Kway Teow Soup at Restoran Xing Ho, Gelang Patah

Singapore has a lot of good food. Our noodles are world famous and everybody loves a good bowl of bak kut teh. But I think the hawker food in Singapore doesn’t even come close to what is available in Malaysia where not only is it cheap, but the hawkers think nothing of throwing in all sort of ingredients. Just compare our bak kut teh with the Malaysian version. Or our minced meat/fishball noodles with this version:

This bowl of kway teow soup comes with generous amount of pork liver, stomach, meat ball, fish cake, prawn, sotong, minced and sliced pork. I don’t think there is anything comparable here in Singapore. And this cost just RM8. There is a smaller serving at RM6 although it certainly isn’t actually small. It is still a pretty solid portion. There is also a seafood version which comes with a slice of abalone and some small oysters!

This kway teow soup is popular with the locals in Gelang Patah, Johore Malaysia and is located in a coffeeshop Restaurant Xing Ho, at 24, Jalan Medan Nusa Perintis 8, Taman Nusa Pertinis 2, 81550, Gelang Patah, .

Some of us Singaporean will baulk at the way they do the cooking. An open stall next to the road and very messy.

I think if this is in Singapore, it won’t even get a D from NEA. But since this is Malaysia, who cares about the grade. Got good food just whack. And that what this little stall have.

Cheap and Good – Foon’s Thai Wanton Mee

One of the hottest food fad in Singapore is Thai Boat Mee. Apart from the famous Soi 19 Wanton Mee, there are now many noodle bar/cafe/restaurant selling Thai Boat Noodle at atas prices. Which seem so ridiculous considering that the original Thai noodles are street food meant to be cheap and good.

Fortunately, tucked in an obscure corner of Old Airport Food Centre, there is a little stall that is sticking faithfully to its origin and selling cheap Thai Wanton Mee at a mere $4 per bowl.

The noodle is dished out by a Thai lady. Not too sure whether Foon is her name though. And unlike all the other atas places, she only sells Wanton Mee. There is a sign that said they also sell Ice Blended Coconut although the few times I went, I have not been able to get that as it is always unavailable. 

Back to the Wanton Mee. I ate there a few times. Tapao a few times. And it taste great either way.

It not a very big portion but you can upsize up to $6.00 and apparently they have it in dry or soup version. Never tried the latter though. To me wanton mee has to be eaten dried. And with chilli. And their chilli is one of the best around. The stall opens about 9 am and most time it sells out by the early afternoon. Do I need to say more about it?

KinMoo The Thai Noodle House

I like my Thai Wanton Mee. Unfortunately I don’t go Thailand often enough to eat those there. But luckily there are a number of outlets now in Singapore like the super long queue impersonator Soi 19 at Ang Mo Kio and my favourite little stall at Old Airport Road. Most of them are sited in either a food centre or a coffeeshop and with the long queue, waiting for the noodles is a very hot tiring affair.

So I am happy that there is now a little cafe right smack in the middle of town that serves Thai Boat noodles including the Wanton Mee. And of course the place is air conditioned! Welcome to KinMoo, the smallest little eatery I seen with just a handful of tables. But what it lacks in tables, it make up for in a full size menu. But I was there for the wanton mee only so that what I ordered:

At $7.50 a bowl it is not exactly cheap but hey, for the air con, it is worth it! And it comes with 3 dumpling, 3 slices of finely cut char siew, half an egg and lots of pork lard! M ordered their Tom Yum Noodles

and we also had the Tom Yum soup.

I swear this has got to be one of the best wanton mee I ever tasted. M loves her Tom Yum noodle too. My only complain – not enough. I can easily polish off 1 more bowl – maybe their signature BaaMee Haeng Cha Kang Rao. Next trip then!

Hill Street Char Kway Teow vs Hill Street Char Kway Teow

Most of us who loves Char Kway Teow will know about Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Bedok South. But how many know that there is another Hill Char Kway Teow in the Smith Street Food Centre in Chinatown?

And unlike my previous piece on copycat stalls cashing in on a famous name, the latter is not a copy cat. In fact, it is as original as the Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Bedok South (HSCKT@BS). Both stalls originated from the old Hill Street Food Centre which is now a vacant plot of land between the Hill Street Fire Station and the MICA building. In those days, there were 2 char kway teow stall there. One facing the road next to the famous Sng Buay drink stall and the other tucked away on the inside. I don’t know which is which now but only that both serves great char kway teow.

