Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Kok Kee Wanton Mee Singapore 国记云吞面 JK1121
To the stall's legion of fans, Kok Kee 国记云吞面 is one of Singapore's very top wanton noodles.
It recently moved to Hoa Nam Building from Lavender Food Centre where it ruled for over two decades, before the popular food centre was demolished in 2014.
I was 3rd in the queue at 12:30 pm today at Kok Kee's Hoa Nam stall.
While waiting in line, one of the things that caught my eye were several large plates of pre-cooked wantons. Bulk pre-cooking helps to keep waiting time down as Kok Kee is manned by just 3 elderly hawkers in their 70s or 80s. Kok Kee is famous for it's long queues.
My SGD5.50 bowl of Kok Kee wanton mee.
This comes with egg noodles topped with 2 wantons, char siew and a couple of token stalks of greens with a small bowl of clear soup. There was not much attention paid to the plating here unlike most wanton mee hawkers. (There is also a smaller, more affordable SGD4.50 version.)
Kok Kee's much loved sauce ponding at the bottom of the bowl ;-p
The deep plastic bowl of noodles was given large splashes of tossing sauce. The heavy brown sauce was robustly savoury, quite sweet, and slightly spicy (as I had requested for chili). There was also lard in the sauce. Saltiness and savouriness were the dominant flavours. There was just a slight lard aroma but no sesame seed oil.
The noodles were generic, relatively thick and heavy. They were cooked soft al dente but not the lively, springy kind. The al dente bite came from a slightly stiffer core in the thick noodles which is not cooked through.
Kudos to the old hawker for his skill in cooking the noodles just right which includes a quick rinse in cool water after dunking in boiling water.
The noodles picked up the drippy tossing sauce well but there was no egg flavour. (If there was any eggy flavour, it was masked by the robustly savoury sauce.)
Kok Kee's unique sauce is widely appealing to Singaporeans who willingly queued to get a taste of their noodles. Personally, I prefer a more balanced, more aromatic sauce with a more varied taste profile.
The thinly sliced char siew were the lean pork boiled in red food colouring type (strictly speaking this is not char siew 叉燒 which is the roasted type).
Though thin, the char siew managed to feel dry and fibrous like a tasteless floppy wet pork jerky. The char siew slices soaked up the tossing sauce well.
The SGD5.50 bowl came with two mushy soft wantons with minced fatty pork filling. There were no shrimps and no sesame flavour.
Clear old school broth with slight porcine flavours and the taste of freshly chopped scallions. There was no anchovy flavour.
Though I am still unconverted at the moment, to the fans of Kok Kee, this is one of Singapore's very best wanton mee.
Restaurant name: Kok Kee Wanton Mee 国记云吞面
Address: Hoa Nam Building, 27 Foch Road (off Jalan Besar), Singapore 209264
GPS: 1.312608, 103.859751
Hours: 12:00 noon to 1:00 am
Date visited: 5 May 2015
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