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?

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?

Eng’s Noodles House

The Joo Chiat area has some pretty good wanton mee. It must be the air around there since I don’t think wanton mee is a Peranakan thing.  The most famous is of course the Fei Fei Wanton Mee.   Then there is this little stall at the junction of Tembeling Street. Dunman Road hawker centre itself had 2 famous wanton mee stall both of which has now gone on to loftier height. Seng’s Wanton Mee is now Seng’s Noodle Bar and Eng’s Wanton Mee now has it own shophouse at Tanjong Katong Road.14-DSC_0015

The first thing that hit us when we were at Tanjong Katong Road was the long queue outside Eng’s. And that was at around 7+ in the night.  We joined the queue and fortunately for us, we were the last customer to get in and ordered literally the last bowl of noodles.

On each table was this bottle of chilli sauce.15-DSC_0018

Of course being haoliao Singaporeans, we scoffed at this type of warning and when our noodles came, dripped the chilli sauce liberally all over it. Bad mistakes! The chilli sauce was hot! Not hot hot hot as in buffalo wing’s level 5 hot but still hot enough for the tongue to burn and smoke to come out from the nose and ears!

The noodles came in a small bowl. Nothing really special. A few slices of thinly sliced char siew, 5 wanton and some vegetables and cost only $4.50. Not too bad considering that this is no longer a hawker stall but a shophouse.16-DSC_0019

We also ordered some fried wanton which cost $3.00 for a small plate.17-DSC_0020

Overall nothing really great to shout about except for maybe the chilli. But if I am in the area and short of choice of food, I wouldn’t mind having this again. Reasonable price, quality and quantity. Much better than Fei Fei’s and certainly much cheaper than Seng’s.

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.

Seng’s Noodle Bar

Look at this photo.DSC_0004 This looks like a pub. Not a noodle place. So I did a double take. Did I walked into the wrong place. But no leh, the signboard on the wall said:DSC_0005So I sat down at the bar top. Yes there is a long bar top and only 3 small tables for dining. And stare at the flimsy piece of paper that pass for a menu. For lunch, there is a Set A which is wanton mee with char siew or Set B which is wanton mee with roasted pork. There is a Set C on the menu but apparently it has been discontinued. Both version comes in Small or Large. Of course, I ordered the Large.

One of the staff put a Thermos flask in front of me. I stared at it wondering why he is giving me hot water. Turns out it is what they used to keep the soup or broth as they called it. I get to self service myself how much broth I want. DSC_0002

Then my noodles came.  A big bowl of noodles with 5 pieces of wanton and some very fatty roasted pork. And no sauce. No chilli. No seasoning. DSC_0006

Yes it is another DIY. In front of me is a metal container with sesame oil, light sauce, dark sauce, pepper and there is a big bottle of Shiok Chilli (see the Thermos photo).DSC_0003

So I happily dribbled sesame oil and chilli over the whole bowl of noodles. Wait, there is this small little container with something inside. And something is missing in my noodles. DSC_0009

Guess what inside the container?DSC_0008Pork lard! And I get to decide how much to put in.

Back to the noodles. There was 5 small but full of meat wanton.DSC_0015And did I mentioned the very fatty roast pork. Not very crunchy but I like it.DSC_0012For $6 for a small bowl or $7 for a large bowl, I think it is fairly decently priced considering the setup and the ambience. No stuffy oily hot food centre. And certainly much better than those being sold at most food courts. But certainly that has to be since the place comes with a reputation being a new outlet of the famous Seng’s Wanton Mee at the Dunman Food Centre abide a more high class place. At night, it converts to a zhizhar cum pub and reservation is required or so I am told.

What I like was the part where I get to dump in all the extra seasoning. It was kinda fun and beside, the staff there were real friendly. Guess could be because they are young people who also happens to be part owners. No frumpy grumpy old aunties or uncles behind the stove.

Try it out if you working in the CBD area. But go early. They sell out pretty fast. When I was there at 1.40 pm, I was the last customer. Everyone after that was turned away. And they ran out of the 5 minute egg, which sounds so interesting. I asked whether it is the same as the soft boiled egg or is it a hard boiled egg or the Japanese ramen egg but the guy told me their version is different from all these.

So I guess I have to go back and try again. And also to try the char siew.

 

3 Wanton Mee Stalls

Most of us are familiar with the more well known noodles stall like Kok Kee Wanton mee, Fei Fei Wanton Mee, Bedok Bak Chor Mee and so on. And there are always long queue at these stalls making it a long long way just to savour the noodles. For those who works in the CBD area, here are 3 new noodles stall to try out and I daresay they will give the traditionally well known stall a good run for their money. And most important of all, no long queue, well not yet at least.

First off is this noodle stall at Lao Pa Sat, Noodle Evolution

Noodles

This stall sells a interesting wanton mee. Its comes with minced pork. Or is is bak chor mee with char siew? Whatever it is, this is good stuff and at only $3.80 is one of the cheapest noodles stall in this food court. They also serves a mean “Mojo Crunch” which is actually a tau kwa pau.

Further up the road at Maxwell food centre, is this stall selling noodles made with spinach or tomato. And of course its speciality is  wanton noodles although it does serves a well variety of other noodles,

Noodles2

I am not really a foodie so I don’t know how to describe the texture, the taste but I think this stall has got it right. Pity that so many people passed it by. Maybe the noodles are too exotic for our local tastebuds.

Last but not least, across the road in Chinatown at the Smith Street Food Centre there is this nondescript  stall but which is of these 3 here, the one with the longest queue. Noodles1

People in the known come here to eat restaurant standard noodles at hawker centre prices. This stall is run by a retired head chef from the Crystal Jade group of restaurant. How do I describe this? I don’t think I want to try. Go try it yourself.