Photo: The Straits Times

The cooler-than-normal weather calls for a steaming hot bowl of noodles for lunch. I find exactly that at Yi Zun Beef Noodle, nestled in one of the small side streets behind Mustafa Centre.

The halal joint, which serves hand-pulled noodle dishes, is owned by a Chinese-Muslim couple from China. The experience is even more authentic since you can see the chef skilfully hand-pulling and banging the noodles on his worktop through a glass window.

Even though it is before noon on a weekday, my dining companion and I are promptly told that there are only two options available that day: hand-pulled noodles with sliced beef or minced chicken ($7.80 each). Thankfully, that is exactly what we are there to try.


Photo: Facebook / Yi Zhun Beef Noodles

Other menu items include hand-pulled noodles with vegetables ($6.80), braised beef or sliced chicken ($7.80 each).

Be prepared to wait at least 20 minutes. When the bowls arrive, the portions are generous.


Photo: Facebook / Yi Zhun Beef Noodles

I like that the minced chicken in soya bean paste, and garnishes of julienned carrots and cucumber, beansprouts, coriander leaves, chopped celery and soya beans, arrive on the side so you can customise your bowl of dry noodles.

Add in dried chilli paste before tossing the springy noodles and you are sorted. The fresh, handmade noodles are so light that I don’t start to feel full until more than halfway through the bowl.


Photo: Facebook / Yi Zhun Beef Noodles

While I am more used to having zha jiang mian, or soya bean paste noodles with minced pork, the chicken alternative is equally delicious and hits the spot.

With the sliced beef noodles, the stand-out is the light broth, which is not too salty, but rich enough to carry the noodles, scallions and tender, thin beef slices.

There is also an assortment of zi char dishes such as stir-fried kang kong ($5.80) and the house special, Xinjiang big plate chicken or da pan ji ($14.80), but most dishes are subject to availability on the day.

The restaurant, which seats about 30, was full before noon and there was a line outside by 12.30pm – all this despite the rain. So go early if you want to snag a table.


This article was first published at The Straits Times.