Fresh off his win in cooking competition Masterchef Singapore Season 2 earlier this year in April, Derek Cheong revealed that he was a huge fan of a stall called Loyang Way Big Prawn Noodles. Known for his “mad scientist” culinary prowess and mastery over Asian flavours, I immediately sat up and paid attention. If it was good enough for a Masterchef, it was certainly worth the meandering forty minute drive from West to East to locate this far-flung stall.
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Everything one needs to know about the stall is in its name. Found deep in a Loyang industrial estate, they specialize in dry and soup noodles, featuring prawns of a certain size. After getting slightly lost, I finally arrived at a nondescript canteen, sitting solo amongst factories and offices. Hardly an auspicious start to my foodie adventure, but one look at the prawn noodle stall confirmed my taste buds were about to get lucky.
Even at 8am, Loyang Way Big Prawn Noodles’ menu board was brightly lit, tempting customers with its variety: Big Prawn Noodles ($5, $7, $9), Pork Ribs Prawn Noodles ($5, $7, $9), Abalone Prawn Noodles ($8, $10) and XL Big Prawn Noodles ($13.80). Add-on ingredients were also available, everything from to prawn ($2 each), to abalone ($3), to pork ribs and other piggy parts like skin and intestines ($1 to $3) and the intriguing sha dan (literally sand egg in Mandarin, but described as a runny-centred egg, so-named for dim sum restaurant molten saled egg bun, liu sha bao, $1).
If I had had my way, I would have blown the budget and my belly by including them all in my order. But I was a woman on a mission to recreate a big prawn noodle experience worthy of a Masterchef. Derek had recommended that I go for the biggest portion of unadulterated dry prawn noodles with soup on the side, promising flavours both intense and umami.