1. Da Dong Prawn Noodles
This is one of our favourites, but it’s not cheap. Prices start from $5, but there’s just about enough in that bowl to line my stomach. Order the $8 or $10 bowl, with the more expensive one having bigger prawns. A large serving of big prawns is $13.
What you get is a robust broth flavoured by prawns and pork. It tasted slightly diluted when the current stallholder took over from his father a couple of years ago, but recent visits showed that standards have bounced back. But even at its weakest, it is better than many other famous stalls. There is an option with pork ribs – just by soaking in the broth, the tender pieces of meat changes the flavour a bit, making it even more full-bodied.
Da Dong Prawn Noodles is at 354 Joo Chiat Road. Open: 7.30 am to 2 pm (Wednesdays to Mondays), closed on Tuesdays.
2. River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodles
The broth here boasts a good balance of prawns and pork, albeit slightly less full-bodied than Da Dong’s. It tastes natural, with no hint of sugar or flavour enhancements. Among its appeal is that it offers a lot of topping options such as pork ribs, pig intestines, pig’s tail, abalone clam and baby abalone.
The $6 bowl comes with two big prawns and two very meaty ribs. The prawns are shelled in the middle for easy eating, but are also slightly overcooked. The ribs, on the other hand, are just tender enough to come off the bone with a slight tug and have good meat flavour.
River South (Hoe Nam) Prawn Noodles is at 31 Tai Thong Crescent. Open: 6.30 am to 3 pm (Tuesdays to Sundays), 6 pm to 2 am (Tuesdays to Saturdays), closed on Mondays.
3. Prawn Village
This relatively newcomer in Ghim Moh Market run by a group of youngsters offers Penang-style prawn noodles with a slightly sweet and spicy broth. For $4, you get two medium-sized prawns, slices of lean pork, leek fishcake and hard-boiled egg.
The shell is removed from the prawns’ body for easy eating, but the heads and tails are kept on. The pork is tender, not hard and dry like at many places. And the fishcake is similar to old-fashioned handmade varieties with its slightly springy texture – instead of the more common bouncy versions today. The stock is flavourful enough to match some of the big-name stalls, but without their high prices.
Prawn Village is at Block 20 Ghim Moh Road #01-62. Open: 6 am to 1.30 pm (Tuesdays to Sundays). Closed on Mondays and public holidays.
4. Yi Hao Coffee Shop
This is not one of those brand-name prawn mee stalls with long queues. In fact, it doesn’t even have a name. It is just a nondescript tenant in a coffee shop in Toa Payoh and does not offer big prawns like the famous places either, just decent-sized ones that are shelled and halved for easy eating. But they look and taste freshly cooked, as do the slices of pork. A bowl of noodles costs $3.
There is an option to add pork ribs ($4 and $5), and the meat is tender and tasty. There is also a version with just pork tail. The broth has a fresh taste of prawns and pork. It tastes just a bit sugary, but the sweetness is not too obtrusive. Compared to the best eateries, the stock is not as full-bodied, but better than some other big-name stalls. Best of all, the affordable $3 price point makes it worth it!
Yi Hao Coffee Shop is at Block 94 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh. Open: 4 am to 2 pm or when food runs out, no fixed day off.
5. Sumo Big Prawn
The queues have gone, compared with when this stall opened in 2016, but the prawn noodles here is stll as good. The food is prepared by a young man and the menu offers noodles with lala ($5), prawns ($6.50), big prawns ($6.50), crayfish ($15) and lobster ($25 to $35). Prices seem to depend on the type of prawns used, as another sign on the side shows that the prawn version is $5 and the big prawn one normally costs $8.
For the lobster version, the lobster is cooked in the broth only on order, making it delicious and flavourful. The big prawns version’s soup, which also contains lala, understandably does not have the bisque-like flavour… but it boasts a distinct sweetness from the prawns and clams. The absence of meat means it lacks that full-bodied flavour other stalls boast of, but it has a clean profile that is appealing in its own way.
Sumo Big Prawn is at 628 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, #01-72. Open: 9 am to 11 pm daily.
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