There was little we could do in the office.
So we thought, “Instead of sitting here and doing nothing, let’s try the famous prawn noodle nearby”. It was quite a unanimous decision, since everybody’s heard of Beach Road Prawn Noodles. During my short childhood in the east, this place used to be a frequent weekend breakfast haunt, and I’d remember loving it too. Once I moved away, it was an impossible prospect – I didn’t drive, and with the poor public transport infrastructure (read: no MRT), East Coast became this black hole in my map of Singapore. We were actually quite the troopers, really, marching up the side of the road, eager and in anticipation of some really good old hawker food. As you can imagine, our spirits were absolutely shattered with the downed shutters. Still hungry, we settled up for a coffee shop a small way up the road some more.
Seeing the “Geylang Lorong 29” branding in front of the “Fried Hokkien Noodles”, it was a no brainer what I was going to order. I must admit, I don’t travel for Hokkien Mee because… I believe the best is still the stall located at the coffee shop of Blk 339, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. It was a favorite when I was in primary school, and more than a decade later, it is still my favorite. While I was disappointed to see that this was one of those “straw hat” bulls**t, I kept an open mind. While it’s certainly isn’t the best thing I’ve had, it certainly ranks high in technique and flavors, especially if you compare it with the other “straw hat” stalls that have popped up at so many food courts across the island. Also called Fried Prawn Noodles, Fried Hokkien Mee, a dish unique to Singapore, is crafted with egg and rice noodles being stir-fried in a wok over a hot, burning charcoal. Slices of squid, prawns and diced pork belly are often thrown in. To gain the dish’s signature gelatinous broth, everything is steamed in its own pork-prawn broth to infuse all the flavors together. From now till serving, it is a demonstration of experience, technique and time to keep the tangy and springy character of the noodles.
Firstly, the dish overall lacked the quintessential lardon infused oil. I understand there are concerns over the health content, but just like how western cuisines use bacon to give it an additional, meaty flavor, lardon infused oil provides the same effect. This aspect of flavor was kind of missing, and I’d love to have had it. Secondly, the noodles did end up being on the verge of sogginess, which I didn’t appreciate. I prefer my noodles to be a little al dente, and this was too wet and soggy for my liking.