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Nicholas Lee's makan go-to's include munchi - or what his grandma calls "min jiang kueh for youngsters" (left) - and toothsome Indonesian fare. Photos (from left): Instagram/@muchidelights, @cobasg

What I Eat In My Hood: Yishun Resident Shares His Faves

“Please lah, Yishun is not a scary place, ok?” says the hilarious Nicholas Lee, a part-time student who has lived in the area for most of his life. “The scariest thing about Yishun is how long it takes to get here.”

The 23-year-old says there are plenty of old-school eats worth making the trek for, and he patronises them often thanks to his grandmother, whom he shares a home with. The doting grandson is always happy to buy her favourite hawker foods.

“Sadly, most of the better, younger cafes haven’t survived Yishun. A lot of them have closed down in the last few years,” he said. “Maybe it’s Covid; maybe it’s just Yishun.”

Munchi Delights

Location: 51 Yishun Avenue 11, #01-43 Yishun Park Hawker Centre

“My grandmother calls this ‘min jiang kueh for youngsters’. And I guess it’s true, lah. She says, ‘Since when min jiang kueh got so many colours one?” Which is quite funny, ’cos to her, min jiang kueh should be just brown and… well, brown. There are options like charcoal with coconut filling, and matcha with red bean filling, hence the different colours. I like these ’cos they are thick and fluffy, with a nice crispy crust. They also pack a lot of filling, which oozes out when you bite into it or press too hard. Great for Instagram and for tea, but my Ah Ma’s review is, ‘Aiyo, so sweet!’”

Yishun 928 Laksa

Location: Blk 928 Yishun Central 1, #01-155

“Katong isn’t the only place that has laksa, you know? Yishun has 928 Laksa and confirmed cheaper than Katong also. The small bowl costs $2.80 only. This Yishun laksa has a lot of ingredients: tau pok, tau geh, egg, crab sticks, cockles, fish cake… Katong got so many or not? No, right? Hahaha. Ok, it know it’s a different type of laksa, but this is damn shiok. You can tell from how long the queue usually is.”

Hup Lee Fried Bee Hoon

Location: Blk 101 Yishun Ave 5, #01-03

“This is how you level up your morning bee hoon. If you didn’t know, you would think this is a nasi lemak stall, cos there are so many fried things that you can order with your noodles. Sausages, luncheon meat, egg, otak otak, chicken… Okay, the fried chicken here is damn good. It’s still my grandmother’s favourite… and I know because she will sit and eat at least two, quietly chewing on the little bones until they are wiped clean. When I offer her other fried foods, she will decline and say something about cholesterol and fat. This fried chicken? No sound, she just eats.”

Coba Coba Café

Location: Blk 156 Yishun Street 11, #01-06

“I like the Malay and Indonesian dishes at this café. The tahu telur is only $5, which is damn worth it ’cos the tahu is tall and puffy and capped with a lot of shredded cucumber and carrots. And there’s enough gravy to eat the tahu with twice. When my girlfriend says she wants to eat vegetarian ’cos maybe she ate too much meat the week before, I will suggest we come here. Tahu telur is vegetarian what, right? Besides the usual nasi padang dishes like chicken curry, there are some rare things like Botok Botok (spiced fish wrapped in a banana leaf parcel) and ayam tauchio hijau (chicken with green chilli taucheo sauce) that can impress my friends who complain about coming all the way to Yishun to eat.”

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