Indeed, the power of social media is not one to be trifled with. You’ve probably heard about the absurd queues by now, but is Chef Kin HK Wanton Noodle really worth the wait? Tucked at the corner of a coffee shop in Yishun, former Crystal Jade executive chef Chan Wing Kin has taken his 18 years of culinary experience to venture into his own hawker business.
It’s easily become the talk of the town, with queues growing consistently days after word got out. Like many Singaporeans, I had to sus the hype out myself. Reluctantly, I made the decision to rock up before they open at 7.30am, so I could beat the queue.
I arrived five minutes before opening on a Monday morning and was pleasantly surprised to find about 15 groups waiting patiently in line. Well, if there’s one thing our country will definitely win in, it’s safe to say it’s queuing.
What I tried
After a short 15 minutes in line, I finally got to order. First up, the star of the show—HK Wanton Noodle (Soup) (S$5).
Reminiscent of the bowls you’d get at any cha chaan teng in Hong Kong, the classic one-size-only bowl came with 5 wantons and a decent portion of fresh, springy egg noodles.
I sneaked a sip of the gleaming, golden broth before savouring the noodles and right off the bat thought “Hmm, not too shabby!”Since it was my first meal of the day, it was rather energising to savour a bowl of hot soup that was light on the palate, yet so tasty. The alkaline notes grow more as you go and were pretty nostalgic.
For me, what made it work was the wantons. Each was filled with juicy prawn chunks and minced pork. I do fancy water chestnut bits in wantons, although Chef Kin’s version delivered deliciousness even without. What a solid start to the meal!
Since their menu showcased three noodle dishes only, I couldn’t possibly skip on the Beef Brisket Noodle (Dry) (S$5.50). This dish is one enjoyed dry rather than with soup. Mainly because the noodles soak up the marinade of the beef beautifully to enhance the dish’s flavour altogether.
Oh! Don’t forget to help yourself with the chilli oil and green chilli at the condiments station. Trust me; it makes a difference.
Now, this is my go-to dish at any noodle shop in Hong Kong. There’s just something about the tenderness of the brisket that I adore so much, especially when done right. No doubt it had just the right amount of fat, marinade, and tenderness for it to melt softly as you take a bite. However, nothing quite mind-blowing and quite standard for what I expected.
The noodles, however, were a tad soggy and overdone. It was missing that bouncy texture or in other words, QQ-ness. Overall, passable.
For the final contender on the menu, the HK Dumpling Noodle (Dry) (S$5) had huge shoes to fill, after two average bowls. Unlike the wantons mentioned earlier, Chef Kin’s dumpling filling packs black fungus, bamboo shoots, minced prawn, and pork.
As compared to the wantons, the dumplings had more meat-to-prawn ratio, which would definitely please lovers of this balance. Between the two, I’d pick the wantons because the taste parallels the ones in Hong Kong greatly.
This time, I added a generous amount of chilli oil to amp up the heat of the dish. While it definitely added flavour, it failed to deliver in spice.
That being said, HK-style noodles are best enjoyed on their own and one would only add chilli if it was their personal preference. In this case, I’d highly recommend adding it if you’re getting dry noodles, to elevate the flavours of your meal.
For me, the wantons were a hit yet everything else—a miss.
By the time I left, the queue had snaked so far back, the wait went up to an hour. I must say, at its price point, Chef Kin HK Wanton Noodle serves up decent bowls of noodles, but definitely nothing ground-breaking for you to join a queue past half an hour. Of course, they are still in the early days since opening, and I’m sure over time, these bowls will only get better.
Expected damage: S$5 – S$6 per pax
Other articles you might like:
The post Chef Kin HK Wanton Noodle, Yishun: “The glorified stall’s one saving grace are the wantons” appeared first on SETHLUI.com.