Excellent Claypot Prawn Noodles

Chef Jeremy Nguee returns this week with a recommendation for excellent prawn noodles by, to quote their website, 

a band of young and passionate individuals determined to keep the Singaporean culture and our heritage alive. Inspired by the flavours of Penang prawn noodles and Japanese ramen broth… One Prawn Noodle is headed by Gwyneth Ang, with more than 10 years under her belt working in established restaurants like Burnt Ends, Tong Le Private Dining and Forlino. Her experience has enabled her to implement great techniques across different cuisines, resulting in every bowl of prawn noodle packed with mouth-watering goodness.

Always the champion of  young hawkerpreneurs, Chef Jeremy really admires the grit and effort Gwyneth and her team have put into each delicious, bubbling claypot of prawn noodles. It’s really difficult to make a good, rich prawn stock but at One Prawn & Co, they do it really well.

WATCH:

LISTEN: 
Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s bubbling-hot, rich & robust episode!

SEE:

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Once located at Beach Road, the noodle establishment has moved to a shophouse unit along MacPherson Road and it’s a well-organised eatery, with efficient service and helpful, polite staff. These are all the frills you appreciate, but it’s their signature prawn noodles that speak volumes of their dedication to making customers happy and satisfied.

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Wait to be seated, a menu will be brought to you and your order will be taken swiftly. Each table is well set up, with tissues, chopsticks & chilli powder all conveniently displayed, along with a little bin for discarding shells thoughtfully included. The menu is a colourful board with clear instructions on how to order or combine ingredients, which are luxurious and generous options of pork ribs, large & medium prawns, prawn balls, thin slices of pork shabu and lala clams.  

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Chef Jeremy likes ordering the dry version of noodles (choose from yellow noodles, kway teow, thin bee hoon, thick beehoon or a mix of your faves), which comes with an umami sauce enhanced by aromatic fried shallots and crispy lard bits. If you like more kick, ask for more of their spicy, savoury chilli paste. Copious sprinkles of chilli powder (more aromatic than spicy) adds another layer of earthy, citrusy flavour. And be sure to apply cut red chilli in soy sauce liberally!

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I asked the staff for a recommendation and as a first-timer, they suggested the Supreme Prawn Noodles which at $20, comes with EVERYTHING (except the large prawns – regular sized ones were included). Before I knew it, a bubbling claypot of piping-hot soup, packed with ingredients, was served along with my choice of mixed yellow noodles & thick beehoon on the side.
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Tossed up to get every strand of noodle coated in sauce, the noodles looked simple, modest even, but were layered with lots of flavour. Bean sprouts & blanched kang kong brought fresh crunch, whilst crispy lard and fried shallots brought fatty flavour & fragrance. Chef Jeremy recognises the labour that goes into making of each bowl of noodles, saying, “If you process 10kg of shallots or lard, at the end of the day you get just 2 kg ‘cos it shrinks down so much.” In other words, trying to achieve the balance of umami, silkiness of the noodles and the caramelised shallots & crispy lard is no small feat. At One Prawn & Co, they do this really well and they are also considerate as to how much people can eat so the portion of noodles is judicious, yet they are very generous with the sauce and crispy bits. So when you get to the bottom of the bowl,  you still have lots to go round for your last slurp of noodles.

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True to their promise, their take on prawn broth was heady and full-bodied – inspired by Penang prawn noodles and Japanese ramen. Brewed from the shells of  prawns for hours to extract maximum flavour, it was robust and deeply prawny, with a subtle sweetness that came through beautifully. The broth had a viscosity that told of its richness and a pleasant sheen of golden-orange oil that brought loads prawn flavour. Trying not to burn myself, I drank down every drop.

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As you can see, everything is served in one bubbling claypot, packed with generous portions of lala clams (I counted four), which were sweet & briny with a bouncy texture, along with thin slices of shabu pork (I counted at least 8), which were tender and flavoursome from their little slivers of fat.

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Then there were 3 meaty pieces of pork rib, which were extremely tender with a very pleasing fat to meat ratio. Moist and luscious, they also tasted very fresh, without an overpowering porky pungency.

