Image: Mak’s noodle
Diners slurping up plates of wonton noodles is a common sight in hawker centres, coffee shops and foodcourts.
After all, the dish of egg noodles, char siew and pork-filled dumplings makes for a satisfying meal any time of the day.
And with the entry of famous Hong Kong brand Mak’s Noodle earlier this month at The Centrepoint, the wonton noodle scene has become piping hot.
Long queues have formed for the famous wonton noodles from Hong Kong and the spotlight is on the different versions of the noodles that are available in Singapore.
Besides the craze for the prawn-filled wontons and thin egg noodles in broth, diners are spoilt for choice with the range of wonton noodles available here.
Everyone has a favourite stall selling the traditional local version of the dish, as well as the dark soya sauce-based Malaysian version.
Just four months ago, Life reported that a slew of Thai-style wonton noodle shops had opened, serving the noodles spiced up with fish sauce, chilli flakes and Thai herb- based chilli sauce, among other ingredients.
There are even hipster wonton noodles, served at the month-old Wanton Seng’s Noodle Bar in Amoy Street. The humble dish is tricked out with sous vide char siew, braised pork belly and XO sauce.
Business owners say there is healthy competition among the shops, but also that each version has its own following.
Wanton Seng’s head chef Benson Ng, 28, says: “Even though all the wonton mee places use the same foundation ingredients, I believe each style is unique in its own way, made to cater to different taste buds and also a reflection of different cultures.”
He spent two years training under the owner of Seng’s Wanton Noodles. The restaurant is a joint venture between Seng’s Wanton Noodles – which has two other branches in Bedok South Food Centre and Bedok Marketplace in Simpang Bedok – and The Establishment Group, which owns modern European restaurant Pluck in Club Street and Gem Bar in Ann Siang Hill.
Public relations executive Shannon Koh, 31, who works in the Amoy Street area, went to Wanton Seng’s last week.
She says: “I’ve always been a fan of Seng’s at Dunman Food Centre and now that Wanton is near my office, I can eat it even more often. It tastes pretty similar to me and the chilli is always spot on.”
Other wonton noodle fans are seeking out more far-flung options.
Software engineer Jeremy Pang, 27, a wonton noodle fan, has to eat it at least once a week.
He counts Kok Kee Wanton Mee in Foch Road and Sarawak Kolo Mee in Tampines among his favourites.
Recently, he also tried the Thai version at Foon’s Thai Recipe in Old Airport Road Food Centre.
He says: “Since my childhood days, I have been eating wonton noodles for lunch. I guess it’s comfort food for me. I still like the local version the best, although I do enjoy the Thai-style ones because they are very spicy.”
Foon’s Thai Recipe’s owner, Madam Foon Sangon, 34, who has lived in Singapore for 17 years, says that local diners are catching on to Thai wonton noodles.
She says: “My sauce is a special blend of Thai herbs, like what you find in Bangkok.
“People like the Thai version because they already like the Singapore-style wonton noodles.”
Banking on the trend, she opened a second Foon’s Thai Recipe earlier this month at a coffee shop in Mei Ling Street. And on National Day, she will open a stall selling Thai coconut ice cream and Thai ice tea ice cream in Old Airport Road Food Centre, just across from her current stall.
Others in the pipeline include Hong Kong Wonton Noodles, a wonton mee outlet by sushi restaurant chain Itacho Sushi. It opens next month in Plaza Singapura.
Looking forward to more wonton noodle shops opening, retired teacher Georgina Tan, 66, says: “I’m a big fan of the Hong Kong-style noodles. Hopefully, more of them come to Singapore. I like the plump shrimp wontons and the thin noodles.
“I don’t think anyone will have a problem with more wonton noodle shops opening as there are already so many in the coffee shops and hawker centres. Hopefully, the new ones would have higher standards – better char siew and wonton.”
What: Wonton mee goes glam with ingredients such as sous vide char siew and XO sauce at month- old Wanton Seng’s Noodle Bar.
Hawker stall A Noodle Story serves the noodles with crispy potato-wrapped prawn and ajitsuke tamago (Japanese marinated soft-boiled egg).
