I seldom shop at the local wet market, as I normally try to maximise my time by doing my groceries at Bukit Timah Plaza, whilst Little E attends ballet school.
I remember wet markets to be dingy and cramped, crawling with flies, every inch of it covered in styrofoam boxes and crates, with a suspiciously sticky floor hidden under a layer of slime, stinking of fish and rotting meat.
However, the Aged P loves visiting Commonwealth Crescent Market when she can because it is one of the tidiest and cleanest wet markets around, providing the freshest produce at rock-bottom prices. Each stallowner takes such pride in maintaining their little areas, the market can hardly be described as ‘wet’ for the floor is spotlessly dry, and it is bright and well-ventilated. Additionally, it has a decent little hawker centre located on the second level of the market.
There’s always plenty of available parking as well, as the little market’s main customer base comes from the surrounding HDB flats, so most of the regulars just stroll right in!
I managed to persuade the Aged P to take me on a little tour of Commonwealth Crescent Market and give me the scoop on her favourite stalls! Here’s a short summary of our visit:
The Aged Ps favourite vegetable seller and poultry vendor are located on the ground floor of the market. Both of them do not even have signage proclaiming their name to all and sundry – they let their wares speak for themselves.
The vegetable stall takes up one entire row, being a longstanding family business run by a lady, her son and her brother-in-law. What makes this vegetable seller stand out is the fact that they really take pride in their wares, carefully removing all the soil and dirt from each one before arranging them for display. They also try to prepackage some of their vegetables for the convenience of their customers, trying their best to choose only unblemished vegetables to place inside each package so that you can be sure that you are getting the best picks of the day. On top of this, they will always offer you a sprig or two of fresh spring onions or coriander free of charge!
You will never see any of three vendors standing idle in their shop. They will be helping customers with patience and good-humour, or if there are no customers to serve, they will be busy selecting vegetables and dressing them for display or for packaging.
The Aged P’s favourite is the bespectacled brother-in-law, who is not only fun to banter with but will also turn on his radio and sing along to the chinese pop songs as he works. He knows his produce very well and is able to make good recommendations (as well as cooking and preparation tips!). Sometimes, if the produce seems to be not up to his standard, he might advise you to come back another day for it (but of course if you insist, he will let you purchase it).
Aged P recommends: Get your fresh local greens here and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from the vendors – they are very amicable. They will also very kindly help you to carry your bags to your car if you ask for assistance!
The poultry vendor is always threatening to retire and sometimes she goes on holiday so you do not always see her in the market, but when you do, she is good natured and cheerful.
The Aged P likes to patronise her shop because she will dress the fresh chicken to your requirements, deboning them or removing the skin. She also uses a electric saw to cut the meat into pieces, which means that the chicken pieces are cut cleanly with no shattered bones or shards, making them very suitable for curries or stews (and safe for little children to eat!)
The Aged P recommends: She stocks all sorts of chicken – free range (‘kampung’) chicken, sakura chicken, black chicken, spring chickens, large roasters, so just tell her what you intend to use the chicken for and let her choose and prepare a good one for you!
Whilst the poultry vendor was busy preparing our order, we headed up the escalators to the food court to get some breakfast.
The Aged P says that most of the hawkers in the Commonwealth Crescent Market food court price their food slightly lower than elsewhere. It is pleasantly breezy in the food court which is very nice, because I’m carrying Thumper in a sling and starting to get a little bit sweaty.
For brunch, I opted for a small bowl of wanton mee from Hao Hao Noodle House.
The noodles have a good bite to them, and the wantons are tender and meaty. The soup is tasty and without a hint of MSG. YUM!
The Aged P normally likes to order a bowl of century egg porridge which makes for a great light breakfast, but unfortunately, the hawker wandered off for a toilet break, so she went for a plate of chee cheong fun from Kim Traditional Kitchen instead.
The Aged P tasted the chee cheong fun and declared it OK. The sauce is freshly made every morning, so it doesn’t taste of preservatives, and the portions are very generous!
We also had a nice warm mug of soya bean milk each – not too sweet, which is just the way I like it. For 60 cents, it’s a real bargain!
The Aged P pointed out the stall where she usually gets her century egg porridge fix as well as the pohpiah skin vendor. The pohpiah skin is very cheap and of decent quality, although mum says it is not as fine as the famous pohpiah skin from Joo Chiat, it is half the price and the stall is just so much more convenient for those located in the west and central district!
Big thanks to the Aged P for long-sufferingly bringing me around her favourite stalls and chatting up all the vendors for the photos!
Tomorrow’s post will be by Lyn Lee from Lil Blue Bottle who will be taking us to the Bedok North Street 4 Market!
Lyn is a mum of two delightful girls, based in Singapore (although she has also lived in the UK and the US for a few years). Her blog is called Lil Blue Bottle because it stores her letters in a little bottle, bobbing around in the sea of the World Wide Web.
She also happens to be one of my dearest friends and one of the most sensible, thoughtful and insightful people you could ever hope to meet, so you should definitely hop on over to her blog for some great reads!