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Three good-sized, firm and crunchy-fresh prawns came conveniently de-shelled where it counts. Tails & heads (hello flavour!) were left on, giving access to their plump and juicy mid-sections.

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As for the tobiko prawn balls, biting into the spheres of flying fish roe gave off little bursts of crunchy tastiness, which made them really fun to eat.

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For groups and big eaters, you can also supplement your prawn noodle meal with a platter of ngoh hiang. I couldn’t resist ordering a taster for 1-2 persons ($8.50). 

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What I liked was how the crispy-fried textures and seafood flavours of the platter really complemented the prawn noodles. I especially enjoyed the deep-fried fritter disc and the handmade fishcake, dipped in the accompanying sweet and spicy chilli sauce.

Do support these young hawkerpreneurs who are dilligently pursuing excellence and serving up their earnest expression of the best prawn mee they can create. That’s why Chef Jeremy admires their dynamism – One Prawn & Co. has evolved from their Beach Road beginnings, changing things up and constantly improving. This is a prawn noodle worth trying, even though it will cost you a little extra. Wholesome and well-executed, the thought and care that goes into each serving is plain to see and taste!

TASTE:
ONE PRAWN & CO.
458 MacPherson Rd, Singapore 368176
Open
Tues – Sun: 11am – 5pm (Closed Mondays)
Tel: +65 98788897

Mee Rebus & Soto Ayam with Super Sambal!

Our Makan Kaki, The Fabulous Baker Boy  Fabulous Baker Boy, Juwanda Hassim returns with a recommendation straight from his growing-up years – a stall that sells his father’s favourite mee rebus at Haig Road Food Centre.

HEAR:
Listen/ download podcast for this week’s satisfyingly spicy episode.

SEE:

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Juwanda’s maternal grandparents were once mee rebus street hawkers, so his family really appreciates quality when they taste it. At Afandi Hawa and Family, their mee rebus is the real stuff, made from a good meaty stock thickened with sweet potatoes.

Continue reading “Mee Rebus & Soto Ayam with Super Sambal!”

Luscious & Lemak x 2 – Laksa & Chicken Curry!

Back with us is MasterChef Singapore judge, Chef Damian D’Silva of Singapore Heritage restaurant Rempapa (check out their Deepavali specials below) . A while back, he took us to one of his favourite stalls for Cantonese-style steamed dishes – Chef Chik at Haig Road Food Centre. We return to the same food centre to visit another stall for “Chinese-style lemak laksa” that Chef Damian really enjoys!

HEAR:
Click to listen/ download podcast of this doubly lusicious & lemak episode!

SEE: 

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At Goody N Jolly, their laksa is prawn based, with a rich coconut broth and a rempah that has Chef Damian’s seal of approval.

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This is the Prawn + Cockle version ($6), which comes with thick vermicelli, taupok, sliced fishcake, hard-boiled egg as well as prawns and cockles, of course!

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Laksa gravy was indeed rich and coconutty, yet light but not cloying. Gentle heat came from the large dollop of sambal on top, which was  unusual and delicious – tangy and full of savoury umami!

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Not a fan of cockles? There are other versions of the laksa to choose from – prawn + taupok ($5.50), shredded chicken + prawn ($6) and shredded chicken + taupok ($5).

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Another must-try at Goody N Jolly is the curry chicken ($7), which you can enjoy with bread (local-style French loaf) or rice. I went for the laksa, but will return for this delectable curry, which turned out to be a complete revelation!

IMG_4982It came served piping hot in a large ceramic bowl filled with generous chunks of chicken that featured fork-tender meat and creamy-soft potatoes.

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And you’re gonna want to drink up ALL the delcious gravy! Robust, deeply savoury & lip-smackingly tasty, the curry was rich in spices but not too hot. Lots of curry leaves added even more depth of flavour.

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If ever you’re craving for a luscious, lemak and spicy meal, double your pleasure with the local delights served up so well at Goody N Jolly. By the way, if the name sounds familiar, they used operate from B1 of Parkway Parade, so if you’ve ever wondered where they went, they relocated 10 years ago to Haig Road Food Centre! Conveniently, they also run the drinks store (of the same name) right next door, which means a thirst quencher right after your hearty meal is literally just a step away.

