PETALING JAYA, Nov 17 — With the borders closed, I have been hankering for bak chor mee. For me, that is a must-eat whenever I visit Singapore.
It may look like any noodle dish but it is a combination of al dente egg noodles with a tangy vinegar and chilli sauce that makes your mouth water. The trick is adding the vinegar that seems to make it moreish.
In the Klang Valley, the closest you can get is mee pok (which refers to the type of noodles used) served at Teochew restaurants. The toppings are similar — minced pork and fish balls — minus that important vinegar and chilli sauce which fires up your appetite. Hence I was happy to hear from many that Singapore Teochew Hawker serves that version.
Opened last week, the restaurant’s menu focuses mainly on noodles. You have the bak chor mee and Teochew clear soup noodles with seafood, fish or fish balls. If you want something less ching, there’s a curry or tomyam version.
Listed on the menu, they also have a selection of wantan mee dishes where it is paired with braised beef brisket, roast meats and dry prawn roe. However this will only be available in December.
You also have side dishes like ngor hiang, cuttlefish kang kong, oyster omelette and the ubiquitous Teochew or nee for dessert.
So is the bak chor mee (RM12.90) up to the mark? It’s not perfect but still a pretty good substitute when you have cravings for this noodle dish.
I tried it twice as I felt that the sauce needed tweaks. For my first time, the sauce just lacked oomph. Unsatisfied, I tried it the second time. This round, I asked them to increase the vinegar and give more of their chilli sauce. It was much better.
For my own preference, I added a little more vinegar mixed with extra chilli sauce and I finished my bowl of noodles with gusto.
My advice would be to adjust the flavours to your preference. You can load up the chilli sauce here as it’s not the type which will blow off the top of your head. The noodles do need this tangy fragrant chilli sauce to give it flavour.
The noodles are topped with a piece of fried fuchuk stuffed with a little fish paste, fluffy cooked minced pork, lard fritters and sliced mushrooms. On the side, you get the same clear soup served with their seafood noodles.
The broth is lovely with a natural sweetness from fish and pork bones. The fish balls aren’t the commercial type as they are rough looking but the ratio of fish meat to flour isn’t that much. What I really loved was their meat balls. These reminded me of home as they’re just the type you whip up when you have extra minced pork.
A word of warning though, I reckon these meat balls run out fast. My first bowl of bak chor mee didn’t have any at all as I only bought my food after 2pm. The second bowl had it since I did my takeaway early in the morning. While the fish balls are pretty large in size, the fish cake slices are miniscule though.
If you like a cleaner bak chor mee, they also offer a soup version with the same toppings.
For their Teochew seafood noodles, you get a choice of different toppings. The seafood and mackerel is priced at RM19 but if you go for the red grouper noodles it is RM26. The simple fishball noodles cost RM9.90.
I’m not sure if it’s because I ordered a takeaway but I felt that their fish slices tend to be overcooked. Nevertheless, the mackerel noodles were nice albeit of a harder texture.
Their seafood curry mee (RM19) is a pretty decent bowl with a mild-tasting curry and an assortment of prawn, lala clams, fish slices, fish cakes and fish balls.
I cannot resist oyster omelette (RM19) so I ordered that to nibble with my noodles. This was decent with well fried egg and very little potato starch. It came topped with a few oysters. Dip it with the chilli sauce for extra flavour.
You can also order other side items like their fried fish cake (RM9). I wanted the unusual Teochew meat cake but since it was unavailable, I settled for the fish cake which was nice with bouncy fish paste.
What I really enjoyed was their or nee (RM9.50). The taro paste dessert wasn’t too sweet and the paste was smooth. They top it with a little mashed pumpkin for sweetness and decorate it with gingko.
Definitely ordering this back when I revisit to get my bak chor mee fix until I can go to Singapore.
Singapore Teochew Hawker, No. 40, Jalan SS21/1A, Damansara Utama (Uptown), Petaling Jaya. Open daily: 10am to 10pm