Not easy to spend a Sunday morning in a long queue at hot, steamy, ever-crowded Tiong Bahru food centre - but am breakfasting with a vegetarian aunt, so I’ve decided to turn Zen for the day.
- Ru Yi is fantastically popular, and average waiting time in the queue is 30-45 minutes, something which is acceptable to otherwise impatient Singaporeans - we’d do anything for good food
- The standard breakfast plate offered by Ru Yi: fried rice vermicelli (“bee hoon”) with fried layered tofu skin and gluten (ever heard of “mock duck” and “mock char-siew BBQ pork”?), stir-fried French beans and mushrooms, with pickled green chillis. I thought the whole ensemble tasted pretty bland compared to the real meat version it’s trying to masquerade as - but my vegetarian, Buddhist aunt declared it “absolutely delicious”.
- Pan-fried “soon kway” (jicama-filled steamed rice cake) and “kuchye kway” (chives-filled steamed rice cake), drizzled with molasses and spicy chilli paste. Not the best in town, but tasted inestimably better than the vegetarian platter from Ru Yi
- The quintessential Singaporean beverages for us locals: “kopi-C” (local coffee with evaporated milk) and “teh-C” (local tea with evaporated milk). We made sure that our drink order is “siu tai” - Singapore-Hainanese-speak for “less sugar”.
Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre
30 Seng Poh Road
Operating hours: 7am till 3pm (unless sold out earlier) daily