13 Oct 2015
Hong Kong Wonton Noodle
The story behind Hong Kong Wonton Noodle is hardly riveting: it’s run by the Hongkong-based Taste of Japan Group, which owns the Itacho Sushi chain of eateries. There are no big name chefs here, just a team of cooks headed by one from Hongkong and another from Singapore who “both have more than 15 years experience making Hongkong-style wonton noodles,” says the company rep. In other words: it’s no Mak’s Noodle. And that’s why we took our time to come by for a meal, about a month and a half after it opened.
THE LOOK: Burrowed within the busy basement of Plaza Singapura, this space is typical of most HK-style noodle shops: cramped, brightly-lit and no-frills with the noodle-flipping chefs visible via a glass-walled kitchen. A splash of colour from the patterned windows and marble-topped tables give the casual eatery some character.
13 Oct 2015
Prawn Wonton Noodle
THE FOOD: We admit we came here with zero expectations — especially when earlier online reviews of the food here were less than glowing. So, we are pleasantly surprised by the Prawn Wonton Noodle (above, $6.80 small; $7.80 large).
We order the small bowl, which is substantially larger than the teensy one at Mak’s. There are four plump pork dumplings (five for the large bowl) studded with fat chunks of crunchy prawn and wonderfully pungent fried flat fish. These are tasty, and the egg noodles al dente. But the star is the faintly orange-brown broth boiled with sweet amaebi Japanese prawn heads and pig bones. It’s umami, peppery and brimming with flavour, unlike, um, Mak’s.
13 Oct 2015
Prawn Wonton Dry Noodle
However, the locally-made noodles here are inferior to Mak’s, turning soggy after a few mouthfuls. Safer to order it in the Prawn Wonton Dry Noodle (above, $7.80), which is tossed in what tastes like a medium-grade but rather tasty oyster sauce. Comes with a small bowl of soup, which, gasp, costs $1 for a refill. But we must say the wontons are less delicious on our second visit: they appear to have been par-boiled, then tossed together with our dry noodles just upon order, resulting in hardened skins.
The Stewed Beef Brisket Dry Noodle ($7.80) is pleasant: fairly tender lean cuts of meat in a reasonably rich, five-spice powder-spiked soy gravy. Order it with the thin noodles and not the mee pok, which though springy, doesn’t grip the sauce quite as well. If you must have a side dish, try the Deep-Fried Pig’s Trotter in Red Fermented Beancurd Sauce ($10.80). It’s like the Chinese version of German pork knuckle. Crunchy, gelatinous, and shot with a faint yeastiness from the fermented bean curd.
VERDICT: Decent noodles (which, alas, turn soft in a heartbeat), delicious soup, flavourful wontons — when the cooking is consistent, that is.
#B2-25 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Rd, S238839. Tel: 6694-0923. Open daily 10am-9.30pm. Last orders at 9.15pm. https://www.facebook.com/hkwonton