Updated in 2021!
Now that I am a Clementite, or Clementian, or whatever you want to call it, I’m discovering more and more of this little district and it’s quirks.
First of all, be warned that the traffic here is, frankly, a living nightmare. God help us if we try to return home during the peak hours. The crazy, impatient, fuel guzzling rojak of bus drivers and motorists, narrow roads, slow traffic lights and large flood of pedestrians are enough to raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Finding parking here can also be considered an Olympic sport. If you can find and squeeze in a lot, you should get a medal.
Most of the food reviewed below are in busy, crowded hawker centers so I recommend parking at nearby HDB blocks instead of those right at the central. If you are walking or taking public transport, good for you! This town is made for heartlanders.
So, where’s all the good food at?
Blk 448 Clementi Ave 3 aka Clementi Food Market
Fried Carrot Cake #01-45
This literal sounding food stall sells the best carrot cake ever. Come at around 9am and be prepared to queue over 30 mins so get up early for this! I like the white version as the black style was a little too sweet. The white carrot cake was just salty enough with fragrant preserved radish (cai pu) and super eggy. I mean, the egg-to-cake proportion is probably 50:50. Although the owners aren’t very creative when it comes to names, the food is wonderful!
Nam Kee Fried Prawn Noodles #01-12
Can anyone say umami? The sauce is to die for! It is thick, sticks to the noodles, and full of prawn flavour. They didn’t go easy on the fried pork lard either. It was close to perfection but I found that there’s just a little too much yellow egg noodles which leaves a lardy alkaline flavour on your tongue and the white beehoon noodles are a little overdone and loses its Q-ness (springiness).
Sesame Oil Chicken and Herbal Mutton #01-08
You can rarely find dishes like sesame oil chicken served in a hawker center, it is usually something you can order in a restaurant or Zi Char. Sesame Oil chicken here is so delicious and homely at the same time. Every bite is filled with a thick sesame oil fragrance but not overwhelming. That’s what I love about eating at hawker centers because you don’t get too many “mass-produced” food chains.
Blk 443 Clementi Ave 3
A little ways away from the centre but still essential to us as it opens for 24 hours. It may be small but it serves up a huge variety of food like Chinese Mala Xiang Guo, economic rice and soups, Indian prata, western style chicken chop, and Hong Kong roasts. However, a little snack here available from 5am – around 12pm is what I would highly recommend. It is their deliciously soft and chewy tapioca cake and you can buy that from the drinks stall.
Blk 308 Clementi Ave 4
Collin’s Grill and Bento
Collin’s ribs are probably the best you can get in town and we are lucky to have a branch conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from our place. As you can also see, the portion is also huge (we ordered the half ribs set) and it was enough for two of us.
Blk 352 Clementi Ave 2
Chef Wai Chee Cheong Fun
Such a humble dish but freshly made Chee Cheong Fun is really hard to come by. It is almost therapeutic to watch them pour and steam, roll, wrap and cut the white silky product that is Chee Cheong Fun. And Chef Wai’s is pretty much at the top! They do not scrimp on the prawns or char siew but the flavour I highly recommend is the Mushroom. Avoid peak hours like breakfast, lunch and dinner because the queue and wait gets very long.
Hoy Yong Seafood (Tze Char)
Well, there is comfort food tze char and then there is way good tze char! Hoy Yong falls in the whatareyouwaitingfor category. Undeterred by the long wait times admonished by Yelpers and even the restaurant staff, we still braved the 30 minutes wait for our Wat Tan Hor aka Egg Hor Fun. Needless to say, it was delicious. Be warned though, the 30 minutes wait can easily be a 60 minutes wait on a weekend, so don’t be too hungry if you decide to come here.
Blk 449 Clementi Ave 3
Tan’s Tu Tu Coconut Cake
Tu tu kueh transcends time and we all love it. We would indulge in some every now and then, about twice a week actually. I highly recommend the peanut and chocolate flavours!
Thaksin Beef Noodle
I assume it has no relations with the failed Thai PM but this beef noodle is ballsome! Unlike the chinese version, the stock is clear tastes a lot like indonesian bakso or vietnamese pho.
It has only been a few months and we have discovered so much food already. Who knows what the next few months will bring! If you have places in Clementi that I absolutely must try, do leave your comment below.
You can view all these places to eat and more on the Food Map.