[CLOSED] China Street Cooked Food: It’s not just good for rickshaw noodles!
One of the original hawkers of Maxwell Food Centre who shifted from China Street, China Street Cooked Food has periodically been featured in the media because they sell a dish that is practically impossible to find in Singapore anymore: la che mian (rickshaw noodles).
The stall started operations along the streetside at China Street in 1943 before shifting to Maxwell Food Centre in 1978 and it is now run by second-generation owner 71-year-old Soh Pho Tee.
Their signature dish, rickshaw noodles ($1-1.50) was popular with rickshaw pullers during the early days of Singapore. The dish consists of thick Hokkien-style yellow noodles served in a light dried shrimp and vegetable stock broth with fried onions and green vegetable stands.
The noodles and vegetables are stewed to an extremely soft consistency, to the point where there is virtually no texture left. The upside is that the broth is made richer as a result. It has a lovely round, savoury stock flavour that tastes comfortingly homemade. The fried onions on top adds a different flavour so that it’s not the same flavour throughout.
They also sell another relatively hard to find dish: a stripped-down version of Hokkien mee sua ($1-1.50; wheat noodles), minus the shredded chicken, ginger and boiled egg. The broth has a delicate savouriness, but there are more condiments as compared to the rickshaw noodles — spring onions, dried mushroom, dried shrimp which lend its flavours to the stock.
As people tend to order the rickshaw noodles, their other Chinese breakfast staples tend to get overshadowed which shouldn’t be the case as this stall is actually one of the few places that do a good economic beehoon (fried staples with a wide selection of fried items like canned sausages, fishcake and the like).
They have added a few enhancements to make it a few notches above what you averagely get.
First is the homemade ngoh hiang, an item which is not commonly offered in many economic bee hoon or ngoh hiang stalls. Even though the are small in size, each piece is filled with meat, bits of pork fat and minimal fillers, it is pure savouriness, pork fat richness with a hint of sweetness in the taste.
The other fried items ($0.20 to $0.80) are factory-made but there are certain items — like the hard tofu and canned sausages — which are only fried when an order is placed, so that it is fresh and crispy when you tuck into it.
Besides the standard fried yellow noodles and bee hoon, they also offer fried thin kway teow which is fairly unusual and there is a surprising amount of oil-richness and savoury flavour. If you eat alot of economic beehoon, you’ll know that the extra flavour is a big plus as the fried staples usually come quite bland.
The other highlight are their chilli sauces. It has a rough texture with real chilli bits and there are two pots to choose from: sweet and sour. Pick your fancy or mix the two for a more balanced sweet/sour taste.
Alas, they don’t offer fried chicken wings. A shame as it would be the perfect economic beehoon stall in town.
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