HSCKT@BS is now helmed by the son and another lady (presumably the wife) but Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Chinatown (HSCKT@CT) is still helmed by the original stall owner. This is a simple comparison of both.

HSCKT@CT. Short queue even during weekday lunch time. The stall is neat and simple with a display of some giant cockles. Unfortunately they were just for display only and not for adding to the CKT. Each plate cost $3 – $4. CKT is fried individually. This is the drier version but is still full of wok hei.

HSCKT@BS. Perpetually long queue. The lady can be fierce and downright rude at times. Fortunately the son has managed to inherit the father’s cooking skill and the CKT is still as robust and good. It is slightly wet and oily the way I like it.

Hill Street CKT

Question is which is the best? Personally I still like HSCKT@BS. But if in the Chinatown area and hungry for a bit, I will rather have HSCKT@CT rather than join the queue at Hong Lim for the Outram Park Char Kway Teow.

Imitation is the best form of Flattery – Soi 19 Thai Wanton Mee

There is this place in Bangkok where there is a famous wanton mee outlet. The place as I understand it, is jam packed with tourists and locals. It sells Thai style wanton mee and some other side dishes like pork knuckle, fried wanton and vegetables. The stall name is SabX2 Pratunam Wanton Noodles and it is at Soi Petchburi 19 in Pratunam Bangkok.

Over in Ang Mo Kio in a tiny HDB coffeeshop, there is a stall which sells a mean wanton mee. The queue is so long I swear I almost faint from hunger the one time I was there. This stall sells a version of a Thai style wanton mee and some other side dishes like pork knuckle, fried wanton and vegetables. The stall name is SOI 19 Wanton Mee.

So we have 1 stall at Soi Petchburi 19 and one stall named Soi 19 in 2 different countries. Coincidence or a case of passing off? When I first heard about this stall in Ang Mo Kio, I thought maybe the Thai owner had some sort of franchise and opened up outlets in other countries. That was until a friend posted photos on her FB showing these signs all over the place at the Bangkok outlet.

So now we know this is a blatant case of passing off by name association. Just like there is only one famous prata stall in Jalan Kayu but there are many stalls elsewhere in Singapore proclaiming to be “Jalan Kayu” prata. Or Jalan Tua Kong fishball noodles. Or Katong Laksa. Trying to cash in on the reputation of another more famous stall by associating with its locality is something seen very often here. But these wannabes will soon be caught out if the food doesn’t live out to the standard of the more famous counterpart.

So back to Soi 19 in Ang Mo Kio. Because I have not tried the version in Bangkok, I cannot do a comparison. The group of us ordered these:

Thai Wanton Mee

Dumpling

Pork Trotters

Pork Intestines

But perhaps because we had to wait nearly an hour for it, we gulped down everything in double quick time. Was it good? My buddies didn’t really think it was that great. The only one among us who had tried the Bangkok’s stall also didn’t think very highly of this local copy. So perhaps it is more hype than substance and it was smart to cash in on the Thai’s “connection”.

Can someone who has tried both put a comment here and tell me which is better?

The Great Char Kway Teow Makanthon

In 2014, a group of us did a Prawn Noodle shootout or a makathon as we runners liked to call it. It comprise of us going all over Singapore within a day to sample the dish from different stalls. It took that long for me to digest the food but after  26 months, I am back with a Char Kway Teow shooutout/makathon!

Why Char Kway Teow (CKT)? For one, there is now a barrage of blog posts on the top CKT in Singapore and most importantly, next to Chicken Rice, CKT is probably the next most iconic food in Singapore.

CKT is generally considered a unhealthy food filled with deathly stuff like pork lard, cockles and infused with cholesterol inducting vegetable oil. So to avoid overloading our poor heart, we wisely decided to narrow down the list to 7 stalls to be consumed over ¾ of the day.

After much deliberation over Whatsapp, we narrowed down the list to these 7. Dropped from the list were the usual suspects like Outram Park, too long queue;  Zion Road, ate too often;  Heng Huat at Pasir Panjang –out of the way and Marine Parade, too wet. Also dropped were the halal version. What is CKT without pork lard?

Before I go on further, note that I am not going to talk about wok hei and all the mysterious mishy mashy terms about the dish that most food bloggers love to use in their review. Instead I will summarize the main things about the dish and the stall and our personal rating on a scale of 1 – 10 and I will leave it you guys to go down to the stall and try it and see whether you agree with our rating. J

First on the list and on our first stop – the ever popular Hill Street CKT at Bedok South. There is another Hill Street CKT at the Chinatown Food Street but these 2 are totally unrelated and not to be confused.

