Chao Yang Fishball Noodle: 20-year-old stall with homemade fish dumplings from $3.50
I’ll remember Chao Yang Fishball Noodles nestled within Eunos Crescent Market and Food Centre distinctively for a long time. Would you like to know the reason? I had the chance to try this 20-year-old stall selling homemade herh kiao (fish dumplings) and fishballs only on my third attempt!
The first time I visited, the stall was closed. The noodles had just sold out when I visited the second time, and I finally had the opportunity to join the crazy snaking queue that was formed in front of the stall on my third visit— my perseverance finally paid off!
The stall’s name was in traditional Chinese, and you could see the words, “I use healthier salt” and “I use healthier oil” on the signboard. There were at least a dozen people in front of me, and I was starting to worry if the noodles would still be available when it came to my turn.
What I tried at Chao Yang Fishball Noodle
When I got the chance to order finally, the lady owner had walked to the last person in the queue, and told him that there weren’t enough noodles left— I sighed with relief and was glad I wasn’t in his shoes today.
At Chao Yang Fishball Noodle, I had a choice between mee kia, mee pok, kway teow, yellow noodles and bee hoon. I commenced with Dry Mee Pok (S$4.50 for medium). I wanted a large bowl initially, but was told that they were running low on ingredients.
The noodles were separated from the ingredients that were doused in a clear broth. There was a substantial amount of fried pork lard lying on top of the bed of yellow mee pok. As I tossed the noodles with the fried shallots and sambal chilli hidden below, the overall colour transitioned from a bright yellow to an inviting reddish hue, which somehow beckoned me to have a go at it at that instant!
There was a subtle vinegar taste which didn’t overpower the smokiness of the sambal or the fatty goodness oozing from the crispy lard bits. The noodles were cooked perfectly with just the right texture— similar to al dente pasta. I could have bowls and bowls of this on its own, that’s how good it was!
The ingredients in the broth consisted of two pieces of herh kiao, two fishballs, one tau pok stuffed with fish paste (similar to yong tau foo), and slices of fish cake garnished with a generous amount of spring onions.
The broth was light and not oily. After taking a few sips of the clear broth, I could taste the strong hints of fish that was satisfying with just a hint of natural sweetness— I’m guessing they used tons of fish parts and bones to get this lovely flavour.
The fishballs at Chao Yang Fishball Noodle aren’t your typical smooth factory-made ones. The balls of fishy goodness had bits of coriander, spring onions, red chilli bits and minced garlic. The texture of the fishballs was on the rough side— one bite and you’d know that they were homemade.
The highlight of the dish was the giant pieces of herh kiao, which had a tasty peppery filling hiding underneath a layer of slippery chewy skin, which was something out of this world. Hands down, this would probably be one of the best herh kiao I’d ever eaten!
If you’re looking for something light, give their Kway Teow Soup (S$3.50 for small) a go. It had three fishballs, slices of fish cake, the same tau pok with fish paste as the previous dish, pork lard bits and a pile of kway teow submerged in the clear broth— the ingredients were generous for something so cheap.
Let’s talk about how much I’ve missed having this kind of normal kway teow. Every stall I’ve patronised lately seems to be using the thinner kind of kway teow, similar to pad thai— it was satisfying to eat something that I’ve missed out on for a long time.
The tau pok with fish paste acted like a sponge absorbing the stock, giving my mouth a splash of tasty soup each time my teeth sank into it. The pork lards bits were still acting as mini flavour bombs even though they had lost their crispiness after spending a significant amount of time soaked in the stock.
Overall, I was thoroughly satisfied with Chao Yang Fishball Noodle’s Dry Mee Pok. In fact, it seemed to hit the spot for me more than the Kway Teow Soup-— I’m more of a dry noodle fan anyway. With such yummy noodles, I don’t mind braving the long queues once again just to get another bowl.
Chao Yang Fishball Noodle opens in the wee hours of the morning, and even though it states that they close around noon, they’d usually be packing up around 10.30am— be sure to arrive early to avoid disappointment.
The next time you’re at Eunos Crescent Market and Food Centre, do look out for them and have a bowl of noodles, if you’re game to join the snaking queue!
Expected damage: S$3.50 – S$5.50 per pax
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