Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Punggol Noodles : the one-armed hawker legend

Mr Yee Meng Yong, 55, the owner, he lost his right hand in an industrial accident in 1984 at the age of 21. Another setback was the loss of his wife in 2008. He has been cooking with just his left hand for 22 years to raise his family. It used to be a noodle stall in Punggol Road near to St Anne's Church. It was only $1.20 for a bowl then in 1985. It moved to Kovan Food Centre then to Block 210 Hougang Street 21 before moving to its current location in October 2011. That is why the stall is known as Punggol Noodles even though they are located in Hougang. 

There are different types of Teochew-style Minced Meat Noodles from $3 to $3.50 as well as side dishes like Braised Intestine ($2), Teochew Meatball Soup ($2/$3) and Vegetable Soup ($2) on their menu. There is also Teochew Handmade Meatball paste at $12 per box for ordering, each box can be made into about 30 meatballs. 

I decided to go with Minced Pork Noodle ($3.50) and a bowl of Teochew Meatball Soup ($2). Their signature handmade meatball is as big as a ping pong using minced meat, fish and deep-fried sole fish as its main ingredients. Uncle started making it when he took over the stall from his father in 1995, it was handed down to his parents from his grandfather. He was forced to do the cooking due to circumstances. 

He asked, "Do you want pork liver? Do you want it with bean sprouts?" Uncle is cheerful and rather friendly. He went swiftly ahead to blanch the pork liver, lean meat, minced meat and the meatballs in the boiling water before dished up and placed them in 2 bowls. The assistant ladled the soup into the bowls thereafter. He quickly tossed a portion of noodles in the boiling water and started to prepare the sauce mixture in a bowl, he then balanced the strainer with his amputated right arm while stirring it using his left hand before placing the blanched noodles into the bowl and topped it with braised mushroom. It left me feeling amazed.

I was delighted that those slices of pork liver were cooked to a perfect tenderness. I noticed that the soup was lukewarm so as not to continue cooking those liver in the bowl. The soup was lightly flavored with a hint of natural sweetness. The noodles were cooked well to retain its springiness. The well-flavored meatballs were not overly starchy coupled with the desired bounciness and a notable flavor derived from the dried sole fish. It tasted unique and different from the other meatballs. 

I am definitely coming back for the braised intestine that I did not get to taste it this time and I will go for additional ingredients when ordering the Minced Pork Noodle again. 

Block 105 Hougang Avenue 1 #02-24 Hainanese Village Food Centre SINGAPORE 530105
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on Mondays and Fridays)

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