You can’t get much for S$3 nowadays, especially with the rising cost of goods, but one particular stall at Bedok 85 Fengshan Food Centre has been dishing out hefty plates of satay bee hoon at S$3 for the past 20 years while maintaining its golden standard, and that’s none other than Shi Wei Da.
In fact, its stellar satay bee hoon landed it a spot in the Bib Gourmand selection of the MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2018!
Shi Wei Da is single-handedly helmed by Ng Kim Siong, who has become a familiar and welcomed sight at Bedok 85 Fengshan Food Centre.
While most satay gravies can be easily bought from wholesale satay suppliers nowadays, Mr Ng insists on making everything from scratch. Yes, that includes roasting the peanuts, laboriously removing the skins, grinding the nuts, and then cooking it over the stove with other ingredients.
The result? A luscious satay sauce that is super gao— one that you’ll really have to try to see for yourself.
Officially, Mr Ng’s stall only opens for business at 4pm, but when I visited on a weekday afternoon at around 3.45pm, I already noticed a constantly snaking queue at Shi Wei Da.
Most were his regular customers, whom Mr Ng recognised on sight. When they spotted me snapping photos of the stall, several of them even came up to me to comment on how good Mr Ng’s satay bee hoon is!
Hyped up and hungry, I joined the long queue and in about 10 minutes, I started ordering.
What I tried at Shi Wei Da
There’s only one dish here, and that’s Mr Ng’s Satay Bee Hoon. It is available in two sizes: S$3 and S$4.
Despite my hunger, Mr Ng insisted on serving me the S$3 plate, stating that his satay bee hoon portions were huge and that it would be more than enough.
Indeed, the serving sizes were quite generous. What I received was a large plate of bee hoon slathered with a thick satay sauce, and peeking underneath the luscious brown sauce were your usual satay bee hoon ingredients— kang kong, beansprouts, pork slices, liver and tau pok.
Because the satay sauce was so thick, mixing the entire plate of satay bee hoon proved to be a real challenge. It took about three minutes of intense mixing in order to incorporate everything, and trust me— it was a messy affair, so be sure to have some tissues on standby!
Shi Wei Da’s plate of satay bee hoon looked vastly different once I was done mixing everything together. I loved how it looked— messy, sinful and indulgent, with plenty of pops of colour from the kang kong, as well as hints of tau pok, pork slices and liver within the mountain of bee hoon and sauce.
It was missing the typical cuttlefish and cockles, but Mr Ng shared that cockles nowadays were small yet expensive, so he removed them in order to keep prices low. Plus, as the only person manning the stall, cuttlefish would’ve made the already labour-intensive work even more strenuous, thus the decision to not include it in his satay bee hoon.
Eagerly, I took my first spoonful of Mr Ng’s satay sauce and was immediately blown away.
This was legit. The thick sauce was filled with roasted and savoury flavours, with just the right amount of sweetness and the slightest hint of saltiness. Its rich texture was nutty and gritty, peppered with bits of actual peanut, and more importantly, with none of that wateriness or oiliness that spoke volumes about how authentic the satay sauce was. At the end of each mouthful was a touch of spice which helped to lift the entire sauce.
This was so good that my dining companion and I joked about getting a plate of satay from a nearby stall to accompany our meal!
While some of its ingredients were pretty nondescript, such as the pork slices and beansprouts, I enjoyed the liver as it was firm yet chewy, with a savoury gaminess that complemented the roasted flavours from the satay sauce.
For S$3, you’ll seriously be hard-pressed to find another hawker that dishes out generous portions of food like Shi Wei Da. The robust satay sauce clung to the thin strands of bee hoon, which made every bite hefty and substantial, and when coupled with the ingredients, it made for an astonishingly filling meal.
I would say, however, that satay bee hoon isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Its robust and savoury flavours aren’t for everyone, and personally, I might’ve even enjoyed it a little more if the gravy was a tad less viscous-like so that the individual components could gel together better.
Despite that, I still enjoyed Mr Ng’s satay bee hoon, which comforted me with its rich and hearty flavours, and look forward to coming back for a plate of nostalgic goodness whenever I’m in the area.
Expected damage: S$3 – S$4 per pax
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