them, suggesting half-hearted jobs from the cleaning crew.

The only evident thing I see are the nets put up to keep out the birds.

The very first stall that I cannot wait to revisit is Jia Ji Mei Shi which serves all-day breakfast like chee cheong fun (rice rolls), orh kueh (yam cake), porridge, fried bee hoon and rice dumplings, etc.

This particular stall is one of the more popular ones hence a perpetual queue is to be expected although it is not as terrible as Liao Fan's (Hawker Chan) which is just perpendicular in front to their stall.