Fatt Kee Shou Shi @ Albert Centre Market & Food Centre

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Albert Centre Market & Food Centre is not where I consider a comfortable place to have a meal due to the heat and the congesting human traffic in the afternoons. #introvertwoes

I would fatt mang zang whenever I am there (albeit unwillingly) to help the folks with their dried goods shopping on the floor above the food centre.

As such, I was never in the mood to explore the food centre even though we have eaten there a few times before heading upstairs. 

It is time that I give myself a chance to discover what this place has to offer.

I decided to get round the problem of bad ventilation and overcrowding by reaching there real early at 7am on a weekend. The downside is that not many stalls are opened yet.

Fatt Kee Shou Shi is one of the few stalls that are fully operational at that timing.

The stall offers old-school Cantonese style breakfast like char bee hoonchar meechee cheong fun, peanut porridge, yam cake and rice dumplings.

All the items here are priced at $1.20 per serving except $3 for the rice dumplings. Do take note that this is the price for dine-in. There is a different set of pricing for takeaways.

I am full of anticipation for this one as they uses charcoal stove to fry their bee hoon and cook their porridge.

Li Ji Cooked Food - Old School Cantonese Economical Rice @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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While lunching at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre a couple of months back, a particular stall named Li Ji Cooked Food caught my attention.

Although it has yet to open for the day, a queue have already formed in front of the stall. Interestingly, the people in the line are mostly the retirees.

With the unwavering support of so many elderlies, there must be something worth checking out here.

So, here I am, in the queue today, to find out what these people are standing in line for. I learned from the auntie behind me that it is a economical rice (chap chye png) stall serving Cantonese-style dishes.

Although stalls offering Teochew muey are a dime a dozen, it did not occur to me till now that there are actually dialect-specified economical rice stalls around (in this case, a Cantonese one).

The queue stretched all the way to Chang Ji Gourmet on the opposite side. Despite the long line, it cleared fast due to the efficiency of the staff.

Heng Ji Chicken Rice @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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What I really looked forward to the most while growing up during the early 1980s, was my family's occasional weekend trip to Chinatown.

What it meant, was that Dad has received his paycheck and we are in for a treat as we would head to Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre for dinner at Heng Ji Chicken Rice.

Dining out was a luxury for us then as Singapore was in a state of recession at that point of time. Dad was fortunate to have kept his job but he worked such long hours that sometimes, I do not get to see him for days especially when he have to work OT through the nights and for that pittance of a salary, money was never enough.

As such, I truly appreciate the times when we could actually sit down as a family to have a meal together.

Facebook memories recently reminded me that my last visit there was some 10 years ago.

To be honest, we stopped patronizing Heng Ji for a period of time due to the discovery of Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle which is the "new kid on the block" then. 

I remember walking past Liao Fan one day, completely mesmerized by the beautiful soy-glazed birds hanging on the racks. Compared to the paler looking ones at Heng Ji, Liao Fan's chickens looked like a million dollars.

But, we too have stopped going to Liao Fan (now rebranded as Hawker Chan) after they received the prestigious tyre award. The queue was already bad enough during their pre-award days. Needless to say, it got worst after that.

We have since found a new darling where a whole bird costs only $12 (now $15 due to the chicken crisis).

Run Ji Cooked Food - Old School Braised Duck Rice @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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Run Ji Cooked Food has been at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre for a very long time. Based on its name alone, it is not quite telling what the stall sells.

They serve braised duck rice here which I have always been wanting to try however, I would always end up having "the usuals" out of habit whenever I visit the food centre.

This review is made up of the experiences from two visits. During the first one, I ordered a plate of braised duck rice ($4) and added on pig's skin ($1) but right after taking ONE photo, my camera ran out of juice.

I visited the stall again, a week later just before the lunch crowd descend upon the food centre.

I made the same order of braised duck rice with pig's skin. Both visits, the lady running the stall checked if I wanted the duck breast or duck thigh of which I requested for the latter.

POH - Chye Poh Hor @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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When I was at Empress Road Market & Food Centre three years ago, I had wanted to try the stall named POH, which serves chye poh hor (菜莆河).

Alas, the four trips that I made to the food centre would always end in disappointment as the stall was perpetually closed each time. I later learned that the stall has shuttered for good.

Fast forward to a few days back, I was at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre when I noticed a new stall along the same row as Chef Sham

Somehow, the familiarity of the stall - from the menu to its name, reminded me very much of the old "POH".

As it turns out, it is indeed them! Fans would be elated to know that after taking a three years break, their favorite stall has made a comeback at a new location!

They are marked as permanently closed at their previous location on Google. Because they are still new at their current place, they are not visible on Google at the point of writing. I have already made a submission so hopefully, by the time you read this review, their new status would have already been updated.

Yan Ji Steamed Pot Rice & Soups @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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I am not entirely sure if Yan Ji Steamed Pot Rice at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre is a new stall but I do not recall seeing it during my previous visits to the food centre (or maybe I was just not paying enough attention).

I tried searching online but could not find anything about it so, I took the liberty to submit the stall's information to Google. I am now awaiting for their approval (Okay, it has gone 'live' now).

The stall is located at the yellow section where the cluster of stalls serving Chinese soups are congregated. 

Chinatown Omelette Chef - Smoked Duck Omelette with Pasta @ Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

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Uncle Francis Lai and Auntie Doreen are the happy faces behind Omelette Chef at Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre.

The husband and wife team used to operate a Cantonese soup stall named Grand Stewed Herbal Soup (豪华滋补炖汤) however, as age catches on, decided to switch to selling something that is easier on their backs while also leaving them more time with family.

As the name implies, their current specialty is omelette which you can have with your choice of topping such as Hawaiian ham, diced chicken, smoked duck, cheese, prawn, mushroom and pork sausage.

More flavors like chicken satay, chicken floss and otah are later added to the menu.

Apart from the omelette, you also have a choice of either Japanese rice or pasta drizzled with mushroom sauce and a side of corn and lettuce.

Reasonably priced at $5 for all the different sets, it seems like a complete meal in itself with protein, carbohydrates and fiber all accounted for!