Just note that they only open for laksa and curry chicken business only 4 times a week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday. Also, their curry is often sold out before 3pm so get there early!

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TASTE:
Goody N Jolly (CDC VOUCHERS accepted here)
Haig Road Market & Food Centre
14 Haig Rd, #01-71, Singapore 430014
Open: 9.30am – 6pm (Closed Mondays, Thursdays & Fridays)

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BONUS!
This Deepavali season, Chef Damian D’Silva continues his Cultural Celebration Series at Rempapa with 2 special dishes – one South Indian and one Northern Sri Lankan – which Chef Damian D’Silva learned from his beloved Grandad.

rempapa_deepavali_kool_4Kool ($80++, serves 4), a Northern Sri Lankan specialty follows a recipe belonging to a neighbour of his Grandad. The hearty soup consists of fresh seafood such as fish, crab, prawns, and cuttlefish; as well as vegetables such as long beans, sliced tapioca, and jackfruit seeds. Cooked brown rice and odiyal flour (from a root of the palmyra tree) are added to thicken the soup. Spicy and tangy, this robust stew takes 3 days of preparation, so it be sure to order 3 days in advance!

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Lamb Dhalcha ($60++ serves 4) is Chef Damian’s Eurasian interpretation of a traditional South Indian lentil stew, using his Grandad’s recipe that features smoked bacon bones. Lamb ribs, lentils and potatoes are spiced with cumin, fennel and coriander and cooked in coconut milk and tamarind juice for a rich, hearty, meaty treat to be eaten with chapati.

Only available till Monday 24 Oct – book ahead & get more info:
Tel: +65 9459 1603
Email: papa@rempapa.sg
Online: Click to reserve.

 

Continue reading “Luscious & Lemak x 2 – Laksa & Chicken Curry!”

CDC Voucher Best Eats – Loaded, Lemak Laksa!

Fresh off his win in July, MasterChef Singapore Season 3 winner Johnathan Chew, whose grandmother once sold kway chap & braised meats, suggested that I visit a relative’s stall for laksa that was “a cut above the rest”. Intrigued by the aspiring chef’s deep familial ties to hawker food, I headed for a kopitiam in the Tiong Bahru area to suss things out.

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Lau Jiang Fishball Minced Meat Noodle, Laksa is run by Johnathan’s aunt, Ms Alexandrea Eng, whose her father started their original stall in 1971 at an HDB block along Alexandra Road. After the building went en bloc twenty years ago, they moved to their current location in Jalan Membina. The stall first established itself selling traditional Teochew-style bak chor mee, but they decided to diversify after the move by adding laksa to their menu.

Continue reading “CDC Voucher Best Eats – Loaded, Lemak Laksa!”

CDC Voucher Best Eats – Restaurant-Quality Handmade Ban Mian Noodles

Hi Makan Kakis! Welcome to Part 3 of our Makan Kakis x CNA Lifestyle series featuring some of the best eats to spend your CDC vouchers on. Our Foodie Friend, Business Director of Preparazzi (luxury catering & culinary concepts) and Strategic Partner of The Dempsey Project / All-Day Dining & Gourmet Grocery on Dempsey Hill – Chef Jeremy Nguee loves Telok Blangah Food Centre and recommends new kid on the block Yanan Ban Mian Noodles for their outstanding handmade bowls of quality ingredients.

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There’s regular ban mian and then there’s ban mian distilled through the creative minds of professional chefs with decades of experience between them. The result? Loaded handmade noodles from new kid on the block Yanan Ban Mian Noodle at Telok Blangah Food Centre. Opened little over a year ago by Mr John Yeo Eng Woon and Ms Na Yanan, what they lack in hawker experience, they more than make up for in professional culinary experience, having cut their teeth in five-star hotel kitchens over the last two decades.

Continue reading “CDC Voucher Best Eats – Restaurant-Quality Handmade Ban Mian Noodles”

CDC Voucher Best Eats – Curry Chicken with that Home-Cooked Taste!

