There are a lot of hawker stalls in Farrer Park but none of them can really be classed as great; except the 88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist. In fact, amazing is probably a better descriptor. I have no hesitation in saying they serve the best Wanton Mee and roasted pork belly in Singapore.
Flossie’s rating: ★★★★★
It is a bit of a myth to think that hawker food, generally speaking, is good. While there is some terrific hawker fare out there, there are also an equal number – if not more – lacklustre experiences to be had. High rents and the pressure to keep meals under $5 a bowl quite often leads to skimping on quality ingredients. Somehow, the 88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist manages to keep prices reasonable and the food is delicious.
I cannot believe I only discovered the place recently, although they have been in Farrer Park since 2017! I was in the throes of an expensive house move and after several hours of moving furniture and unpacking boxes, I decided I needed something cheap for lunch; cheap being the operative word! I headed to the small hawker on the corner of Beatty Road and Tyrwhitt Road. There was one stall I didn’t recognise that had a really long queue of hungry patrons. So, copying the local mentality, I rationed the long queue must mean the food is good and I waited in line.
I ordered a regular Wanton Mee with chilli. This is a popular Southern Chinese dish consisting of egg noodles seasoned with chilli, and served with wontons and roasted pork (also known as char siew). I ordered it “dry” which means the noodles and pork are served together while the wontons come in a separate small bowl of soup.
It was love at first bite… the char siew was incredible. The generous portion of meat (more than six pieces of pork) was soft and succulent without being fatty. But more importantly, the sticky, brown coating had only a subtle smokey-sweet flavour. Getting the smokiness right is where most char siew attempts fall down, in my view. It is a rookie error to over-season and over-smoke the pork.
The side of soup was also tasty. It was not at all like the watery-variety of soup you’d typically expect at a Chinese hawker stall. I slurped it down to the very bottom of the bowl.
I went back to the 88 Hong Kong Meat Specialist for lunch again, the very next day! If you have any idea of how fussy I am, then you will appreciate what it means. This time, I ordered the Wanton Mee but “wet”. The roasted pork, noodles and wontons were all served together in a large bowl of yellow soup. I carefully scooped up the pork with my spoon in generous soupy slurps, whilst twisting the noodles around my chopsticks in the other hand. This is the best way to enjoy Wanton Mee in my opinion, because you can relish all the salty, smokey, sweet and oily flavours together in each mouthful. This time I also delighted in the slight crunch to the wantons, which I discovered contained water chestnuts as well as prawns.
I also tried a serving of the roasted duck. Those muscular ducks hanging in the window, with their gleaming crispy-red skin, were too hard to resist. It is not as easy to find good roasted duck in Singapore compared to Hong Kong. The meat tends to be less meaty and more dry, which may indeed be down to local tastes. But, the duck at this place is good. The crunchy skin is delicious (I could happily just eat that skin on its own!) and the flesh is not at all boney, although it could be more fatty.
Each time I go back the 88 Hong Kong Meat Specialist, I always discover new favourites. Like the roasted pork belly, also know as sio bak. This is their most famous dish, which causes the long queues! The flesh of the pork glistens white with a thick line of gooey, yummy fat connecting it to a crunchy layer of crackling. Ooooh… that crackling. It’s roasted to a tee – very crunchy and salty – and well worth the calories. If you order a side of vegetables, they will quite often top it off with some pork fat or a couple of slivers of crackling too, if you’re lucky!
For around $10 you can order a plate of roasted meats consisting of roasted pork belly, char siew and roasted duck. I personally think the pork belly is the best, followed closely by the char siew and then the roasted duck.
I go here for lunch at least once a fortnight now. You can expect to queue for around twenty minutes on weekends if you go during the normal lunch window (11am to 2pm). I’m always prepared to queue despite the chagrin of my lunch companions! If you want to try this place out, remember it is in the small hawker centre located on the corner. It is not the larger hawker centre on Tyrwhitt Road, opposite Tiramisu Hero, which has a stall by the same name.
88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist
153 Tyrwhitt Road
Opening hours: (Daily) 11am – 8pm