The Amoy Food Taste – Authentic Wanton Mee

Amoy Food Centre got a few stalls selling wanton mee. Beside the very different “A Noodle Story“, there are 2 other stalls at the ground floor. But what draws the crowd are the two stalls opposite each other on the 2nd floor  ie Wah Kee Noodle and Tai Seng Noodle House. There’s always a queue at both stalls during lunch time.

First up, Wah Kee Noodle. This is a spin off from the popular GuangDong Wanton Mee at Maxwell Food Centre.  Unfortunately that owner has passed away and Wah Kee Noodle is run by his brother.06-DSC_0048Wah Kee sells more traditional Cantonese style noodles. It more popular item is the beef brisket noodle which sells out pretty early.  But for this taste comparo, I had the wanton mee, I added an extra $1 for more dumpling.07-DSC_0049The wanton are bigger than the usual wanton that other stalls elsewhere serve. 09-DSC_0051

The extra $1 got me 3 big dumplings filled with prawns and pork.10-DSC_0052The char siew are finely cut and comes with little bits of fat just the way I like it. There were about 12 slices.11-DSC_0053

Next up is Tai Seng Noodle House.01-DSC_0040The operation at Tai Seng is a bit messy and frankly looks very unhygienic although judging by the long queues that forms everyday, nobody seems to have been fatally poisoned by them.

02-DSC_0041This the more the local wanton mee that we are used except that the portion is so huge. My bowl cost $4 and they piled on the char siew and wanton like it is free and I supposed that is why the queue is so long.

The wanton is just a loosely wrapped skin around some minced meat and there are 6 of them.04-DSC_0043The char siew are very roughly cut into bit and pieces and too numerous to count.03-DSC_0042

So which stalls serve it better?

  1. Service. The lady boss at Wah Kee is pretty fierce. The cook is very much more friendlier and always acknowledge the people around the stall with a smile. Tai Seng on the other hand is a pretty much one woman show although recently a man has been helping out. She too busy to acknowledge customer. Both are really the no-frill no fuss self service type. Both also use disposable cutlery which I find it impossible to use to drink soup from. Somehow the taste is totally different.  A draw for both. WK 2 / TS 2
  2. Prices. Prices starts from $3.00 at Wah Kee. Top up $1 for dumplings, extra noodles or char siew. Prices at Tai Seng  used to be $3 but has recently increased to $4 if I am not wrong. But the plate of noodles is still piled to the brim with char siew, and both fried and boiled wanton.  WK 3/TS 5
  3. Variety. Beside the wanton mee, Wah Kee sells beef brisket and chicken noodles. Tai Seng has mushroom noodle beside the wanton noodles.  WK 4/TS 3
  4. Quality.  The char siew at Wah Kee is very much better compared to the stringy bits at Tai Seng. The wanton are also bigger and tastier.  The noodles at Wah Kee are springy and does not comes in clumps unlike those at Tai Seng. WK 4/TS 3
  5. Taste. Wah Kee’s version is more flavourful and hence tastier. Tai Seng’s robust and more home cooked. Depending on whether one likes the Hongkong version or the local version of wanton mee, each one will have its own opinion on taste. WK 4/TS 4

Final score. Wah Kee 17 Tai Seng 17. Its a draw! Go to Wah Kee if you want something nicer and more refined. If value for money is what you looking for, it will have to be Tai Seng.

The Amoy Food Taste – Wanton Mee with a Twist

There are 2 popular wanton mee stalls at Amoy Food Centre. This post is not about them. That will come up in a later post.

This post is about 2 different “wanton” mee stalls.  2 stalls that sell wanton mee with a twist.

Stall number 1 is A Noodle Story,.  I first wrote about this stall back in 2013.861025_4732883755117_1656219108_oThis is a self acclaimed Singapore noodle and not your conventional wanton noodle. Essentially cooked ramen style with additional ingredients, it is an interesting take on the usual wanton mee that we are used to. Prices start from $5.50 to $7.50 and each bowl comes with char siew, egg, prawn dumpling and a potato fries wrapped prawn.23-DSC_0032The egg is cooked “onsen” style. Soft boiled to almost perfection. The char siew is not the typical local char siew but again Japanese style with a lot of fats and melt in the mouth type. For my $6.50 bowl, there are 1 full egg and 3 pieces of char siew.24-DSC_0033The wanton comes with prawn. It has a nice crunch to it although a tad small. There were 3 wanton for my bowl. 26-DSC_0035Last but not least there is a prawn wrapped in potato ala Vietnamese style.25-DSC_0034

In comparison, the next stall – the newest kid in the neighbourhood sells what could be considered “plain vanilla” wanton mee. The Seng Noodle Bar is not at Amoy Food Centre but just a stone throw away in a shop house at Amoy Street.DSC_0005This is a newly opened outlet in more posh environment and is an offshoot of the popular Seng Wanton Mee from Dunman Food Centre. I first wrote about this in July this year.

