Not too long ago, I wrote about the opening of Tok Tok Beef Soup at Asia Square Food Garden in the CBD district. They offer la mian and ban mian options for their bowls of Hainanese beef noodles as opposed to the usual kway teow or thick bee hoon versions that we’re accustomed to.
As I approached the vast surroundings encircling the Asia Square Towers, I felt a little out of place wearing my casuals amongst the sea of people decked out in their formal office wear.
I was in awe of the aesthetics of the food court.It was encased in massive floor-to-ceiling glass windows located on the second floor— an atas-looking place, for sure!
I spotted Tok Tok Beef Soup, which was housed in the middle of other hawker stalls that were selling other delights like yong tau foo, and Pepper Lunch.
What I tried at Tok Tok Beef Soup
I had a choice between plain rice, kway teow, handmade la mian and ban mian.
I ordered the Ultimate Bowl (S$16.90), which came with beef slices, pieces of short rib, tendons, beef cheek chunks, a couple of handmade beef balls, nai bai, coriander sprigs, and my choice of la mian.
At Tok Tok Beef Soup, they have 2 different sets. I opted for Set B (+S$3.50), which came with a drink and a choice between 3 different side dishes. I selected pink lychee lemonade and 2 chicken teriyaki skewers to complete my meal.
My hopes were a little dampened when I slurped the handmade la mian. It was slightly overcooked and too soft for my liking. Did I travel all the way to the CBD area for nothing?
I decided not to be judgmental at such an early stage, and carried on. The beef cheek pieces were sliced thickly, and gave off the impression that they were tough. But as soon as I popped them into my mouth, they melted like liquid butter— they were braised to tender perfection!
The homemade beef balls were fresh and had a pleasant peppery infusion which didn’t overwhelm me. One bite and I could taste the efforts put in by the chefs who made them by hand individually.
The use of nai bai instead of the usual xiao bai cai or choy sum normally found at other hawker stalls was a breath of fresh air.
As I ate the bowl of noodles, I discovered mini ivory-coloured pieces of braised tendons which disintegrated instantaneously in my mouth. They acted like tiny Kinder surprises, adding a dash of excitement to each monotonous bite I took.
The broth used over here isn’t the typical thick gooey gravy that you’ll find at other Hainanese beef noodle establishments. According to the owner, the soup is boiled and slowly simmered for 16 hours before going through a filtration process which causes it to produce a glistening sheen.
The result: a robust beefy infusion with a perfect balance of flavours. In my opinion, this was the gold standard of a beef broth. It should be adopted by other chefs who cook the same dish.
I moved on to the Sliced Beef (S$10.90), which came with beef slices, braised tendons, nai bai, sprigs of coriander and my selection of ban mian. I settled for Set A (+S$2), which came with my chosen drink, lemonade.
The homemade ban mian reminded me of a fatter version of linguine. It was slightly overdone once again— a slightly more al dente bite would’ve gotten my approval.
The beef slices were sliced extremely thin, resembling those served at hotpot joints. A magical moment occurred when I dipped them into the chill.
It possessed uplifting hints of calamansi which gave a subtle burst of citrus flavours, gradually easing up to my taste buds without shocking them like vinegar would. The zing helped cut down the richness of the beef noodles, allowing me to have more without feeling surfeited.
Due to the absence of the short ribs and beef cheek, the broth for the Sliced Beef wasn’t as oily as that of the Ultimate Bowl.
Although Tok Tok Beef Noodle’s price range is not exactly the cheapest around, the quality of the broth and the overall tenderness of the various beef parts justified the cost for me. It’s certainly challenging for me to find a good bowl of beef noodles in Singapore.
Expected damage: S$10.90 – S$20.40 per pax
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