Friday, January 22, 2016

#DiningWithTech @ Ci Yuan Hawker Centre

Rejoice over the opening of Ci Yuan Hawker Centre in the North-East Area! You have no idea how I missed hawker food especially so after I moved to Sengkang five years ago! You can never compare the quality of hawker food and price to those in food court or chain stalls. I am still hoping that they will just build a hawker centre on the empty plot of field just steps away from my block !

Ci Yuan Hawker Centre is co-located with Ci Yuan Community Club and is managed by Fei Siong Food Management. Be spoilt for choices with 40 cooked food stalls and over 600 seats to accommodate to large crowds.

The ventilation in Ci Yuan Hawker Centre was pretty good ! Built with a high ceiling and gigantic fan hung right in the middle,  providing the space with a good flow of air and not forgetting child-friendly tables and seats. I love the family friendly concept, the blue table are meant for the little ones and there are handicapped friendly tables available too.

As for the cleanliness, I observed that the floor within the hawker centre well maintained ! So far from both visits, I did not see any wet or greasy flooring which most hawker centres have. Greasy flooring can be a potential hazard to both stall owners and patrons, especially the young children and the elderly who could easily lose their footing. Tables were also cleaned and cleared most of the time.

Not just the above, I knew that some fast-food chains like MacDonald's, are now having self ordering kiosks. Personally, I find that it really helps to reduce waiting time if we can order it by ourselves instead of joining the snaking queue.

What makes the difference besides the variety of delectable fare, was the implementation of technology, in this case was the digital service of the Self Payment Kiosk in Ci Yuan Hawker Centre. It's really user friendly, even the older generation can use the kiosk with ease. What great innovation !

What you need to do is, place your order with the stall owner and simply just slot the cash or coins to make payment. I told Xav that this is one very clever machine as it can return you the exact change ! Just collect them from the tray for the coins and notes from the slot.

Personally, I feel that the dining experience is made much more pleasant with the present innovation in place. Expect the following:

- Better hygiene
With the Self Payment Kiosks, hawkers have minimal contact with the notes and coins. From hand to hand, I always tell the kids that money are actually filled with germs. Especially to the hawkers who are handling food, this is a good initiative for a better hygiene.

- Better service, time saving
If a stall has more than one staff, ordering can be done with one and while the other concentrates on cooking. In terms of efficiency, the waiting time is reduced. Formerly, hawker needs to juggle with cooking, packing and handling money if they are short-handed.

- Cleaner notes and coins
Before the implementation of the automated machines, the change I got from the vendors would either be oily or wet because they usually wont dry their hands before handling the notes. Imagine the oily and wet notes going into our wallet, not very hygienic too I would say. The wallet is going to stink after sometime.

- Reduced errors
Given the wrong change or probably receiving coins or notes of other currencies unknowingly can be a pretty common scene. With the automated machine, I believed these occurrences will be greatly reduced or to even none.

Of course, I took the opportunity to ask which stalls are more popular. I went back for a second visit with my family. Here I share some stalls / dishes you might want to try during your visit. To note that I did not have the chance to try every stalls which were recommended.

The oyster omelette and fried carrot cake was from a stall next to a Hainanese Chicken Rice Stall. I forgot to take a picture of the stall.

Oyster Omelette

Fried Carrot Cake

Zhen Hao Noodles, #01-13

Hainanese Curry Rice #01-28

Fatty Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodle / Carrot Cake, #01- 16

Teochew Fish Soup, Fish Porridge,  #01-15

If you are a kway chap lover, you must not miss this, To-Ricos ! This stall was being featured in both newspaper and tv before. The first outlet is located at 51 Old Airpoort Road and this is their second at Ci Yuan Hawker Centre.

To-Ricos Guo Shi, #01-30

The pork belly was soft and tender, those pig intestines were springy! One of my favourites ! Now I do not need to travel all the way to Old Airport Road ! I shared this with Soon Koon, costs about $11 for the platter below with two bowls of kways.

If you love Tzhi Char, give Hong Kong Chef's Kitchen a try. A friend of mine did gave positive feedback for their dishes.

Hong Kong Chef's Kitchen, #01- 24

Lalas and Bbq stingray were among the many dishes we ordered. Don said there was nothing to shout for but I personally likes the unique taste of the sambal that was on the stingray. It has balanced combination of sweetness and spiciness. $24 dollars for both dishes.


BBQ Stingray

Mei Xi's Kitchen (Yong Tau Hu), #01-17

This stall is managed by the Boss of Ristorante Da Valention at Bukit Timah, and with his team serving western and Italian fare. The portion from Pasta Stop is value for money. I forgot if it's the fish and chips that Claudia ordered but that portion was so much bigger that what I usually eat in a restaurant and it costs less than $10! Xav tried the chicken pasta($7.50) which is one of the signature dish. In my opinion, the creamy tomato sauce was pretty unique !

Pasta Stop, #01-27

My little foodie lover could not resist the satay! Both Don and I loved the satay sauce! To add on, they sell pork satay too ! I will be back for more ! If you do plan a trip there, do share with me what else are nice too !

Leo Satay, 301-31

Ci Yuan Hawker Centre
51 Hougang Avenue 9
Singapore 530917

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Disclaimer: I was invited for a food tasting and Tech review. No monetary compensation is involved and all opinions are of mine.

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