Yew Teck Food Stall is one of the more unique hawker stalls I’ve come across. In the earlier hours of the day, you’ll see a simple wanton and dumpling noodle stall. However, those who visit Boon Lay Place Market and Food Village from midday also know that the stall sells bak chor mee and laksa.
On the recommendation of a friend (former expert on all things Boon Lay), I turned up on 2 separate occasions to check out this literal 2-faced hawker stall.
The first iteration welcomes customers from 2.30am, catering to workers of the Jurong Industrial Estate who start their day early (or end late) while satisfying ravenous supper fiends in the neighbourhood as collateral. On my visit at a little past 7am, the stall was receiving a constant stream of customers.
The ‘changing of the guard’ usually occurs at about 11am, so I returned one afternoon to also have a look at the stall’s other form that sells fishball/minced meat noodles.
What I tried at Yew Teck Food Stall
There are a few ways to make an order at Yew Teck Food Stall. I let the same friend take the reins so we had a plate of Wanton Noodle (S$4) that came with fried wanton and some slices of char siew, as well as choy sum. You can also request for just char siew, wanton, dumplings, or varying combinations of the three.
The small crispy, handmade packages sadly only came in a pair since we had ordered the smallest portion, but adding more ingredients (S$1) or getting larger portions (S$4.50/S$5.50) is an option.
The stuffing is a mix of both shrimp and pork, with soft meat that gels really well together in contrast with the crunchy skin. Because the fried wanton are bite-sized, you could comfortably eat them whole.
What better way to elevate the fried wanton than with mayonnaise? The lightly sweet and sour condiment slathered against its crisp exterior added an enjoyable decadent element to the fried wad of indulgence.
The highlight of the dish was the slices of char siew with their pronounced caramelisation. The darkened ends infused with smokey notes tacked on a hint of bitterness to the expertly marinated pork, giving the meat an extra dimension of flavour alongside some fat. I’m sure we can all agree that dry chunks of char siew can sometimes ruin the dish, which makes me appreciate well-executed char siew even more.
I was thoroughly seduced by the titillating scent of the noodles and soup, so my tosses were fuelled with extra vigour. Having eaten from the stall for over 5 years, my friend could easily discern that the recipe of the underlying sauce was unchanged — a noticeable use of pork lard and a sweet scallion soya sauce that gave the al dente noodles a darkened shade. Now imagine that scent wafting to your nose on an empty stomach. Yeah.
The silky smooth skin of the wanton had absorbed a good volume of the soup, which gave each bite of the package a juicy, slurpable quality.
Stuffed with a whole shrimp, the larger shui jiao offered a more substantial mouthfeel in comparison, capped off by noticeably sweeter insides.
A second bowl was devoured just as vigorously. It came topped with 2 slabs of flattened fried dumplings at the request of my friend. They had the flavour profile of the fried dumplings without the crescent shape of the folded dough skin.
On my second visit in the afternoon, Yew Teck Food Stall’s menu had changed to minced meat bak chor mee, fishball noodle, laksa and mee sua — staffed by 2 new faces.
I took the plunge with a bigger portion of Laksa (S$4.50), a formidable foe (to my toddler-like spice tolerance) decked out in beansprouts, strips of tau pok and an upturned half of a boiled egg. Some laksa leaves and a dollop of shrimp paste were littered atop our pick of thin bee hoon.
After having Ipoh-style curry mee, the more coconut-y soup brought a heavy milky fragrance that instantly made me salivate in anticipation.
Tau pok in laksa sometimes taste even better than the noodles themselves. A gentle squeeze of the chopsticks eased the soup out of its pores so I dunked it back in before sending it down the hatch. The porous insides were soft and complemented the firmer skin well.
The large quantity of bee hoon in the laksa was rapidly absorbing the soup, which revealed slices of fish cake as the soup receded.
Since I usually have laksa with thicker bee hoon, the more spindly strands were a different experience. Their increased surface area allowed more laksa to fill the gaps, making them weightier and somewhat unwieldy with chopsticks. After a few mouthfuls, the rich broth was making my nostrils run a few laps, but it was thankfully not too spicy.
I maintain my dislike of hard-boiled eggs, but the soup does away with the chalky texture entirely. Apart from being slightly tougher than expected, the fish cake slices were a good addition to the bowl of laksa.
My noodle choice for Bak Chor Mee (S$4.50) was mee pok. As the stall allows self-service on the shallots, I shovelled a good amount onto my plate.
Underneath the mee pok was a savoury, tangy sauce that had a moderate piquancy. Even though mee pok works well on its own, the additional depth adds a lot to the enjoyment of its soft alkaline flavour. And I don’t shy away from the latter.
On the heels of the mee pok was an enormous bowl of soup containing 2 meatballs, bits of floating minced and lean pork, pork liver and some greens. If this is the larger portion at S$4.50, the smaller serving might be too much for some. A rather standard fishball was plonked in as well, courtesy of the generous uncle.
There wasn’t too much lean and minced pork, contrary to what I was led to believe from the size. The soup was surprisingly a touch sweeter than the norm, where it’s typically balanced out with some savoury notes. Still, I enjoyed sipping it to quell the growing spiciness. As for the liver, the slightly chalky texture was a good complement to a resistant initial bite.
The meatballs were on the tougher side, propping up an already filling dish but nothing to write home about.
I had not expected my voracious appetite to be so easily stifled by a simple plate of wanton mee from the morning stall. Had the pork lard done such a number on me?
Offering mayonnaise as a condiment (though you’ll have to request from the auntie) also sets it apart from the myriad wanton mee stalls out there. The morning crew definitely gets a thumbs-up from me.
As for the second shift, the laksa’s heat required a second drink midway, though I could tell it had a good balance of ‘creaminess’ with spice. Some meat would have really improved the dish.
The mee pok needed nothing else since the portions were pretty gigantic for S$4.50 and the soup was a whole undertaking of its own.
Expected damage: S$4 to S$5.50 per pax
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