The second $100 tranche of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers were distributed to all Singaporean households in May 2022 and can be used at thousands of heartland merchants and hawkers. For the next eight weeks, follow this Makan Kakis x CNA Lifestyle series for some of the best eats to spend those vouchers on, starting with this delicious curry chicken!

Continue reading “CDC Voucher Best Eats – Curry Chicken with that Home-Cooked Taste!”

Our Fave National Eats Revisted Part 3 – Laksa Lemak

We complete this 3-part National Day series for the month of August by revisiting a special feature on a creamy, spicy, local noodle favourite. Over the years, different hawkers have found fame with their own special version of laksa lemak, so whether you prefer your laksa with or without hum (cockles), or noodles eaten with a spoon instead of chopsticks, here are three places recommended by Gold 905 listeners that we think are noteworthy:

HEAR: Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s spicy, coconutty, umami episode!

1. Katong Laksa

First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, there are several laksa stalls all bearing the name of the East Coast area from which they started, each with their own fanatical following. But let’s not argue which is the best or the most original. This is just one of many delicious laksa experiences worth enjoying, especially when you meet the chatty man behind Katong Laksa, located at a row of shophouses along Changi Road, Mr George Ng. It was started in 1955 by Mr Ng’s father, who learnt the recipe from one of the original purveyors of the dish, nicknamed Janggut, aka Bearded One.

photo by Kelvin Chia

Second generation hawker George said he has three secrets to preparing laksa, based on Janggut’s orginal recipe, but he won’t share those with anyone. He was willing to reveal this little nugget though – he refuses to use pre-packaged coconut milk. He extracts it himself daily with a special machine that saves him time and effort. He told me proudly, “I bought it for $8000 from China. Coconut milk must always be fresh, otherwise the laksa gravy won’t as rich or tasty.”

Indeed, it was exactly as he said – a really enticing bowl of steaming hot laksa that carried the glorious fragrance of spices & shrimp. It had good colour, brightened by shiny orange spheres of oil floating atop a creamy broth that was absolutely jam-packed with goodies.

In my bowl, I could see the rempah had cooked down, leaving a fine sediment that mixed beautifully with lots of umami ground hae bee (dried baby shrimp) to really thicken the coconut milk. Little curds had formed, white specks dispersed throughout the broth, which George said is deliberate, “My fresh coconut has a lot of good fats and I want to see all those little white dots forming.”

For $5, a medium-sized bowl was filled with beansprouts, 4 slices of prawns, a spoonful of cockles and thinly-sliced fried fishcake. To finish, he garnished with a generous portion of fresh shredded laksa leaf and a dollop of his homemade chilli paste. It had a very pure chilli taste and a slight tang to lift the richness of the gravy. George was happy to disclose his simple recipe, “It’s just dried red chilli, season, add a little bit of the laksa rempah, grind to a paste and that’s it.”

Rich, creamy and super flavourful, George Ng’s Katong Laksa puts the luxe in laksa. You don’t need extras like lobster or abalone for that touch of luxury, it’s all in his lemak gravy, baby! Also, as he explained, “Passion. You don’t have that, forget it!”

TASTE:
Address: 307 Changi Road, S(419785)
Opening hours: 8am – 3pm (closed on alternate Tuesdays).
Tel: +65 90237360 to order in advance or for pick-up.

2. Sungei Road Laksa

For those who want a lighter, milder laksa, Sungei Road Laksa is a name that really needs no introduction. Honed from years of experience, this is an extremely well-oiled machine, run with absolute precision and calm. The day I visited, three ladies were hard at work preparing for the start of business. Bowls were being portioned with thick bee hoon, ingredients carefully laid out, large battered silver pot full of their famed gravy at the ready, sitting over a charcoal stove that was being stoked.

Served in light pink bowls on dark blue trays, the Sungei Road Laksa was cut into shorter strands and eaten with a spoon. Their gravy had a thinner, soupy consistency, with a hint of coconut milk. At first, I thought it wasn’t anything to shout about, but the savoury crustaceous broth base really developed in natural sweetness with each spoonful. The flavour took a more subtle approach, gently coaxing tastebuds awake. Then said tastebuds came roaring to life when their hae bee-heavy chilli paste was mixed in, along with finely julienned laksa leaf, which was by far the freshest and most aromatic I had tasted.

