Monday, 16 February 2015

Kim Bak Chor Mee Pok Tah in Singapore 金肉脞面

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面

Like many Singaporeans, when I think of comfort street food, I think of bak chor mee 肉脞面, the mee pok tah 面薄干 version. That is minced pork noodles, the flat noodle (fettuccine) version.

Bak chor mee is often the last thing I eat before leaving Singapore for longer trips overseas. (There is a so, so tasting one at the Singapore Changi Airport staff canteen in Terminal 1, but that's the only accessible one before boarding.)

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Today, Uncle Bob took me to taste his favourite bak chor mee stall, Kim Bak Chor Mee 金肉脞面 in the Balestier area in Singapore.

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面
Photo credit: With thanks to Uncle Bob

When I arrived at the stall in Kian Lian Restaurant Coffee Shop, Mr. Ng, the boss was eating his own bak chor mee. I commented that many bosses told me that they don't eat their own food because they are bored with it.

Mr. Ng shared that when he was first starting out, one of his old bosses told him that as a food seller, they should only sell food that they themselves also enjoy eating. Mr. Ng has kept to this laudable principle all these years, eating his own bak chor mee twice a day.

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面

Mr Ng started work as a kitchen help at age 11. After working in restaurants, Mr Ng founded the popular Sing Hing Seafood Bak Kut Teh stall at the now demolished Lakeview food centre near MacRitchie Reservoir. Many of his regular bak kut teh customers were sweaty park users who congregated at his BKT stall after exercising. 


Mr Ng's supporters included both the man-in-the-street and top public figures. In Singapore, appreciation of good hawker food is democratic and a great social leveller. Mr. Ng's BKT was so popular that he was known by his nickname Mr. Bak Kut.

Mr. Ng had since changed trade from selling bak kut teh to hawking bak chor mee - but this nickname, Mr. Bak Kut and some of his die hard BKT fans still followed him. (Mr. Ng pointed out to me a few of his loyal fans from his BKT days - elderly gentlemen - eating at his stall today.)

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面

Uncle Bob had his usual of mee kia bak chor mee (SGD4). Mee kia is slender wheat noodles.

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面

I had my usual of mee pok tah bak chor mee (SGD4).

The noodles and the add ons were served separately in a bowl of hot broth. Uncle Bob suggested moving the add ons from the bowl of broth to the bowl of noodles. This will prevent the thin pork and liver slices from hardening due to overcooking in the hot broth.

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面

The pork and liver slices were fresh and thus tasted naturally sweet. The fish balls and pork balls were generic factory made.

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面

Bak chor mee, of course, will have bak chor (minced pork). The pork minced was coarse ground, with a mix of fat and meat. The minced pork was blanched in broth. Mr. Ng used fresh pork, so the minced pork was bouncy tender and nicely sweet. I like it, though I didn't eat too much of these as I am watching my cholesterol ;-p

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面

Kim's lard crackle was outstanding. Mr. Ng fried the lard crackle till golden brown just before it starts to char. Crispy outside and the inside still moist with aromatic oil. It had an almost peanutty crunch.

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面

The noodles were cooked soft al dente.


The tossing sauce had quite robust flavours, heavy on soy sauce and lard. The chili sauce blended with hae bee (dried shrimps) was salty and just mildly spicy. There was little vinegar which was good as I am not a fan of tart, sourish flavours. (You can ask friendly Mr. Ng to give you more vinegar, if you like.)

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Being a former bak kut teh boss, Mr. Ng knows his broth. Made with stock bones and sweetened with rock sugar, Kim Bak Chor Mee's broth was light bodied, and mildly savoury sweet. It was drinkable as it was not overly greasy and had little or no MSG.

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What really caught my attention was the braised mushrooms.

The sliced mushrooms were bouncy tender, silky smooth and spongy with deeply infused savoury sweet flavours from the braising sauce.

Kim-Bak-Chor-Mee-Singapore-金肉脞面

I liked Kim's braised mushrooms so much that I asked Mr. Ng if he serves a version with just the braised mushrooms. Mr. Ng said yes. Many customers asked for it this way.

Bak chor mee mai bak chor. (Minced pork noodles without minced pork ;-p  )

Yay!

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Bak chor mee mai bak chor (SGD3).

Full of flavours and interesting bite from the mushrooms and mee kia. (I prefer Kim's mee kia better than their mee pok as it had a better mouthfeel.)


The bak chor mee mai bak chor is all flavour and not much nourishment. But hey, ain't all the good things in life the same? Like roti prata kosong, putu mayam, kaya toast, you char kway, and other tasty goodies? 


By the way, movies, music, books, internet also the same, but that's another long story. This is just a food blog ;-p

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Kim Bak Chor Mee stall is in Kian Lian Restaurant Coffee Shop.

The big signboards of 十口海鲜 Shi Kou Seafood hang outside the coffee shop. The coffee shop is at the T-junction of Ah Hood Road and Balestier Road.

My primary school, Balestier Hill West Primary School used to be on the little hilltop right across this junction. The school has been demolished some years ago :-(


Restaurant name: Kim Bak Chor Mee 金肉脞面

Address558 Balestier Road, #01-400 (junction of Ah Hood Road), Singapore
Maphttp://bit.ly/KimBakChorMee
Hours: 7:30am to 3:00pm (closed on Friday)

Non Halal


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5 comments:

  1. Just 20 meters away, there is another very good one at jalan Datoh, cafe de Hong Kong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK shall that too. Thanks for the tip off.

      Delete
  2. I need to go and try this. My favourite is Tai Hwa and Seng Kee.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like Tai Hwa too. Shall blog bout Tai Hwa after my next visit.

      Delete
  3. I tried this before. The soup is weak and not fantastic. Really nothing to shout about and tai hwa (north bridge road) is much better. Even the soupy ones at bedok north hawker center is better than this.

    ReplyDelete

I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is the same as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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