Friday, 23 May 2014
Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee Singapore 建记辣椒板面
Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee 建记辣椒板面 of KL (Kuala Lumpur) fame, opened an outlet in Singapore in March 2014.
It caused a huge furore even though it was "just" street level comfort food from next door Malaysia, not some glamorous Michelin Starred "aspirational" eat for bragging rights.
Our curiosity piqued by all the hype over Singapore official and social media, we popped over to Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee 建记辣椒板面 after our eating session at Soon Huat bak kut teh's new MacPherson Road outlet (just a few doors away).
I am told the crowd has subsided considerably from the peak but it was still very healthy today.
At it's peak in March when Kin Kin first opened, customers had to wait 2 to 3 hours for seats and another hour for the food. Today, we walked in and found a good seat right away in the small, simple, clean, bright, long, narrow air conditioned space.
We tried Kin Kin's signature chilli pan mee and handmade fish balls.
What else? :P
Our SGD5 bowl of the famous Kin Kin chilli pan mee.
Wheat noodles with sauce topped with a nicely poached egg, fried shallots, anchovies, braised minced pork and pork balls.
The set included a bowl of clear soup.
Waiting time was just 10 minutes, maybe plus a little.
The pan mee noodles were thick and heavy. They were gummy and al dente. Doesn't have the spring and gentle "pops-in-your-mouth" feel of my favourite noodles but Kin Kin's noodles are still likable.
When we broke the runny egg yolk, there was no burst of eggy aroma and there was little eggy taste when we tossed the egg with the noodles.
The savoury braised minced pork flavour and fried shallot aroma dominated the dish.
It was old school delicious.
These three pork balls were quite unremarkable. Seemed generic, factory made.
Kin Kin's claim to fame - their sambal chilli.
It was slightly dry and caked in the small tightly packed plastic tubs on every table. Customers scrape and dig out the sambal from the tub and scoop heaps into their bowls of pan mee.
Add as much or as little sambal chilli as you like.
This chili is quite addictive for people who like it - it saw a lady paint her bowl of pan mee red - for a moment, I thought it was another dish that Kin Kin was serving :P
The sambal was savoury and only mildly spicy. It doesn't sting and there was little, if any, spicy aftertaste. For me, the sambal chilli was certainly likable but it did not trigger any longing desire.
The clear slightly oily soup was flavourful, sweet and savoury but without much body or aroma - usually a sign of MSG or related flavour enhancers.
Flipping the mound of noodles over to reveal the sauce. The sauce consisted of mainly oil perfumed by frying shallots and soy sauce.
Simple and nice.
The noodles tossed in the ingredients and sauce (before adding chili as we were sharing this bowl). Not a very photogenic jumble but very likable.
There was an interesting mix of textures - soft gooey egg, al dente noodles, bouncy pork ball, aromatic crunchy fried shallots and stiff "clippings" of crispy fried anchovies.
The dominant flavour was savouriness from the braised minced pork and fried shallots with slight sweet notes.
Our shared SGD4 bowl of "handmade fish ball" soup.
The jiggly jelly like fish ball was larger than a ping pong ball.
The large fish ball was light, soft and jiggled like jelly, airy and felt "watery" 水水 inside.
Likable interesting unique texture. Fish flavour was barely discernible.
The restaurant is focused on efficiency and turnover - a fast working alert staff swooped over to quickly clear our table for the next customer as we were swallowing our last mouthful.
Yes, if I am nearby and my companion hasn't tried it before.
Now, I am really motivated to track down the original 3-decades old push cart Kin Kin chilli pan mee in Kuala Lumpur.
Restaurant name: Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee 建记辣椒板面.
Address: 534 MacPherson Road, Singapore
Hours: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm daily
Date visited: 23 May 2014
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