Ingredients like cockles, thick slices of fried fishcake and beansprouts were included in generous portions. For an additional $1, I ordered extra cockles, which were really plump, juicy and very fresh. Those little jewels of briny-sweetness were definitely a highlight.

Ultimately, Sungei Road Laksa is a great choice if you appreciate a more delicate, less cloying experience. This is a good bowl you can slurp down to its last drop without feeling guilty or uncomfortable. And at just $3 per dainty serving, it was easy on the wallet and the stomach.

TASTE:
Address: 27 Jalan Berseh, #01-100, S(200027)
Opening hours: 9.30am – 4pm (closed on Wednesdays)

3. 928 Yishun Laksa

Head to Yishun Central for what many say is the best laksa in the North of Singapore. And after enjoying two bowls in one day, I have to agree. 928 Yishun Laksa gets its name from its location at a block of flats. The 20-year-old family business operates out of a ground floor space tucked away in a corner. You might miss it if not for the persistently long lines. So make sure you know your orders well and pay up as briskly as they serve you – they have a never-ending stream of customers to feed.

At just $3.30 for a big, delicious bowl, I was pleasantly surprised at how many ingredients they packed in. Besides the hearty portion of chewy, al dente thick bee hoon (yellow noodles and thin bee hoon were other options), I found thick slices of fishcake, cockles, half a boiled egg, surimi (imitation crab stick), beansprouts and my favourite fried tofu puffs. Add $1 for extra cockles and fifty cents for all other ingredients.

Their laksa gravy had the boldest seasoning of the lot, aromatic with herbs, spices and dried shrimp, which were amplified by the superb chilli paste. This was the most significant component, showcasing the deep, funky brine of hae bee chased by a spicy kick. Though not as lemak as some Nyonya laksa, there was enough coconut milk in the gravy for it to have a silky richness.

928 Yishun Laksa’s affordable prices, punchy flavours and plentiful ingredients keep customers coming back and so would I. Even after a 25-minute drive to Yishun and 20-minute wait in line, I would return to empty two solid, satisfying bowls in just ten minutes again!

TASTE:
Address: 28 Yishun Central 1, #01-155, S(760928)
Opening hours: 8.30am – 7pm (closed on Wednesdays)

Simple, Soupy, Satisfying Fishball Noodles

This week, we welcome a new Makan Kaki, Chef Marvas Ng of Path Restaurant who’s getting together with another one of our Makan Kakis, Chef Damian D’Silva of Rempapa for a special National Day collaboration.

The sumptuous, one-night-only Chinese dinner is on Saturday 6 August only ($168++ per pax, min. 4 pax), showcasing their interpretations of heritage and innovation.

Menu highlights include the incredibly flavourful, lip-smackingly rich Chicken Collagen Soup, Chef Marvas’s 16-day dry aged duck crown (a Chinese twist on the French Duck a L’Orange), Iberico Pork Jowl Char Siew with a smashed cucumber salad dressed with Teochew chilli sauce (made from scratch and fermented for one month to allow the flavours to mellow) and Asparagus slathered in the punchy, umami Sambal Juliana.

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He may be classically trained in French culinary techniques, but Chef Marvas Ng remains firmly rooted in his Teochew Chinese heritage and his favourite local dish describes him in a bowl – “I’m a simple person, you know?” he told me with a laugh. Clean, comforting, delicious and a great way to start off a busy day – Fishball Noodle Soup is Chef Marvas’ firm favourite and he needs to have it 2-3 times a week to satisfy his constant craving!

For his soupy mee fix, Chef Marvas frequents 85 Redhill Teochew Fishball Noodles. Now a string of branches across malls in Singapore, the brand started as a stall in Redhill Close belonging to the grandfather of Mr Tan Kim Siong, the managing director of Fei Siong Group.

Continue reading “Simple, Soupy, Satisfying Fishball Noodles”