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JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup: $4.50 for a generous serving of noodles and lots of pork lard

Despite Johor Bahru being Singapore’s next-door neighbour, I haven’t been there in some time and miss their food. I know to an undiscerning tongue, a lot of South East Asian food may taste and look the same but us SEA-sians can tell. So when I found out that Paya Lebar was housing a JB-style eatery, I was curious.

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - stall
JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - stall

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup, or just JB Old San Huan, is located in Apoze coffee shop on Upper Paya Lebar Road. “JB” and “Old” aren’t just for show. The founders were operating along Johor Bahru’s Jalan Wong Ah Fook, right across City Square Mall in the 1980s. 

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - kopitiam
JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - kopitiam

They opened their first branch in Singapore this 19 July. If I didn’t ask, I really wouldn’t have thought they opened just this year. While I was there, the owner greeted some of the continuous influx of customers like old friends. He had garnered regulars in less than half a year.

It was one of the more popular stalls all late morning and at lunch. If you chanced upon them, it builds certain expectations for the quality of their food.

What I tried at JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup  

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup noodles
JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup noodles

It’s predictable of me, but I first decided to go for their Signature Teowchew Kway Teow Soup (S$4.50). The soft kway teow is buried under a layer of ingredients and bathed in a hot bowl of soup. It was steaming when I went to collect it. Please don’t be as foolish as I was and take a sip immediately.

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup pork slice and pork lard
JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup pork slice and pork lard

I know it’s odd to be really happy about a piping-hot bowl. Dramatic of me? Yes, but I love my food best when it’s served ready to burn my tongue. I could taste the soup’s sweetness and prominent lard flavour. Speaking of the lard, JB Old San Huan were super liberal with it. I found plenty swimming around. 

It has to be said that the soup is on the meatier side. It was cloudy, likely thanks to the pork bone used to make the broth. There are also pieces of minced meat floating about. 

The signature gives a generous amount of the thin kway teow to get through. This may only be for you if you’re a fan of super soft noodles. I enjoyed it immensely as it paired well with the soup by the spoonful.

Like the soup, there’s a lot of meat for the ingredients. The only veggies in the bowl were several leaves of lettuce.

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup noodles with the meat and fish balls
JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup noodles with the meat and fish balls

Let’s look back to the other ingredients. Besides the lard and minced meat, there was lean and fatty pork slices, tender pork liver, meatballs and fishballs. I’ll admit, it’s not for fans of clear and healthy-tasting broths. It’s a pity; they’re missing out on the rich soup. 

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - dry noodles
JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - dry noodles

I was not done with JB Old San Huan just yet. Next up was their Teochew Dry Noodle (S$4.50). Mee Pok was recommended to me by the owners for this version. Frankly, if you’re like me and can’t handle spice, it’s best to skip this one out.

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - dry noodles
JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - dry noodles

You’ll be asked if you want chilli for your dry noodles, and if you don’t want it, you’ll get plain noodles with a hint of pepper and some oil. The lack of flavour for this is more of a me-problem. I noticed those who ordered with chilli had it clinging to and coating every strand of Mee Pok when they slurped them up. 

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup fishcake and lard
JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup fishcake and lard

Despite the lack of flavour, the saving grace was the bounty of crispy lard, slices of fishcake and the accompanying bowl of soup. I cannot stress how much lard you’ll find in your bowl. If you ever felt there wasn’t enough crunchy goodness in your noodles, look right here. 

The complimentary bowl of soup for dry noodles was a blessing. I kept pouring spoonfuls into my dry noodles. It also doesn’t hurt that it has the same mix of ingredients as their Signature Teowchew Kway Teow Soup. 

Final Thoughts

JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup and dry
JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup - soup and dry

I won’t lie to you; hot, soupy dishes have me in a chokehold. There’s no denying I have a clear favourite between the two. That said, you’ll likely have a better time with the dry noodles if you have them spicy.

Honestly, JB Old San Huan is really wallet-friendly when I look at how much noodles and ingredients you get. 

So, if you’re from JB and feeling homesick or can’t afford to head across the border anytime soon, why not drop by for a bowl?

Expected damage: S$4.50 to S$9

The post JB Old San Huan Teochew Kway Teow Soup: $4.50 for a generous serving of noodles and lots of pork lard appeared first on SETHLUI.com.