I’m often greeted with disgust or disappointment (sometimes both) when I tell people that I don’t like bak chor mee. Yes, I know it’s a Singaporean staple and yes, I know it’s almost sacrilegious to reject the very dish many locals have built their sole personalities on. But it is what it is, and stallholders are going to have to do more than just toss noodles in vinegar, chilli oil, and minced meat to impress lil’ ol’ me. When I think of comfort food, a steaming bowl of laksa or a hearty, umami Hokkien mee comes to mind, but bak chor mee just never makes it to my list. So today’s visit to Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee is exciting and nerve-racking bundled in one because with all the hype surrounding the 100-year-old stall, I’m really hoping to be proven wrong in the best way.
What I tried
As we arrive, Jie Wei, the stall’s current fifth-generation hawker, teases a warm smile behind his mask and gets us settled in.
Many regard Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee as the OG of all bak chor mees, and they’re not wrong. Its heritage dates back all the way to 1923, and in fact, all soup-based bak chor mees descended from the founding father of this very dish, who is—you guessed it—Jie Wei’s great-great-grandfather.
His unparalleled hospitality takes over upon hearing that it’s three in the afternoon and I haven’t had my lunch, which sends him whipping up a large bowl of Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee Soup (S$3.50) in no time.
My first sip of the broth is cautious and calculated; after all, if you recall, I’m not exactly crazy about even the famed bak chor mees along Bedok 85 or even 58 Minced Meat Mee. Delightfully, the first spoonful is a burst of flavour, and the broth brings with it much-welcome umami, garlicky notes in abundance.
Not just that—the mee, or noodles, themselves also present a springy bite that is made tenfold better when spooned and lapped up together with bits of minced meat and that delicious broth that I can’t seem to get off my mind.
A bowl of noodles here at Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee is very much like Terry Crews on Brooklyn 99—liked by almost everyone, and hard to find fault with.
What mostly bothers me about soup iterations of bak chor mee is that all that richness of flavour tends to get lost or watered down, and three spoonfuls in, the bowl quickly becomes boring, bland, and flat.
Somehow, the recipe at Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee perfectly encapsulates the fullness of flavour, even in their broth that has me desperately slurping up every drop. “Quickly, pan to the empty bowl!” Jie Wei instructs our videographer Hooyi, both elated and impressed at how quickly everything in the bowl was polished off. Well, this girl knows good bak chor mee when she gets one, and so far, this is the only bowl that I’d willingly order for a lunchtime bite.
You’d think that with a broth and noodles that’s already this much of a treat, it’s more than enough reason to make the trip down. But Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee delivers yet again, and this time with some of the plumpest, juiciest wantons I’ve ever had the luxury of having.
Each wanton’s already soaked up a good bit of the scrumptious broth from before, and a bite into it is, well, to quote Zara Larsson, “so, so good”. The dumpling’s meat filling also has a depth of flavour that’s much to write home about, and the well-seasoned pockets of meat are just a delight through and through.
If you’re going to spend S$3.50 on something today, I sure hope it’s on a bowl of noodles here.
There also exists the dry version of the Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee (S$3.50) which is just as worth your while. A spicy, tangy blend that makes for a great anytime-meal, or heck, have two bowls if you’re really hungry.
Each bowl also comes equipped with a bowl of wantons in soup, so you’ll get to savour it both ways. Though, for good measure, I’d recommend just snagging yourself a power packed bowl of dumpling soup for S$4, and then you can thank me later.
The other two items on the menu are the Handmade Fishball Noodle (Soup/Dry) (S$4) and Handmade Fishball Soup (S$4.50) which I’m sure are equally worth adoring. Also, top-up S$2.50 (UP. S$3.20) for a side dish of your choice when you purchase any main dish, and your selection includes fried dumplings that I personally have my eye on, fried cheese tofu, fried fish cake, fried beancurd skin, and fried fish balls.
Vera’s ‘Chef’s Kiss Award’
I think it goes without saying that the bak chor mee broth is more than deserving of today’s Chef’s Kiss Award. In fact, it might even be one of the most laudable food items I’ve awarded, ever. If I could collect every single dish I’ve awarded on my list, this rich, umami broth is definitely something I want to have with me at all times.
Regardless of your stance on bak chor mee, I’d recommend giving this a go at least once. For existing BCM lovers, brace yourself to fall head over heels, and for non-believers like me, you never know if it’ll be the bak chor mee that’ll change your mind. Because it sure was for me.
Expected damage: S$3.50 – S$4.50 per pax
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