Saturday, February 17, 2007
Old Adam Road Hawker Centre
In my earlier post about the A&W Restaurant in Dunearn Road, I put up a sketch of the vicinity. My friend Peter pointed out that there was a mistake in the sketch. and that the old Adam Road Hawker Centre was on the same side as the present location. I checked with my friend Chuck and my younger brother James, and they both agreed with Peter. I began to have some doubts.
But then recently I received a comment from another reader who insisted my sketch was correct. This is what he wrote:
“I am very, very sure that the location of the Adam Road Hawker Centre is as it is in the sketch, at least in 1970 & 1971. After all, I had chicken rice and chendol every Sunday with my dad there for lunch after badminton practice. We would take a "Green Bus" to the hawker centre from Swiss Cottage Pri, had lunch and then I think No.7 "Tay Koh Yat" bus back home to Margaret Drive, Queenstown. I believe initially, a flyover was built so the hawker centre being on the canal side was relocated. Later the flyover was knocked down and an underpass (today situation) was constructed with a new flyover now linking Adam Road.”
That jolted my memory and so I want to 're-blog' about this place.
My first memories of the Adam Road Hawker Centre were in early 1971. (I think I probably learned of this place from my 2 years in nearby NJC in 69/70). Anyway, at that time I was doing my national service in SAFTI. When I booked out from camp on Saturday afternoons, I would occasionally stop over there for some nice, cool ice kacang. I probably had to change a bus there to return to my kampong home in Lorong Chuan. After 1 week of Safti cookhouse food, and losing buckets of sweat for “duty, honour, country”, the ice kacang of Adam Road Hawker Centre was heavenly. And I remember the place was beside the canal. I believe it was relocated to the other side of the road in 1974. I did a search in the picture archives of National Archives of Singapore and found several photos of Mr E. W. Barker, our former Law minister opening the ‘new’ food centre at the junction of Adam Road and Dunearn Road. The year was 1974.
In the early 80’s an old friend of me and my brothers, Chuck Hio, often came to our house at Farrer Rd to play mahjong in the weekends. After midnight we used to adjourn to this Hawker Centre to enjoy a night snack, including Chuck’s favorite – tulang (cow bone marrow). He taught us the special technique of how to ‘knock’ the tulang out of the bone by holding it with the left hand, and gently banging the wrist with your right hand. At that time, we had a downstairs neighbour who operated a stall here selling fruit juices.
In 2001, it was closed temporarily for upgrading under the Hawker Centres Upgrading programme and was reopened in 2002.
Since I am on this subject, I would like to add some additional information for the benefit of the young people.
1) Did you know that the original flyover at this busy junction ran perpendicular to the present Adam Road flyover? And this one I am very sure because after I moved out of our kampong, I stayed in Farrer Road for 12 years from 1974 to 1986. Initially the flyover was built to facilitate the flow of traffic along Dunean Road and Bukit Timah Road. Later this flyover was demolished (probably in the 90’s) and replaced by the present underpass. I drove past this place very frequently - and still do, and when I saw the demolition works, I thought to myself, what a waste to demolish such a new flyover. Subsequently, a new flyover was built joining Adam Road to Farrer Road.
2) Also did you know that Cluny Road used to run all the way from the entrance of the Botanic Gardens to Bukit Timah Road? Anyone who had driven here must remember the very sharp bend near the rear entrance of BG. But recently, with the extension of BG to Bt Timah, Cluny Rd was truncated and so they renamed the Bt Timah section, Cluny Park Road, and joined it to Tyersall Avenue.
3) One last bit of information. There used to be a Post Office just opposite the Serene Centre along Farrer Road. Next to it was a Mobil petrol station that I frequented. Both have been replaced by the Lutheran Towers. Incidentally, I think Lutheran Towers was originally built for the executives of HDB.
(The 2 black and white photos above are from the National Archives of Singapore.)