Singapore’s Secret Soup – The CEO Version

Posted on January 6, 2011


Fried fish bee hoon

Singapore’s sweaty stickiness is somehow soup weather. It’s a strange phenomenon, especially for those who consider soup the antidote for cold dark northern winters.

China Square Fried Fish Meat Soup

But when you’re hungry, thirsty and hot, soup can solve two of the three problems. Air-conditioning can solve the third. And so this CEO-approved version of Singapore’s Secret Soup is a winner on three fronts.

In my first few months in Singapore I discovered the CEO’s Hawker Guide, which lists the favourite street food of Singapore’s top executives. Eureka! I decided to eat everything in the guide. But as I scrolled through the 99-page document I changed my mind. There were just some things there I didn’t want to eat. Frog porridge for one.

So I decided to find the places closest to my office and work out from there, like a Pacman-like ripple in a pond. Sadly, the mission has fizzled out. But the first place I tried is a winner. I keep going back, especially on really hot days when I can’t face the 10-minute walk down to the open-air Maxwell Centre for the original Singapore Secret Soup, aka Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon.

Like the best street food, China Square Fried Fish Soup is prepared right in front of you. Even though you’re in the (blissfully cool) basement shopping area of the Tanjong Pagar MRT (or train) station, it’s still the traditional cooked-to-order hawker fare. The cook dumps a pre-measured serve of fried fish pieces into his pot, throws in some lettuce leaves, a pink pickley thing, a fried fish fin for extra flavour, a spoonful of fried shallots and within a few moments a steaming bowl of soup is before you.

fried fish meat soup

My CEO street food guide tells me this stall invented the concept of adding shredded omelette to the soup. Without my trusty guide book I would never have guessed what the strange stringy brown lump in the soup was. The omelette doesn’t look very tasty but it is! A serve of this slurpalicious soup will get you ready for more sweaty adventures in steamy Singapore. And if your legs are sore, I recommend a post-soup visit to the nearby Thai Quick Massage place. (Tanjong Pagar Xchange, 120 Maxwell Rd, #B1-19, near the ATM machines)

China Square Fried Fish Soup
120 Maxwell Rd
#B1-28/48 Tajnong Pagar Xchange
Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday

(Details are on page 79 of the CEO Hawker’s Guide)