This is one CKT that I have eaten many times and like a lot. The old uncle has handled the wok over to his son and nowadays it is the son and a lady who does the frying just like this time when we went there.

We reached at around 11.05 am and they were not ready yet but there was already a small queue. After 10 minutes of waiting, we got our CKT. Standard has obviously dropped a fair bit now that someone else is doing the frying but it was still a great plate of CKT. All 3 of us like it a lot.

Hill Street CKT

Prices: $3.50 & $4.00 Generous portion. No option to have no taugey (bean sprout). Very small cockles.

Very fierce lady helper. Scold anyone who too slow to place order or have confusing orders. But shown her softer side when she ordered an elderly customer to sit down and she brought the plate over to him personally instead of making him queue up like us mere mortal.

Our score: 9:8:8 Total 25

From Bedok, we went to Old Airport Food Centre. There are 3 weil known 3 CKT stalls at Old Airport., Lao Fu Zhi; Lucky and Dong Ji. We skipped Lao Fu Zhi because all 3 of us agreed that the standard has dropped so much that it was no longer worthy of eating although by virtue of its past reputation, it still has a long queue. Lucky opens only in the evening and so we were left with Dong Ji which was the one we came here for.  Now this is one CKT that I had never tried before. My past 2 attempts there were unsuccessful-  both time sold out!

There wasn’t much of a queue even though it was already lunch time. It took us minutes to get our plates of CKT and when it came, we were very surprised. This isn’t the usual slightly wet, oily CKT. It was in fact quite dry and it does not have cockles! Instead it comes with a mid size prawn and for $4, one can get cuttlefish as well!

Dong Ji CKT

Prices: $3.00 & $4.00 No cockles but got prawn and cuttlefish. Very small portion.

Sold out pretty early.

Our score: 4.5; 5.5; 5 Total 15

Next stop a trip up North East to Sengkang, Anchorvale for another old stall, Armeniam Street CKT. Despite it being lunch time, there were no queue and we got our CKT in double quick time. This is another ckt that all 3 of us have not tried before despite it being one of the old names from days of old. The stall also sells hokkien mee and carrot cake which wasn’t very encouraging as I generally don’t think of multi-dish stalls of these nature.

However and surprisingly, our plate of CKT turned out better than expected. Maybe it because it has a lot of lards and it was spicy.

Armeniam St CKT

Prices: $3.00 & $4.00 Lots of lard. Very spicy even for default spicy level. Small cockles. Fairly decent portion. .

No queue probably due to its obscure location in Anchorvale.

Our score: 7; 7; 6 Total 20

Our next stop was Lai Heng at Shunfu but unfortunately the food centre was closed for cleaning when we reached so after some deliberation we went over to Ang Mo Kio Central. The stall is simply named Ang Mo Kio Fried Kway Teow.

I was glad to see that the chef was an old man. Usually that means experience and good food and we were not disappointed. This is one very traditional CKT. A bit on the wet side, oily and greasy in fact with lot of cockles and lard. Just the way I like it! But then in this age and time, this is really unhealthy, the type of cholesterol overload food that should be avoided.

AMK CKT

Price: $3 $3.50 Old style CKT oily and wet. Generous portion.

Our score: 6.5; 6;  5 Total 17.5

By now we were getting a bit “jaded” and the 3 of us shared 2 plates. Still we bravely soldier on to our 5th stop – Stall no 91 at Beach Road  food centre. To my horror, the first thing I saw was the word – “No pork no lard”. Now what kind of CKT can that be? But since we were there, we have to give it a try. The consolation was that the plate came with a lot of vegetables and fried silver fish sprinkled generously on top. Actually it wasn’t too bad but lose points for using disposal plates and utensils.

91 CKT

Price $3 $ 4.50 $5 No pork no lard. Plenty of vegetables. Silver fish added.

Our score: 6.5; 6; 6 Total 18.5

By now despite 2 bowl of ginger soup and 1 bowl of grass jelly to wash away the oil, we were getting “jelek”. And it looks like the sky was going to open up and so we decided to surrender/DNF rather than push on for no 6 & 7. Give us the excuse to repeat this another day J

So anyway, after 5 plates of CKT, the clear winner was Hill Street CKT followed by Armeniam; Ang Mo Kio and 91 Fried Kway Teow Mee. Dong Ji came in last not because it is no good but what we were looking for was the traditional type of CKT not this type of hybrid between the morning breakfast type of kway teow and fried prawn noodle. But hey, don’t take my words for it. Go and try out all these stalls yourself!

Happy eating!