Fishball noodles are probably one of my favourite Chinese dishes of all time. It is very accessible, with brands like Encik Tan and the many Kopitiam outlets doing reasonably decent jobs serving halal fishball noodles. Whilst these said outlets do their best to fulfil my fishball noodle cravings, I’ve always wondered what one with homemade fishballs would taste like. With Top 73+1 Fishball Legacy, located at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, I finally got my answer.
Top 73+1 Fishball Legacy has been around for 8 years and is actually a hot spot for the Malay community to get their halal authentic fishball noodle fix. It only recently moved to Ang Mo Kio on 1 Dec 2022 with its previous outlet being located along Upper Thomson Road.
The restaurant is owned by Mr Tang, whose father also sold fishball noodles and other dishes. It was Mr Tang’s desire to share the taste of his cooking with many that made him open a halal-certified eatery. Because of the shift, they’re in the midst of re-obtaining their halal certification.
And this isn’t just your run-off-the-mill fishball noodles. They are handmade and are literally scooped using the hand-and-spoon method. This and other cooking methods are passed down from his father, who learnt it from a 73-year-old hawker way back (hence the name of the stall).
What I tried at Top 73+1 Fishball Legacy
I just had to get their Fishball Noodle (S$5) and also Chicken Minced Meat Noodle (S$5). Since the soup was provided in a separate bowl, I opted for the dry option for both noodles. Some of the other selections include Dumpling Noodle (S$5), Laksa with Prawn (S$6), Chili Ban Mian (S$6) and even Prawn Paste Chicken (S$10).
Full disclosure: It was evident that the counter lady had a limited understanding of English and there were online reviews that found her rude. It’s best to slowly and clearly articulate your orders and repeat them if you have to. Remember, you’re here for the food, not the fight.
When I was served my Fishball Noodle, I was really astounded by the size of the fishballs. They looked like smoothed golf balls floating in water with seaweed around them! I didn’t mind that I was given only 4 pieces as they nearly covered the surface of the bowl. The noodles came looking as expected with bits of spring onions and chilli sauce found at the base.
Despite being hot, the noodles were clumped together when I tried mixing them up. I had to use a few scoops of soup to loosen the noodles, after which I gave them a good mix with the chilli sauce.
Once intermixed, the perfectly cooked noodles that had the right amount of chew and stringiness along with the satisfyingly spicy chilli sauce made this a delight to eat at every bite. Personally, I would have liked a little more depth from the chilli sauce as it leaned heavily on the spiciness of it rather than flavour. Perhaps more salt or something to bring out a more robust flavour to couple with the heat would’ve worked well.
Also, despite having enjoyed the chewiness of it, it was screaming out for an element of crunchiness. The addition of shallots or even more green onions would have placed this dish on a pedestal.
As expected from most things handmade, the fishball had a subdued fish taste to it, but its QQ chewiness was second to none. This was something that factory-made ones simply cannot replicate. If I were to compare them to other fishballs, this definitely had less springiness when you chew on them whilst being tender to the bite.
As much as I appreciate them being handmade, the slightly one-note flavours of the noodle had me hoping for a stronger fish taste to come through from the fishballs, which it ultimately didn’t deliver on.
Next up was the Chicken Minced Meat Noodle which had chicken minced meat, chicken slices, fish cakes and raw-looking dumplings. It was served with the same soup and chilli sauce.
Again, the noodles were clumped together and needed a couple of spoonfuls of soup to properly fuse them with chilli sauce. To be honest, it tasted exactly like the Fishball Noodle just with different toppings.
As for the toppings, the minced chicken and the chicken slices were just decent — slightly bland but the chicken flavours were there, just not the seasonings. The fish cakes, which I doubt were handmade, had that familiar artificial fish taste that we know and love and honestly, I wished there was an option to opt for Fishball Noodles which solely had fish cakes.
I know it’s a near-sacrilegious thought but trust me, the fish cake flavours worked really well with the elementary-tasting noodles. I guess it’s the saltiness from them that brought out the flavours of the noodles.
The addition of the dumpling felt like an afterthought. It was overly doughy and its exterior tasted raw. I couldn’t work out what the filling was. Whatever it was, I hope it was cooked.
I was stuffed by the end of my meal, and a large part of it was due to eating two decent portions of noodles on my own (there goes my New Year resolution). The handmade fishballs definitely added extra value to what was an already affordable meal.
Having said that, the dishes didn’t particularly blow me away, as my expectations were quite high because of the handmade fishballs that had been crafted from an authentic recipe. I was struggling to find what differentiated it from other fishball noodle stalls that I’ve visited, apart from the extra large and bouncy fishballs of course.
Regardless, Top 73+1 Fishball Legacy definitely serves fantastic fishball and minced chicken noodles and I would recommend this to those who seek authentic and halal Chinese dishes, or even just noodle lovers in general.
Expected damage: S$5 – S$10 per pax
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