What they serve is a bowl of mean wanton mee that comes with either char siew or roast pork and dumpling. I ordered the $7.50 2-some goodness which comes with both char siew and roast pork.02-DSC_0004The soft boiled egg also cooked onsen style is optional at $2.00 each which is pretty expensive.01-DSC_0002The char siew and roast pork are damn good cooked almost to perfection.04-DSC_0006 03-DSC_0005The wanton was a disappointment though with no prawn in it but then again that how most dumpling that comes with local wanton mee are.05-DSC_0007So which stalls serve it better?

  1. Service. Noodle Story is operated by  2 young men – one who cooks the noodle and one to add in the ingredients and toppings and to collect money. It is self service and the queue during peak hours can be daunting especially in the hot and humid food centre. Seng Noodle Bar on the other hand is in a shophouse. There is still a long queue and customer queue outside the shop which is pretty small. Once in the cosy little place, the food comes pretty fast.  NS 2/SNB 4
  2. Price. Prices start from $5.50 at Noodle Story and goes up to $7.50. The additional price comes with extra pieces of char siew, full egg etc. Sengs price starts from $6.50 for noodle with either char siew or roasted pork and 3 pieces of wanton; $7.50 gets a combo. Egg and other side dishes are optional ranging from $2 for egg to $5 for fried wanton and $10 for mushroom and scallions. NS 5/SNB 4
  3. Variety. Both stall sell a single product namely the wanton mee. Only different toppings. Noodle Story got the advantage here with the char siew, dumplings, eggs and prawn. Seng lose out as theirs comes either with char siew or roast pork (different price) and egg is extra.  NS 4/SNB 3
  4. Quality. Both have very good pork belly char siew. I love the roast pork at Sengs. The dumpling at Noodle Story is much better with prawn. The noodles at Noodle Story are not too good though as it comes in a clump maybe due to the unique blend of lemongrass and other spices that they added in.  NS 3/SNB 5
  5. Taste. Seng’s taste like the more conventional wanton mee. Noodle Story with their unique blend is not really a 100% pure wanton mee so it is difficult to compare the taste. Both are unique and different. NS 5/SNB 5.

Final score Noodle Story 19 Seng’s Noodle Bar 21.  But as mentioned, both stalls are actually pretty different and  the comparison is not really fair. For those who like something different, Noodle Story is a pretty interesting take but those who want something more conventional and yet unique should try Seng’s.

The Amoy Food Taste – Fish Soup

Amoy Food Centre has a fair mix of cooked food stalls. And there are some real excellent one. The interesting thing is that some of the best sells the same type of food. So just for the fun of it, I going to compare 2 each of the good food there starting with the 2 stalls with the longest queue – the 2 fish soup stalls on the 2nd floor.

First one is Pao Ji Fish Porridge1-DSC_0216This stall sells fish alone, fish and prawn and fish can either be the usual mackerel or promfret. But prices here are not cheap starting from $7 for the cheapest portion and going up to $15 for promfret with prawn.

For a fair comparison, I ordered the $7 portion. This comes with about 9 slices of fish and some tang-o veg. Rice cost another $0.50. 2-DSC_0218Each bowl is cooked individually and the fish is fresh. But the soup was a tad too oily with lots of shallots and lard for me. The shallots turned the soup brownish unlike other fish soup which is almost clear and the shallots smell was too strong.

The stall has a trick up its sleeve though. The dip. Instead of the usual cut chilli and light sauce, their dip comes with chilli, tau-cheu beans and ginger. Each order get one small saucer of it and any additional saucer cost an extra $0.50.

Next up is Han Kee Fish Soup. Both stalls have long queue but Han Kee comes out a clear winner in term of queuing time. At almost 2 pm on a weekday, the queue is still at least 10 deep while the queue over at Pao Ji drops to less than half that.1-DSC_0253Prices at Han Kee is either $7 or $10 and they do not serve prawns or any other type of fish. But you can order the fish head, the fish roe or whatever parts you fancy. Just be quick about it otherwise you will get chewed off by the stall helper. Rice is $0.30 for a small bowl and $0.50 for a large  bowl.2-DSC_0251The soup here is clear with just some spring onions and preserved vegetables (dong cai). Lettuce are the veg of choice here. The slice of fish are very generous and there are almost 15 thick pieces in my $7 bowl. And very fresh too.3-DSC_0252 So which is the better eat?

 Let’s compare based on service, price, variety, quality and taste.

