A guide to the best noodles to savour in Singapore restaurants
Raise your hand if you’ve ever craved a bowl of noodles. Oh, those slippery strands of satisfying goodness that come in various forms and thicknesses, whether it’s bee hoon or mee sua, egg noodles or kway teow. Eaten dry or in piping hot soup, there are so many ways to enjoy noodles. We go on a hunt for some of the best and latest noodle dishes in town for the next time that craving hits:
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Le Shrimp Ramen, local restaurant chain Paradise Group’s latest venture which opened in November 2018, is a Japanese-inspired Chinese La Mian concept that marries a thick Japanese ramen broth with silky Chinese la mian. The broth is made by baking fresh big prawns at 180 C for 45 minutes, hand-grinding them to a fine texture, then simmering the mix for more than eight hours with premium conpoy and a blend of spices, such as star anise, cinnamon, clove and white peppercorn.
The Le Signature Trio Shrimp Ramen (S$19.90) with big prawns, handmade ebiko prawn paste “balls” and prawn dumplings is great if it is your first visit as it gives you a taste of everything. Subsequently, you might want to go straight for the Ebiko Prawn Paste Shrimp Ramen ($13.90) topped with the handmade ebiko prawn paste “balls” to avoid the hassle of peeling prawns. We do recommend that you seize the moment and enjoy the noodles immediately when the noodles are still toothsome and the soup is piping hot. Wait too long and you might find the noodles too soft and the soup a little cloying.
Le Shrimp Ramen is located at 290 Orchard Road, Paragon #B1-42, Singapore 238859.
Chef Cheng Hon Chau, Executive Chinese Chef of Cherry Garden, introduced this comforting dish ($12 per portion) to his first curated menu when he joined Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, some five years ago. Although the unassuming dish looks easy to replicate at home – the la mian (literally translates to “pulled noodles”) require less than two minutes to cook – the devil is in the details and in the duck broth, which is cooked from a mix of duck, chicken and pork bones, and requires at least six hours to prepare. The addition of preserved vegetables lends a pleasant sour-saltiness to the dish. Do try it the next time you visit Cherry Garden. Available for both lunch and dinner.
Cherry Garden is located at 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square, Singapore 039797. Tel: 6885 3500.
Fans of Sichuan cuisine may be familiar with dan dan noodles (thin noodles served with minced meat topping, Sichuan preserved vegetables, and chilli oil), but have you tried noodles with beancurd? According to Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant’s Executive Chef Zeng Feng, the Spicy Noodles and Bean Curd with Sichuan Pepper Sauce ($8 per bowl) is a known Sichuan street snack.
The uniqueness of the dish lie in the combination of beancurd, a household dish in Sichuan, and the spicy and sour flavour, a traditional flavour profile in the Sichuan cuisine repertoire. The spicy and sour taste of the dish needs to be balanced, with no one taste overpowering the other. The dish is mainly made up noodles, smooth beancurd that is freshly made in the restaurant daily and minced pork, with a spicy kick from chilli oil and an appetising sourness that comes from black vinegar. Something to add to your list of must-tries. Only available at Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant at PARKROYAL on Beach Road.
Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant at PARKROYAL on Beach Road is located at 7500 Beach Road, Singapore 199591. Tel: 6505 5722.
At two-month-old 15 Stamford, Alvin Leong of three-Michelin-starred Bo Innovation in Hong Kong goes for Asian-inspired cuisine with a fair number of dishes with local elements. Dishes with familiar flavours would include Chargrilled “Bak Kut Teh” Pork Chop with Compressed Watermelon and Angelica BBQ Sauce ($38), Chilli Alaskan King Crab Leg and Cornbread ($58 per leg), and Laksa with Chargrilled Tiger Prawns and Smoked Onsen Quail Eggs ($32), which is lemak, mellow and in need of more of a spicy kick, but otherwise pleasant.
What we found interesting here is the “Har Mi” Linguine and Tiger Prawns ($36) – the prawns were fine, but the noodles did get our attention. On first glance, the dish may not look much, but the flavours are full on. The linguine (chosen for texture possibly) is cooked in prawn stock (prepared from red prawns) and stir-fried with ebiko, wonderfully aromatic shrimp oil (we were told that dried shrimp from Hong Kong is slow-cooked in oil for three days to prepare this oil), and shrimp floss (this is homemade with dried shrimp and we hear it takes five to six days to prepare). The result is a surprisingly addictive noodle dish that delivers the alluring fragrance and essence of prawns in every bite.
