Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee at ABC Market is one of the best loved Hokkien mee stalls in Singapore with a huge following spanning 4 generations.
My SGD6 plate of Yi Sheng fried Hokkien mee.
It comes with 3 good sized prawns, a scattering of squid rings and sambal chili on a mound of simmered and fried yellow noodles and bee hoon.
Yi Sheng's Hokkien mee was moist with stock and lard, but not drippy wet. The noodles were tender and well smothered with the savoury sweet crustacean and lard flavoured stock with garlicky, eggy notes. The robustly flavoured garlicky noodles and bee hoon were delicious.
There were 3 of this generously good sized fresh prawns in the SGD6 plate of Yi Sheng Hokkien mee. The prawns were tender and sweet. The thick cut squid rings in the Hokkien mee were also tender with a slight bouncy chew. There was, however, no belly pork strips in Yi Sheng's Hokkien mee. The boss said that they stopped adding belly pork in the noodles after the Nipah virus episode in the late 1990s. There was also no lard crackles ;-p
Yi Sheng's signature sambal chili has a robust savoury flavour with anchovies and dried prawns with some spiciness. Mr Toh, the stall owner, makes this sambal chili himself using his dad's recipe.
This sambal chili is so popular with customers that it is like the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that gave Yi Sheng the edge over the competition. But, I used the sambal chili only sparingly as I found it shifts the taste profile of the Hokkien mee a bit too much for my liking. Cut fresh chili peppers is my preferred hot spice for Hokkien mee ;-D
We like Yi Sheng's Hokkien mee so much that we followed up immediately with a second round of this SGD4 plate (that comes with 1 x prawn).
Friendly and jovial Mr Toh Seng Wang 苏承旺先生 said his father founded Yi Sheng as a push cart stall in old Tiong Bahru. Mr Toh took over from his dad in the 1980s and moved into ABC Market. Without prompting, Mr Toh lamented that Yi Sheng will not continue into the next generation as his children all have other professional careers.
"As long as I can wake up in the morning, I will be cooking" quipped Mr Toh 苏承旺先生 as he playfully tossed another splash of prawn and bone stock into the simmering wok of Hokkien mee. Mr Toh, who is 66 this year, obviously enjoys what he is doing. "建國一代 (Pioneer Generation)", almost beating his chest as he proudly declared.
Covering the simmering Hokkien mee and stock with a heavy wooden lid is a crucial step that infuses the flavours deep into the noodles.
When I was leaving, I complimented Mr Toh on his delicious Hokkien mee and that many people love it too, he replied modestly as he ladled in a large scoop of aromatic lard to the noodles, "Oh no, it just happened to suit your taste buds that's all". Reflexively deflecting credit back to the happy customer - hawker master indeed.
See that skinny white wire hanging from Mr Toh's right ear? He is not listening to music nor is it a hearing aid. It's his telephone ear phone. Mr Toh encourages his customers to call him personally at hp: 9862-9296 to pre-order so that they don't have to wait too long for their Hokkien mee. Now, that is customer care.
The official name of this popular sprawling food centre with over 200 hawker stalls is ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre but everyone just calls it "ABC Market".
Restaurant name: Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee 中峇鲁益生炒福建虾面
Address: #01-13, ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre, Blk 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore
GPS: 1.286885, 103.807618
Hours: 3:00pm to 10:30pm
Date visited: 10 May 2015
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