At that time, Tiong Bahru market is half attap structure selling raw merchandise like meat, fish and vegetable while the other "newer" half selling hawker food. I was told the newer half was build after a fire broke out that burn that half to ground. Not sure.
While the morning, market sells all kinds of raw material that housewife bought the daily necessities and at night, the hawker half are busy with people have their local favorites. One of them is Tiong Bahru Bao.
I simply love them. 3 items that's top of my list. Char Siew Bao, Deep Fried Popiah and Deep Fried Egg Meat balls. These 3 items I've being eating them since the original stall exist in Tiong Bahru market. The old uncle together with his helpers (sons and daughter?) would be busy making, steaming, frying till late in the night and people would just queue up. The queue always seems endless.
I remembered the taste. Their Char Siew Bao is totally different from those you'll get in coffee shop. The filling meat are tasty and sweet savory. The white skin is fluffy and sweet while eaten warm. The Popiah is the only one I ever tasted with meat inside the filling, the rich taste that I always remember. The Deep Fried Egg meat balls are actually half a hard boil egg with minced meat smeared to make a whole egg shape ball and coat with a sticky watery dough before deep fried. I believe it's call Dragon Pheonix Egg.
As years goes by, Tiong Bahru Bao had move and expand with more and more stalls around the island. Of cause the price increase over the years. Just this morning I bought 2 char Siew bao and popiah for lunch and found the chat Siew but shrinks while the popiah skin layer had increase multiple fold. I wonder where it would go to one day. Would it still be the same sweet savory local favorites that I used to live in my childhood?