Ban mian has always been my comfort food whenever I crave something simple, after feasting on indulgent food especially. I was pretty excited to try the ban mian over at China Whampoa Home Made Noodles located at Geylang Lorong 12— they’re open 24 hours, by the way!
Upon reaching the coffeeshop, the sign outside had faded (perhaps due to the weather) and I could barely make out the words written on it. Thankfully the stall was brightly lit and my eyes were fixed on the various choices being offered— there were at least 13 varieties available after removing one which was out of stock.
I noticed there were a few pictures of the stall owner posing with local TV personalities displayed. Deep inside I was worried, China Whampoa Home Made Noodles seemed to be over advertising themselves. I’ve had past experiences with similar stalls pasting pictures of celebrities, and the food wasn’t that fantastic. “Am I going to be disappointed?” I started thinking to myself as I waited patiently for the food to be ready.
What I tried at China Whampoa Home Made Noodles
I started off with their Sliced Fish Home Made Ban Mee (S$6.50). There were a few types of noodles to choose from, which included mee sua, Hong Kong noodles, homemade you mian, homemade mian fen guo, etc.
I chose you mian, and this bowl of goodness consisted of three meatballs, a generous amount of fish slices, fried ikan bilis, mushrooms, green vegetables and a bed of you mian doused in a clear-looking broth.
The moment that first batch of you mian entered my mouth, I could instantly distinguish the difference in quality between China Whampoa Home Made Noodle’s homemade noodles and factory bought ones. Those beautiful white strands of mian that closely resembled spaghetti, slid through my tongue effortlessly. Cooked to perfection, it had the perfect amount of bite or what I’d like to call it; al dente.
The slices of fish were super fresh and didn’t possess any strong fishy smell. The fried ikan bilis were super crispy and added another dimension of flavour to the whole dish.
The most understated element of the dish was the soup. Don’t be fooled by its simple clear look, it was packed with flavour and it was naturally sweet— probably from the dried ikan bilis and soybeans that was used to make it.
When the Home Made You Mee With Prawns Dry (S$5.50) arrived, the comments from my dining partners were, “this looks super dry.” and “the noodles look undercooked.” I kind of agreed but didn’t want to judge something so fast before giving it a taste.
I chose a thinner kind of ban mian that resembled linguine (yes, I keep associating the noodles with pasta). The dry noodles came with two prawns, three meatballs, fried ikan bilis, mushrooms, green vegetables and two different kinds of chilli— both of them looked intimidating!
The prawns weren’t deshelled and that’s absolutely fine to me, but it will not appeal to people who are lazy to peel them. The meat inside was firm and fresh— yay to not having an itchy tongue!
After giving the noodles a toss, it instantly transformed the dry-looking desert into an oasis! The noodles became moist from the sauces and the colour transitioned into a darker shade of brown, looking like a Malaysian style bowl of noodles.
The chilli packed a punch and my dining partner who could not handle spice stopped eating it after one mouthful. On the other hand, I was enjoying the heat. Though the noodles were moist, I felt that the overall flavours were one-dimensional. It fell flat and I wished they would have added something to give the taste some impact— perhaps some fried pork lard?
The one thing I would rave about are their meatballs. They were full of flavour and had a satisfying texture. The chilli that was available at the side of the stall, complemented these lovely balls of meat so well.
I chose mian fen guo for the Abalone Clams Home Made You Mee (S$5.50). Mian fen guo isn’t something I would usually order at a ban mian stall. Why? It’s usually thick, floury and chewy— not my cup of tea. It came with the same ingredients as the other two dishes, but with the addition of abalone clams.
I wasn’t mentally prepared when the mian fen guo turned out to be super smooth and soft. I thought to myself, “what sorcery is this?” It’s unlike anything I have tried before— China Whampoa Home Made Noodles has officially converted me into a mian fen guo fan! Even my dining partners were loving it.
The accompanying pieces of abalone clams were chewy and absolutely satisfying to pop in my mouth.
Since China Whampoa Home Made Noodles is open 24 hours, I can see myself coming here for supper or for a satisfying post-jogging meal with my friends. The ban mian here does not have the usual poached egg that you would normally see at other stalls.
Head over here to get your ban mian fix and be blown away with the amount of varieties offered.
Expected damage: S$5.50 – S$13.80 per pax
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