Note: We did debate fervently if it counts as a noodle or pasta dish, but it is too good to miss, so here it is.
15 Stamford is located at Lobby Level, The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, 15 Stamford Road, Singapore 178906. Tel: 6715 6871.
Helmed by Executive Chef Kamogi Noriyuki, the newly opened Udon Kamon specialises in freshly made sanuki udon (a type of udon noodle most popular in the Shikoku region). Chef Noriyuki prepares the thick chewy noodles daily using Japanese wheat flour, salt and water and serves them in a variety of soup bases which range from a light dashi (Japanese stock) and tonkotsu, to their house specialty Japanese spicy magma and tom yum.
We enjoyed the udon with smoked duck ($11.80) imported from Italy in the clear Japanese stock made with kombu and bonito flakes shaved from premium bonito (katsuo fish) from Kagoshima that has been aged for at least two years. The smokey-savoury duck slices go well with the clean tasting, umami broth, while bits of yuzu zest bring a citrus fragrance that gives the soup a refreshing lift. Prawn Tonkotsu Udon ($14.80) is also highly recommended. The hearty tonkotsu broth, brewed for hours from pork collar, paired with the thick udon, fresh prawns and punctuated with saltiness from sakura ebi, makes for a yummy comforting dish.
Udon Kamon is located at Eat At Seven 3 Temasek Boulevard #03-315, Suntec City Mall Tower 1 (North Wing), Singapore 038983. Tel: 6266 5338.
This signature Braised Thick Noodles (basically Mee Pok) with Honshimeiji Mushrooms with Truffle Oil (from $20 for small) has been a best seller for years. The specially selected mee pok brought in from Hong Kong is braised in a superior stock for deeper, richer flavours, and while still retaining good bite. For a more luxurious treat, go for the lobster version (market price, depending on weight of lobster) where the same toothsome mee pok is braised in superior stock with fresh lobster. The noodles, soaking up all the broth boosted by the sweetness from the lobster, are absolutely delicious and leave you wanting more.
Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck is located at #02-08/10, Asia Square Tower 1, 8 Marina View, Singapore 018960. Tel: 6636 1868; and #05-42/45, Paragon, 290 Orchard Road, Singapore 238859. Tel: 6732 7838.
After a multimillion-dollar renovation, The Orchard Café at Orchard Hotel Singapore has finally re-opened with a sleek contemporary look. Headed by newly-appointed Executive Chef Bryce Li, the café’s buffet spread (from $58 per adult for weekday lunch) now specialises in heritage-inspired cuisine. Aside from the usual seafood on ice and sushi/sashimi counter, their nourishing double-boiled soups (served in individual portions instead of the usual giant pot with a soup ladle) and their own Signature Class Sambal station caught our eye. The station features eight different fiery chilli sauces, including Sambal Ikan Bilis, Pineapple Sambal, and Sambal Udang Kering (dried shrimp sambal), and a variety of keropok.
Noodle fans will be glad to know that The Orchard Cafe’s renowned Live Noodle Bar is back with a star selection of Asian and local favourites, including Penang Chicken Curry Noodles, lemak Singapore Laksa with Cockles, Prawn Noodle Soup, and more. Our favourite of the lot is their Bak Chor Mee. Their version is done with thin, crunchy noodles usually used for wanton mee tossed in a special sauce (made with dark vinegar and tomato sauce, among other things) and topped with a bunch of ingredients such as pork liver, sliced lean pork, minced pork, mushrooms, and crispy pork lard. Do note that noodles are served on rotation and may differ from day to day.
The Orchard Café is located at 442 Orchard Road, Orchard Hotel Singapore, Singapore 238879. Tel: 6739 6565.
While the Wok-fried “Yuan Yang” Broad Rice Noodles with Lala Clams ($26 for small) and Stir-fried Fish Noodles with King Prawn in XO Chilli Sauce ($36 for small) look enticing, we were glad we uncovered this gem of a dish ($18 per person) created by Executive Chinese Chef Edward Chong of Peach Blossoms at Marina Mandarin Singapore. Fish noodles (handmade in their kitchen from minced Ikan Parang or snakehead fish and a bit of flour) is first wok fried for that smokey “wok hei” and added to a rich, viscous golden-hued soup made with steamed pumpkin that is stir-fried and cooked with a luscious stock and a touch of pepper.
