Hong Mao Mian Jia
I was having lunch with my professor at the cafeteria a few months back. He asked, "Where do you stay?" Having satisfied himself that I was a fellow dweller in the East, he continued, "There is a very good wanton noodle stall in the east. Best fried wantons in Singapore. But don't go during the weekend because you'll have to wait for at least an hour. And you'll see all the regulars equipped with their books, newspapers and ipads." There was a pause. I played the role of an inquisitive student and egged him on. He went on, "The lady boss knows me because I go there so often. Last Chinese New Year, we made a bulk order of their wantons and fried them at home for reunion dinner. They were so well received, they never made it to the dinner table." My interest was piqued. I began cajoling him to give the name of this legendary noodle stall away. He deliberated slowly, "I don't like telling people the name of the stall because I don't want it to get any more popular than it already is." But his face softened. "Ang Moh wanton noodles," he finally revealed, "Try their fried wantons."
I did as I was told. The first time, as all students frequently do, I ignored my professor's advice and dropped by on a Sunday. I was given a queue number and told that I will have to wait for at least half an hour for my turn to order. You read that right. There's a wait just for ordering, we're not even talking about the actual waiting time for the noodles yet. Since I was pressed for time, it was a no go. The second time, I went on a week day morning. As you can see, the place was almost empty. There was no queue for ordering, obviously, and the wait for the food was no more than 10 minutes. Success!
Fried Wantons, $5
I wanted to know if the fried wanton here was as epic as my professor had described. There was only one way to find out. I picked a wanton up with my chopsticks and took my first bite. The faintest succession of shattering ensued - my mind was befuddled for a moment - what is this, fried paper? Then my teeth sunk into the filling, which was perfectly seasoned with a pleasant piquant after-taste. I didn't think I was that into it as first, until I realized I'd been subconsciously popping one after another into my mouth. I absolutely enjoyed the paper-thin skin. These wantons were very addictive.
Wanton Noodle, $3
In terms of the noodles, what really stood out was the chilli sauce. I think it's pretty clear from the pictures that the chilli packs a punch, but it might please you to know that it's highly tasty as well. Good things come in pairs, they say. The strands of noodles were springy and had a nice bite - didn't take me long to polish the plate clean. The weakest link here would have to be the uninspiring char siew, not that it really bothered me since I'm more into Hong Kong style wanton noodles anyway, which doesn't feature char siew at all! It's a good rendition of wanton noodles, a worthy example of "simple yet so good", though I'm not sure I'll miss it so much that I'll queue for anything longer than half an hour. But that might just be me.
Worth the queue? If you're a diehard wanton noodle fan. Otherwise, just drop by during week days! Or at least go on a Saturday instead of Sunday.
Hong Mao Mian Ga
182 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore
Open Tue – Sun: 7am – 5pm
(Closed on Mon)
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