CLOSED. Arrived a little too early at Haig Road Hawker Centre for a makan session. Meanwhile, tummy needed to be kept entertained before the main event. I recalled that KF Seetoh of Makansutra wrote about Original Recipe Prawn Vadai stall a few days before. I have always loved vadai as a tasty snack with teh tarik, so it once again came to my rescue.
$1 each, each vadai comes with a good size prawn with shell and head intact (bigger than my pinkie). The vadai has a hole in the middle like a doughnut. It is freshly deep fried till crisp and reddish brown outside.
This form of "Singapore vadai" first appeared around Farrer Park in the 1950s. Haig Best Briyani & Kebabs stall owner Stephen Suriyah's mum Madam Jamuna Rani (Auntie Rani) started selling her own version of "Singapore vadai" at pasar malam stalls in the 1990s. It was a big hit at the night markets and has a loyal following. Just this month, Stephen opened his stall at Haig Road hawker centre serving his mum's Original Recipe Prawn Vadai as well as briyani & kebabs. (Source: Makansutra.)
I bought one to try (remembering Warren Buffett's sagely advice "Never test water with both feet.")
The freshly deep fried vadai felt rather greasy even when hot. But, I love the texture - it was gently crisp outside while the inside was spongy, puffy and airy with air pockets (unlike most vadai which are quite dense inside).
The light fluffy spongy dough was savoury with subtle spice flavour, and sweetness from the prawn. The prawn was fried till crisp outside but the stiff shell kept the meat moist and juicy. I ate the crispy prawn whole with head and shell.
The raw green chili pepper provided fleeting sharp spicy heat and juicy crunch to complement the spongy airy vadai.
One was good, so two is better. My tummy was more than happy. The best vadai that I've had so far.
Restaurant name: Haig Best Briyani & Kebabs
Address: Haig Road Market and Cooked Food Centre, Stall #01-04, 14 Haig Road, Singapore 430014
GPS: 1.315481, 103.895131
Hours: 8:00am to 9:00pm
Date visited: 23 Aug 2019