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Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles: Garlicky ‘collagen’ bak chor mee with handmade pork balls at Kallang

Given the rainy weather nowadays, it was a godsend that I stumbled upon Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles, a bak chor mee stall in Kallang that supposedly sells collagen-based soupy bak chor mee.

I mean, rainy weather and soupy bak chor mee are a perfect pairing. And to top it off, collagen!

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 15 - storefront
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 15 - storefront

Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles can be found in Wu Fu coffee shop, a stone’s throw away from Kallang MRT. 

While Google Maps had indicated that I was in the right coffeeshop, I almost couldn’t locate the stall. It was hidden at the very far left of the coffeeshop, tucked away from the main row of shops. 

It was curious to note that Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles shares the same space with the zi char stall. In fact, I could see the zi char folks whipping up a storm behind, while a lone lady was manning the bak chor mee stall.

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 4 - preparing soup bak chor mee
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 4 - preparing soup bak chor mee
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 8 - preparing soup bak chor mee
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 8 - preparing soup bak chor mee

Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles specialises in bak chor mee with a collagen soup base, and it offers a wide variety of options ranging from Traditional Minced Pork Noodle (S$4.50/S$5.50/S$6.50) to Sweet Intestine Noodles (S$6.50/S$7.50). As with every bak chor mee stall, you can pick between soup and dry options, as well as your choice of noodles.

It proudly states on its storefront that it doesn’t use MSG at all, so I was curious to see how its collagen soup would turn out.

What I tried at Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 10 - soup bak chor mee
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 10 - soup bak chor mee

We started off with Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles’ most popular item: Traditional Minced Pork Noodle, and opted for the S$5.50 soup version with mee kia.

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 6 - soup bak chor mee
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 6 - soup bak chor mee

Almost immediately, I took a sip of its cloudy soup, expecting to be hit by the familiar sticky-sweet thickness of collagen soup. Instead, what greeted me was an intense wave of aromatic roasted garlic. Full-bodied, rich and savoury, each sip of soup was incredibly comforting. 

However, here’s the million dollar question: Did it taste like collagen? 

My response would be this: Only if you knew what to look out for, and if you paid super close attention to the soup. The only hints of collagen came through the silky smooth soup, which had a really faint thickness, but there was none of that characteristic sticky sweetness that coated my lips.

I’ve got to say that the taste of roasted garlic was incredibly strong and overpowered most of the other flavours, so if you’re not a fan of garlic, you might be better off ordering something else.

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 22 - noodles
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 22 - noodles

The supple strands of mee kia soaked up the garlicky soup, such that each slurpful of noodles was teeming with a pungent roastedness that made me worried about garlic breath. 

The amount of mee kia was overwhelming, to say the least, and it seemed to never end. In fact, my dining companion and I couldn’t finish the mee kia because it was just too much!

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 12 - minced meat
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 12 - minced meat

I was impressed with the generous amount of minced pork that had been given in Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles’ Traditional Minced Pork Noodle, as it added a soft yet meaty textural element to the silky soup. Each spoonful of bak chor mee had a good amount of soft minced pork, crunchy spring onions and savoury lard, making it a pretty well-rounded experience.

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 13 - pork balls
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 13 - pork balls
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 17 - handmade pork balls
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 17 - handmade pork balls

Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles certainly didn’t scrimp on the ingredients. For S$5, I spotted three regular pork balls and two handmade ones. 

While the firm pork balls were nothing special and tasted like factory-made ones, I was blown away by the handmade pork balls, which seemed to disintegrate in my mouth with the slightest pressure. These were savoury bombs and were incredibly soft, and from its misshapen form, I could tell that these had been made by hand!

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 14 - intestines bak chor mee
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 14 - intestines bak chor mee

For comparison, I decided to order a dry variant, and got the Sweet Intestine Noodle (S$6.50) with mee pok. Delightfully, I noticed that it came with plenty of freshly cut pigs’ intestines and thick folds of pigs’ skin.

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 3 - mixing dry bak chor mee
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 3 - mixing dry bak chor mee

It took two spoonfuls of soup to loosen the dry bak chor mee, but I was pleasantly surprised at how luscious the noodles looked upon tossing. Each strand of mee pok was coated in a glistening sheen of sauce, making it look really appetising.

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 21 - noodles
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 21 - noodles

While the mee pok had looked incredibly appetising, I was let down by its taste. The sauce was much lighter than I had expected, with the lightest touch of vinegar that made me wish I could’ve doused the entire bowl of bak chor mee in black vinegar and soy sauce.

On the other hand, my colleague Rachel said that the dry Sweet Intestine Noodle was pretty average to her, but that might’ve been because she prefers lighter flavours. Next time, I might just ask for more vinegar with my dry bak chor mee.

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 19 - sweet intestines
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 19 - sweet intestines
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 16 - pig skin
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 16 - pig skin

Just like the dry Sweet Intestine Noodles, the large pieces of pork intestine and skin were disappointing and lacked flavour, though I’ve got to commend the stall as these elements were well cooked without any gamey funkiness.

Final thoughts

Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 9 - soup bak chor mee
Xiang Xiang Traditional Minced Pork Noodles 9 - soup bak chor mee

After the entire meal, Rachel and I agreed that while Xiang Xiang Traditional Pork Noodles serves up mediocre bowls of soup and dry bak chor mee, this definitely wasn’t collagen bak chor mee. If it was, the collagen element in the soup could’ve been amped up much higher, as the roasted garlic flavour dominated everything else.  

Despite the disappointing lack of collagen, I still enjoyed my bowl of soupy Traditional Minced Pork Noodle for its full-bodied savouriness. Being a huge garlic lover, I took the overpowering taste of roasted garlic head-on, but you might want to bring a mint along if you’re meeting someone after.

Expected damage: S$4.50 – S$7.50 per pax

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