Sunday, 11 September 2016
Ah Kow Mushroom Minced Pork Mee at Hong Lim Food Centre Singapore 亚九香菇肉脞麺 ⭐⭐⭐✱✱
I lost count of the number of times I came to visit Ah Kow Mushroom Minced Pork Mee in Hong Lim Food Centre and left disappointed that the shutters were down. I tried my luck again today and was so thrilled to catch this sight - Ah Kow is opened and there was a long line of people waiting to taste his famous bak chor mee.
Old Mr Cher founded this noodle stall in 1945 and he is in his 80s now. After over 70 years, starting work at 1:00am to prepare the broth and ingredients, old Mr Cher is a little worn out. Mr Cher who was in his signature white cotton Teochew chef outfit was bended over as he worked - his movements were still fluid, if slightly slow. The younger gentleman helping out is a family friend.
Ah Kow now opens for business only on Saturday and Sunday, 7:00am to 2:00pm. Waiting time is at least 30 minutes.
This was my third bowl of noodles from my Chinatown area exploration this morning, so I opted for the smallest SGD5 serving. There's a SGD6 serving and add-ons like dried sole fish SGD2, braised mushroom SGD1 etc.
Ah Kow also serves a Teochew dumpling soup which I shall come back for another day.
The mound of yellow ribbon noodles (mee pok) is set in a pool of blended sauce then topped with blanched mince pork, lean pork slices, braised mushroom and a couple of dumplings. (hmmm.... no pork liver..... )
The tossing sauce is robustly savoury spicy with underlying lard and black vinegar tang - a strong tasting savoury-spicy-tangy-porky sauce is a well tested and tried formula of most popular bak chor mee stalls in Singapore. I love it.
(If you like even more vinegar tanginess in your noodles, help yourself to the squeeze bottles of black vinegar at the counter.)
Mr Cher expertly cooked the noodles half a notch above soft al dente. I like this soft crunchy texture.
The noodles were well covered with a wet slick coat of savoury spicy flavours. They were slurpily delicious.
There were a couple of these large dumplings - it's like a little flour dough envelope done soft and smooth with a tiny knob of soft minced pork inside the folds. It's delicious though it's mostly flour skin wet with sauce.
There was one piece of crispy dried sole fish 扁鱼 (ti poh) in the bowl. It's nice - ti poh or it's absence, separates good bak chor mee from the average in many people's minds. (Personally, I prefer ti poh imparting flavours into a soup than served crisp atop noodles.)
Customers can help themselves to as much lard crackling as they like. The lard cracklings were not crispy - I guess it's already late in the business day at around 1:30pm when I had these.
The accompanying soup was mildly savoury and rather flat tasting.
3-Star Ah Kow serves a nice robustly flavoured, definitive Singapore bak chor mee. If you are around Hong Lim food centre on a Sat or Sun from morning till noon, Ah Kow is one of the heritage food stalls to check out.
Restaurant name: Ah Kow Mushroom Minced Pork Mee 亚九香菇肉脞麺
Address: Upper Cross Street, #02-43, Hong Lim Food Centre, Singapore
GPS: 1°17'07.5"N 103°50'45.7"E | 1.285411, 103.846018
Hours: 7:00am to 2:00pm Sat and Sun only.
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