If you frequent Kovan 209 Market and Food Centre often, you’ll definitely notice the friendly rivalry between the stalls with the longest queues within your proximity. At both ends of the last row of the hawker centre, the battle of the best Kovan 209 wanton mee is between 51 Ming Fa Wanton Egg Noodle and Yi Shi Jia Wanton Mee.
Since we’ve covered Yi Shi Jia Wanton Mee in our Kovan 209 Food Centre guide, I will be trying out the former today.
51 Ming Fa Wanton Mee is famed for the obvious, wanton mee. Although not very popularised and mentioned by media, they’ve warranted their own organic loyal following.
Clearly! I was warned that they would sell out by 10am, and the kiasu-competitive Singaporean in me could not lose. So I arrived at 9am, expecting to get a bowl of their unique specialty of wanton mee and 5-taste Special Noodles (S$5).
The 5-taste Special Noodles is a specialty that I’ve personally never come across before. Expect a bowl of wanton egg noodles with shredded chicken, mushrooms, char siew and prawns. It’s like shredded chicken hor fun and wanton mee combined together with the random addition of prawns— unusual for sure, but I’m always excited to try new things.
Unfortunately, after reaching the front of the queue, they announced that their 5-taste noodles were unavailable. If you’re looking to try out this dish, early birds can definitely catch the worm as they mentioned that they are usually out of it by 9am.
What I tried at 51 Ming Fa Wanton Egg Noodle
Although I didn’t manage to try out what I wanted, the Wanton Mee (Soup) (S$4) honestly caught my attention.
A sip of the broth and I immediately exclaimed: “Wow, this is good!” The broth was seasoned extremely well and was very tasty. I’m not sure about the ingredients they incorporated, but the comforting sweetness was very much accentuated.
What differentiated this from a normal rendition of the dry speciality was its comfort and lightness that made it more appetising— perfect for any morning if you’re looking to start your day right.
Carrying the usual components of wanton mee, the soup version only differed in its presentation— in a broth. The bowl contained 3 wantons that were easily gobbled up. They each contained a minced pork filling that was seasoned to a moderate pepper-ish palate, and also included diced chives which elevated its whole flavour. You can tell that these are handmade, unlike frozen dumplings.
It’s a given that I grabbed a bowl of their Dry Wanton Mee (S$4) as well. They have several sizes available from small to large, but since it was early, the small one could fill me up just right.
Expecting nothing out of the ordinary as I’ve eaten this dish for my whole life, I was very impressed by the texture of the mee kia. It’s slightly thicker in consistency, but it still managed to retain its springiness.
Usually, wanton noodles are thinner in consistency and has a more alkaline taste, but at 51 Ming Fa Wanton Egg Noodle, the mix of chilli and black sauce masked any hint of those unpleasantries.
I’ve always wondered why the addition of char siew was added into a plate of wanton mee. I know we are all familiar with this dish and sight, but in all honesty, doesn’t the name indicate only 2 components?
Anyway, over here, they were rather generous with the chopped slices of lean pork. Some of them had charred ends but in terms of flavour, I didn’t think they were particularly impressive.
Of course, the dry version also included the typical ally of a wanton mee dish— a bowl of soup. This was the exact same broth that they used for their wet version, and I appreciated how they balanced out the flavours of a homely Cantonese meal.
The noodles were heavier and stronger in flavours, and I found comfort in the mild taste from the soup. A perfect combination.
If I really had to choose, I think I would opt for the soup version the next time I’m here. This is considering how early I would have to consume it, and how I prefer to have lighter-tasting flavours in the morning. That’s not me discrediting their dry version though; 51 Ming Fa Wanton Egg Noodle honestly does an incredible version of tradition wanton mee.
And it’s clearly shown through its popularity… Now I know why it’s famed within celebrities. I’ll be back!
Expected damage: S$4 – S$6 per pax
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