#1 Wanton Seng’s Noodle Bar
Image: Wanton Seng’s Noodle Bar
Price: From $5.50
Where: 52 Amoy Street, open: 11am to 11pm (Monday to Thursday), 11 to 1am (Friday), 5pm to 1am (Saturday), closed on Sunday
Info: Call 6221-1336 or go to wantonsg.com/
#2 A Noodle Story
Image: My Paper
Where: 01-39 Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road, open: 11am to 2.30pm, 5 to 7.30pm (weekday), 10am to 2pm (Saturday), closed on Sunday
HONG KONG STYLE
What: Thin strands of egg noodles served with plump, prawn-filled wontons. The soup is generally made with pork bones and dried flat-fish, among other ingredients.
#3 Mak’s Noodle
Image: Mak’s noodle
Price: $6.90 (soup), $8.30 (dry with shrimp roe and oyster sauce)
Where: 01-63/64 The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road, open: 11am to 4pm, 5 to 10pm daily
Info: Call 6235-5778
#4 Noodle Place Restaurant
Image: Noodle Place Restaurant
Price: $8 (soup), $8.80 (dry)
Where: 01-17 Orchardgateway, 277 Orchard Road, open: 10am to 10pm daily
Info: Call 6733-3171
#5 Crystal Jade Kitchen
Image: Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts
Price: $8.60 (soup), $8.80 (dry)
Where: All nine Crystal Jade Kitchen outlets including The Clementi Mall, Great World City and Suntec City, various opening hours
What: This is a favourite among Singaporeans who visit Bangkok. The dry egg noodles are meant to be tossed in a mix of ingredients and condiments such as fish sauce, crushed nuts, chilli flakes, chilli sauce made from Thai herbs, sugar and pork lard.
#6 Soi 19
Image: ST File
Price: From $3.50
Where: Block 151, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5, Stall 5, open: 7.15am to 3.30pm, Wednesday to Sunday, closed on Monday and Tuesday
#7 Foon’s Thai Recipe
Image: Kenneth Goh
Price: From $4
Where: Two outlets at 01-65 Block 51 Old Airport Road Food Centre, and Brewcoffee Shop, 01-74 Block 158 Mei Ling Street, open: 10am to 9pm daily except Wednesday (Old Airport), 9am to 3pm daily (Mei Ling)
#8 Baamee Bangkok
Where: Two outlets at 45 Syed Alwi Road and 01-176 Block 177 Toa Payoh Central, open: 11am to 9pm, Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Monday (Syed Alwi); 11am to 7.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Monday (Toa Payoh)
#9 Khun Mee Thai
Image: The New Paper
Price: From $5.80
Where: 02-32/34 Bedok Point, 799 New Upper Changi Road, open: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30 to 9.30pm (Sunday to Thursday), 11.30am to 10pm (Friday and Saturday)
Info: Call 6445-9932
What: Different parts of Malaysia offer varying versions of wonton mee. The main difference from what is served here is that the non-chilli version of the noodles are tossed in dark soya sauce.
In Sarawak, the popular kolo mee includes stewed minced meat in addition to char siew and wontons.
#10 Sarawak Kolo Mee
Image: BT File
Price: From $4
Where: 01-44 Tampines Round Market & Food Centre, Block 137 Tampines Street 11, open: 6am to 3pm daily
#11 Pontian Wanton Noodles
Price: From $2.80
Where: More than 30 outlets including Nex, Jem and Far East Plaza, various opening hours
#12 Jia Xiang Sarawak Kuching Kolo Mee
Price: From $6
Where: Five outlets including Marina Square, Icon Village and VivoCity, various opening hours
What: The local wonton noodles is found in almost every food centre or coffee shop. The egg noodles come topped with sliced char siew, pork-filled wontons and chye sim. Dry versions come tossed in chilli, dark sauce and sometimes ketchup. It is also common to eat the noodles and wontons with sliced green chilli.
#13 Fei Fei Wan Tan Mee
Image: ST File
Where: 62 Joo Chiat Place, 18 Clementi Road, open 24 hours daily
#14 Kok Kee Wanton Noodle
Where: Lavender Food Hub @ Zhuge Liang, Hoa Nam Building, 27 Foch Road, open: 1pm till sold out
#15 Eng’s Noodle House
Image: Business Times
Where: 287 Tanjong Katong Road, open: 11am to 9pm daily
Info: Call 8688-2727
#16 Koka Wanton Noodles
Price: From $3
Where: 01-99, 861 North Bridge Road, open: 9.30pm to midnight, Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Monday