Chinatown Food Street is once again collaborating with Select Group Pte Ltd to bring you The Fifty Cents Fest – an annual festival in the Singapore Food Festival calendar of events that is now in its 4th year running. This year’s iteration of the Fest will highlight the culture of Singapore’s largest dialect group, the Hokkien Chinese, through street food from over 40 stalls and mobile vendors, as well as Hokkien Getai Performances, retro bingo games and nostalgic arcade games.
Of course, the highlight of the event is the array of savouries and sweets offered. You can look forward to trying out items such as Kan Chia Mee (Rickshaw Noodle), Lor Mee, Orh Pia (Fried Oyster Snack), and Hei Zho (prawn rolls). Best part? Everything at the festival is priced between SGD0.50 and SGD3 – which means you can have your fill without breaking the bank.
We tried several dishes at the media preview and these are the five items that we think you certainly shouldn’t miss when you’re there:
1. Beng Hiang Kong Ba Bao
Beng Hiang is an established Hokkien restaurant founded in 1978 that is well-known for its melt-in-your-mouth kong ba bao (braised pork belly bun). We got to sample this dish at the media preview and fell in love immediately with how tender and flavourful the pork belly was.
Masterchef Tan Hee Ang, the head chef of Beng Hiang, was also at the preview to give us a run-down on the many steps involved in making a good kong ba bao. Since the choice of ingredients plays a crucial role in determining the mouthfeel of the dish, the utmost care has to be put into the selection of slabs of pork belly that has just the right thickness. The entire preparation and cooking process takes a total of six to eight hours and with all these efforts put into it, it’s no wonder the finished product is that good!
2. Buddha Jumps Over the Wall
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, or Put Tiao Cheo, is a nutritious soup made with a medley of premium ingredients like conpoy (dried scallops), fish maw, abalone, and ginseng. This classic Hokkien comfort dish, along with other traditional dishes like Hei Zho (Prawn Rolls) and fried Hokkien mee, will be served by a “secret” roadside stall tucked away in a corner of Chinatown Food Street. Its exact location will only be revealed to you via a directory at the event itself, so make an adventure out of hunting it down!
3. Herbal Prawn
Served with broth infused with traditional Chinese herbs such as solomonseal rhizome and wolfberry, this herbal prawn dish certainly reminds us fondly of homecooked comfort food. Eat this on its own or pair it with any of the rice dishes sold along the Food Street, like the Kiam Png (Hokkien Style Cabbage Rice) or the Braised Duck Rice, to complete your meal.
4. Hokkien Tapioca Noodles
Also known as Cha Gay Ah, this mouth-watering savoury dish comprises a wholesome range of ingredients from noodles kneaded from tapioca flour to dried shrimps, dark soy sauce and vegetables. These tapioca noodles are thicker than regular kway teow noodles, which means that they absorb more flavour during the cooking process. Its chewiness gives the entire dish an interesting texture and when paired with the slight spice, the Cha Gay Ah will whet your appetite for more.
5. Ai Yu Jelly
Round up your meal with a refreshingly cold bowl of Ou Yo (Hokkien for “Ai Yu”), served with a topping of lime juice. Ou Yo is a jelly made of pectin extracted from the Ai Yu fruit and is often added to bubble teas or made into a dessert of its own as in this dish. This classic kopitiam dessert is really the best thing to share with family and friends on a hot, sunny afternoon.
The Fifty Cents Fest will take place along Chinatown Food Street from 11am to 11pm, 27 – 28 July 2019. The event is family-friendly and admission is free. You have the option to go cashless using OCBC Pay Anyone at the Fifty Cents Fest, a convenient mode of payment via QR code. If you’re lucky enough to be one of the first 10,000 OCBC Pay Anyone users, you will be able to redeem coupons for SGD1 off at the event!