Back when I was in college, I used to go running along East Coast Park every other day after school. And every time I ran past the scintillating smells wafting out of East Coast Lagoon Food Village, I'd always promise myself to return for a meal of barbecued seafood and satay (while cursing and swearing about the "hard life" of a fitness junkie. Those delicious smells were awfully tempting!). But, of course, that never happened. And then I graduated from college and life kind of got in the way.
As luck would have it, we were recently in the east side, and decided to pop over for dinner. Chups and I had just finished up late at the legal clinic, as part of our pro bono initiative, and were famished. The Hubs and an intern, who'd tagged along with us, joined in for dinner as well.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village is like the better-looking, brainier cousin of Newton Hawker Centre. It's designed like Newton Hawker, so it's got a similar layout, the food stalls serve similar variety of food, and it's just about as touristy as Newton. But, the difference is that this sprawling open-air hawker centre actually serves up good food. As long as you stick to the ones with the long queues, or the ones plastered with writeups and endorsements. Which, there are a lot of. The picturesque seaside locale is great for walking off that calorific meal after. And, on a good breezy day, you can actually dine leisurely without breaking a sweat.
We hit up Meng Kee Satay Bee Hoon first, one of the must-trys here. You cannot miss it, as there's a perpetually long queue in front of it. The Hubs and I shared a large plate of their namesake, the Satay Bee Hoon ($6). Fresh cuttlefish and prawns, tender pork slices and spongy beancurd, crunchy kangkong and beansprouts all poached to perfection, laid upon a bed of rice vermicelli and doused in a heavenly creamy peanut sauce. The sweetness of the peanut essence is deceptively spicy though, we found ourselves sniffling after a mouthful.
No visit to East Coast Lagoon is complete without sampling their barbecued seafood, and we ordered a couple of dishes from East Coast BBQ Seafood, along the same stretch as the satay bee hoon and a couple of stalls down from the famous Leng Kee Beef Kway Teow. We had the Sambal Sotong ($10), super fresh and cooked just right to achieve that springy but soft texture. The spicy sambal was heavily sugared but it somehow accentuated the natural sweetness of the squid rings.
The Sambal Kangkong ($8) was lightly fried, so it retained a nice crunch. The sauce here was a little more savoury, with a dash of soy and oyster sauce added to the sambal. We liked it. It was quite scrumptious.
Meng Kee Satay Bee Hoon
Open Wednesdays to Mondays from 6pm to 11.30pm
East Coast BBQ Seafood
East Coast Lagoon Food Village
1220 East Coast Parkway