1) Service. Both stalls have a super grumpy assistant. The uncle at Pao Ji and the middle aged lady at Han Kee. To order, you got to make up your mind fast before they reach you for the order otherwise you will get an earful.  The plus point for Pao Ji is that they have another lady assistant who more than make up for the uncle’s curtness by calling everybody handsome or 美 女.  Meanwhile once you are a regular at Han Kee, the lady is pretty nice to you and for the super regular, they get to jump queue too! PJ 5/HK 4

2) Price. This one Pao Ji no fight. The $7.00 serving pales in comparison to what is served at Han Kee. Not just the number of slices of fish but the size of each piece.  PJ 3/HK 5

3) Variety. Han Kee serves only fish and only 1 type at that. Pao Ji has batang, promfret and prawn. Pao Ji wins hand down. PJ 5/HK 2

4) Quality.  Both use very fresh fish. And each bowl is cooked individually which probably accounts for the long wait at each stall. PJ 5/HK 5

5) Taste. This is the most difficult to compare cos one man’s meat is another man’s poison. I like the clear and not so oily soup of Han Kee. But many people swear by Pao Jie’s shallot flavored soup. So I guess this is a draw. PJ 5/HK 5

Final Score: Pao Ji 23/ Han Kee 21 but this doesn’t necessarily means Pao Ji is better. Don’t take my word for it though. Do your own taste test when you are there!

Next up: Wanton Mee………..

A Noodle Story @ Amoy Food Centre

Continuing the quest for new hawkers, this one stand out for its innovation. 2 young man running a noodle story with a twist. Like a typical kaisu kaisee Singaporean, they have come up with the ultimate kaisu kaisee all-in-one uniquely Singaporean noodle that cannot be found anywhere else on this island.

So what is the Singapore noodle? Very simple – take all that Singaporean like about noodle and volia
1) Wonton
2) Prawn
3) Fries
4) Japanese style egg
5) Hongkong style noodle
6) Japanese style barbecue pork or char siew
7) Sambal chilli
Throw in some local garnishees like hay bee (dried shrimps) and there you have it – the Singapore noodle!

Of course you can have all this but if it doesn’t taste good – then nobody is going to buy especially at prices starting from $5 a bowl. I like the egg and the char siew which they use a flame to fire directly on. The curly fries was a nice touch. Too bad only 1 prawn it it. I find it too salty maybe because they use lemong rass as one of their sauce. Overall, it is very interesting. I wouldn’t say it is good. Maybe unique. Let’s just hope they will continue to experiment with the recipe and come up with something that is really uniquely Singapore and nice to boot,

Cheng Teng @ Amoy Food Centre

Many people have lamented that hawker food are going the way of the dodo bird but there have been a mini revival of sort in recent time with many hotel trained chef setting up their own hawker stall. Over at Amoy there is the Singapore Noodle and now there is a new Cheng Teng stall started by an ex-chef.

Good cheng teng are hard to find nowadays and so finding this one right next to my  work place is super great. The cheng teng here is not great great yet. It has some time to go before it can meet the standardof those at Bedok Corner or Commonwealth. But what it lack in taste, it make up for in its ingredient. It uses only traditional ingredients and no preservatives or refined sugar. 

 There are no cheap ingredient like barley, jelly strips. Instead there are dried persimmon, dried longan, gingko nut, red date, sweet potato, sago, winter melon,white fungus, pong tai hai which is the brown seaweed like stuff  and rock sugar.

The stock is a bit thin, very light in color and not as sweet as I would like. There are too little pong tai hai but overall this is pretty good stuff. Light and clear very good for cleansing one palate after a heavy meal.
The stall is on the 2nd floor of the Amoy Food Centre. Each bowl cost $2.50 a bit steep but in my opinion well worth the money. And in case anyone is wondering, the chef didn’t pay me to do this write up.

Mamacitas

There this stall at the Amoy food centre that claim to sell authentic Costa Rican Cuisine. Ok I know Costa Rica is somewhere near America and in the movie, the people from there are always depicted as gangster and hoodlums. But I seriously have no idea what food they eat until this stall opens.

A glance at the signboard shows many rice dishes much like our food. Basically it is rice with either a meat and salad sides. There are tacos as well as all sort of salad.

I decided to try the Krunchy Chalupas which as far as I can make out is a fried taco filled with either beef or chicken and all sort of vegetables and jalapenos. It also come with a generous side serving of rice. At average price of about $4.00 it is certainly value for money.

So far that is my one and only Costa Rican food cause the next time I went back, it was closed and still remain closed. There is a notice there saying the nice Costa Rican lady who owes the stall is on sick leave and has to close the stall for a while. 

Hopefully it will open soon and I can go back and try the other items on the menu.