People often ask our Makan Kaki Willin Low what’s his favourite Singapore dish and for someone who loves hawker food, it’s a question that’s virtually impossible to answer since he’s the kind of foodie who goes to a hawker centre and sees at least 10 things he wants to order! However, if pressed, the one dish Willin always craves is Hokkien Mee.
His cravings take him back to his army days when he couldn’t wait to book out just so he could rush to his favourite stall for a noodle fix. While that stall is sadly no longer in operation, there is another he turns to when the the craving strikes. It goes by the rather contrary name, Hainan Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee – is it Hainanese? Is it Hokkien? But rest assured, it’s 100% true-blue Singaporean and 100% true-blue shiok!
In Willin’s opinion, a good Hokkien Mee has to fulfill his exacting standards:
- THIN Bee Hoon must be used because it absorbs the sauce (and flavours) better.
- Speaking of better sauce absorbency, the Hokkien Mee also needs to be dry, not soupy. A wet, sloppy Hokkien Mee is a bug bear and Willin has been known to leave soupy noodles out till the gravy gets re-absorbed by the bee hoon for maximum flavour penetration!
- It needs to be served with 2 kinds of chilli – sambal belachan and fresh-cut. A good Hokkien Mee starts with a good stock, but even a mediocre stock can be lifted by the strongly-flavoured sambal. That’s why it’s a useful dollop of spiciness to have on your plate, although no worries with this particular Hokkien Mee, since its stock is excellent. Also, Willin swears by this method – eat the noodles with the sliced chilli, then eat the protein (sotong, prawns, etc.) with the sambal.
- Lastly, pork belly has to be used, so thinly sliced that it’s barely noticeable, yet very present in taste.
Happily, Hainan Hokkien Mee combines all these elements into one glorious plate of slippery bliss, infused with that incredible aroma and fragrance known as “wok hei”. After all, the uncle behind the stove has been frying Hokkien Mee for more than 30 years!
Hainan Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee 海南福建炒虾面
505 Beach Road
Open: Thurs – Tue/ 11am -2pm, 3-9pm, Closed Wed