Sunday, November 10, 2019

Hokkien Man Hokkien Mee : amongst the best

Xavier Neo, 43, the owner, is a Hokkien man and he started this humble stall serving Fried Hokkien Mee in a coffee shop at Toa Payoh on 10 August 2019. He is running the stall with his wife, Alice Lai, 46. The yellow signboard printed with "Hokkien Man Hokkien Mee" and a portrait of Xavier on it is quite a catchy one. A friend told me about this stall and he urged me to try. I heard about the long waiting time and was a bit reluctant to queue. He sent me a message just a couple of days ago, telling me that the standard dropped a bit and there is no more queue. The waiting time used to be about 1.5 hours during lunch when they just started. 

Xavier was formerly a sous chef of Les Amis, a two-Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant at Shaw Centre and he left in 2007. He also worked with Billy Bombers, White Rabbit, Novus as well as Resorts World Sentosa. Alice used to be an Administration Manager at the National University of Singapore. Xavier went around eating Fried Hokkien Mee from different stalls before coming up with his own recipe. He put in special efforts to source for the ingredients, from the yellow noodles to prawns and squid. Alice acquired the recipe for the chilli from her auntie that used to run a Nasi Lemak stall at Holland Drive and she tweaked it slightly. The prawn stock is made using prawn heads and pork bone then slow-cooked for at least 3 hours. His usual day starts as early as 5 am and ended around 7 pm. 


Alice was at the counter, taking and managing the orders When I was there during lunch on Friday. I asked, "How long is the waiting time?" She replied, "About 15 minutes or so." There are 3 sizes, priced at $5, $6 and the largest portion at $8. I decided to go with the $6 portion and a  handmade wooden number tag is given after paying. The number will be displayed on the electronic number board system when it is ready for collection. Please note that the queue numbers displayed are not in the running sequence. 


I waited for slightly more than 10 minutes before seeing the number flashed to indicate it is ready. It was served on a disposable styrofoam plate with calamansi and sambal chilli at the side. My dining companion tasted the chilli before mixing it into the noodles, he said, "The chilli is quite good, not too spicy and there is a slight hint of sweetness." The well-simmered noodles were cooked in a mixture of lard oil and vegetable oil and it was less oily. 


The texture was not as gooey as compared to the Geylang Lorong 29 Charcoal Fried Hokkien Mee and not much eggy taste. The Fried Hokkien Mee was nicely braised to be slightly wetter, consisting of the yellow noodles and thick bee hoon with ingredients like sliced pork belly, prawns, egg, beansprouts, and chives. My dining companion said, "The flavor of lard oil is there but no wok fragrance though." I think the frying technique is still somehow lacking thus it did not manage to infuse the noodles with the desired smokiness. He also said, "This is definitely better than that Xiao Di Fried Prawn Noodle at Serangoon North." 


I heard that you can call in to order it in advance for taking away as well as dining in. The queue is much shorter now so there is actually no need to place an advance order. Though this is a simple plate of Fried Hokkien Mee, it is a familiar dish that most of us grew up eating. It was overall quite tasty as the prawn broth was noticeably good but it will take a little longer to actually perfect it and it is getting there. It definitely has the potential to be the best. 


HOKKIEN MAN HOKKIEN MEE
Block 18 Toa Payoh Lorong 7 1913 Coffee Shop SINGAPORE 310018
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 2.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

4 comments:

  1. Its too bad you don't eat steamed fish outside. I know a place got cheap and good steamed pomfret at $6 only. The stall got steamed chicken soup also but I've never try that.

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  2. West coast plaza food court. Comes with rice and one rice bowl size chawamushi. pomfret is cut into three parts. Head, middle or tail. Tail has the most meat and sold out very fast.

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  3. Thanks. Will likely to drop by after my Japan trip.

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