Served bubbling hot in a heated stone pot with pieces of tantalising Peking duck, some shimeiji mushroom and vegetables, the portion may not look much, but it is just right as the dish, packed with heaps of flavour, leans towards the heavy side. Too much and it gets cloying. This dish is not on the usual menu and is available upon request only. Please order at least a day in advance.
Peach Blossoms is located at Level 5, Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard Marina Square, Singapore 039594. Tel: 6845 1118.
Known for their fresh seafood, traditional tze char fare and signature dishes prepared with Singaporean flair, New Ubin Seafood has won over fans with offerings, such as the USDA Black Angus “Choice” Rib-Eye ($16 per 100g) which is grilled to lightly charred on the outside and tender on the inside served with caramelised onions, Idaho potato wedges, house-smoked sea salt flakes and ‘heart attack’ fried rice (fried rice prepared with beef drippings). They also have an addictive deep-fried fish roe ($25) coated with spicy tangy house-made sambal chinchalok and served with petai beans.
Another winning dish is the their amped up version of our local Hokkien Mee (from $15 for small, serves three to four persons). Yellow and white noodles are stir-fried for “wok-hei” and braised in a flavoursome stock prepared from prawns and crabs (which adds a delightful sweetness), then cooked with baby sotong, pork belly and clams, thickened with a little egg and finished with a flourish of crispy pork lard. It is so good (if you like the version of Hokkien Mee with more gravy) you probably would not want to share. Besides their outlets at Hill view and CHIJMES, check out the latest New Ubin Seafood outlet at Zhongshan, a collaboration with Ramadan Singapore At Zhongshan Park.
New Ubin Seafood has several outlets, such as the one at Zhongshan, which is located at 16 Ah Hood Road, Singapore 329982. Tel: 9740 6870.
At renowned stalwart Cantonese restaurant Li Bai, Executive Chinese Chef Chung Yiu Meng serves a timeless selection of noodle dishes – the classic ee-fu noodles with chives are a firm favourite with regulars. There is also a delicious beef version with chef’s aromatic ee-fu noodles — impeccably done with just the right bite — braised in an elegant savoury-piquant black pepper sauce that does not overpower the tender pieces of beef ($18 per portion).
Fans of Hong Kong-style wanton mee will be glad to know that you can make special orders for Chef Chung’s Wanton Mee ($14 per portion) here. Chef Chung picks a fine and springy noodle for this dish. He dresses it very simply with just a touch of fragrant oil as the texture and mild taste of the noodle is the highlight of this dish. The accompanying soup is a pale golden liquid made from superior stock (think: chicken, jin hua ham and a bunch of other ingredients brewed for over five hours) and is pure deliciousness. The hand-made wantons are plump and packed with river prawns, pork and dried sole-fish powder.
Should you prefer to have the same springy noodles with the restaurant’s signature crispy-skinned luscious roast duck or tender char siew instead of wantons, you most definitely can have it. Do note to make the request for wanton noodles or the noodles with your preferred combination in advance, as the noodles may not always be available.
Li Bai is located at 39 Scotts Road, Sheraton Towers Singapore, Singapore 228230. Tel: 6839 5623.
This soul-soothing bowl of noodle soup ($25 per person) by Chinese executive chef Cheung Siu Kong of Summer Pavilion is a favourite among regulars at the one-Michelin-starred restaurant. The highlight of this noodle dish is the delicious lobster clear broth that is brewed from fresh lobsters – lobster heads and shells are par-boiled, cleaned and crushed, then stir-fried in a wok and cooked for 45 minutes with water to extract every bit of goodness.
The result is a delicate broth that is resplendent with the sweetness of lobster. Paired with delicious fish noodles made with yellow tail fish paste, which complements the broth perfectly, this is one noodle dish to savour. Do note that this dish is not on the regular menu, so do remember to request for it when you make your reservation.
Summer Pavilion is located at 7 Raffles Avenue, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, Singapore 039799. Tel: 6434 5286.
Photo: Summer Pavilion
Text: Xie Huiqun
Gif via GIPHY