i was never a fan of bak chor mee until my mother took me to this place on a random afternoon after we collected my passport at the immigration & checkpoints authority. the stall is in a coffeeshop which is behind the immigrations building, and can be accessed via a pedestrian bridge across a canal that’s near the open-air carpark next to the building. one spoonful of the noodles and i was sold!!! (still wouldn’t say i am a bcm convert though, because this is probably the only bcm i ever crave)
i’ve gone back every single time i’m back home and each time, the queue seems to be longer. not sure if its because its become more popular of late or because i’ve just been going at the wrong times, but i think it might be the former since on my most recent visit there, we arrived at 11am (we thought it was the perfect time to beat the lunch crowd) and ended up queuing for 1 hour and 20 minutes. by the time we got our food, everyone at the table still thought it was worth it though, so i guess that means i will be returning to conquer the crowds once my craving for it hits again…
what greeted us when we clambered out of the car at 11am on a weekday morning:half of the queue. there were about 10-15 more people that couldn’t fit into this shot; the queue so long and snaking that i couldn’t even take a panorama shot to get the entire queue in 1 picture lol
by the time we reached the front of the queue, more than an hour had passed and my cousin decided that she needed to order the biggest bowl available ($10) to make the queuing worth it. 😉 the smallest bowl costs $5, and the largest $10:
she managed to finish every single bit of it!!! (as i mentioned before, a huge appetite and thankfully, a high metabolism to accompany it, runs in the family :P) as you can see in the picture below, the bowl itself is actually really large and it comes with a bigger bowl of soup too, but what makes it cost more is actually additional ingredients and not anything else. the noodles given in the $10 portion aren’t significantly more, but if you compare this picture to the next one, you can definitely see the difference in the amount of meat/liver/fried fish/meatballs/dumplings they give! $10 bowl
so what exactly makes this bak chor mee so good?
1. the noodles are cooked to perfection. they aren’t in the least bit overcooked and retain a delicious bite while not being too hard. you’ll also never find bits of clumpy noodles stuck together (that is pretty common in noodles that aren’t as well-cooked). my personal preference is mee kia, but both the mee kia and mee pok are good!
2. the sauce – note that this sauce is a vinegar-based type of sauce so it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. having grown up eating dry noodles in sauce that always includes some vinegar, this to me is the best sauce ever.
3. the chilli is really really good.
4. the ingredients are all delicious. the meat, like the noodles, is perfectly cooked – sweet, tender and not overcooked at all! the liver is crunchy and delicious (my sister who normally avoids liver like the plague actually enjoys this liver), the dumpling is not at all the kind of dumpling that has more skin than filling (in fact many people order a bowl of soup with dumplings on top of their bowl of bcm), and the meatballs are a yummy touch. and the pieces of fried solefish (ti poh) that top the dish are like icing on top of the cake – so good.
another stall in the coffee shop does very good fried dumplings (guo tie) as well as chive pancakes! plus their queue is never as long as the queue for bcm, so this is a great snack as an appetiser or energy boost for the queuing while waiting in line for your noodles! the guo tie is perfectly brown and crispy on the outside without being burnt at all (check out the pic – no black bits in sight!), while the chive pancake is really well done with generous amounts of very fresh and juicy chives. both aren’t too oily as well – barely any oil was found left on the dish when we were done. i would definitely recommend ordering this along with your bak chor mee! the stall that sells these items is the 2nd stall to the left of the bak chor mee stall.
there is a western stall in between the bak chor mee stall and the guo tie stall, and this western stall is supposed to sell very decent coffeeshop-type western food! they actually have newspaper clippings about them stuck at the stall so it must be pretty good! i’ve never been one to go for western food in hawker settings though, so i’ve never given this a try. i guess this is a good option if you’re eating here with young kids who might not fancy or appreciate a bowl of bak chor mee as much as they would a plate of pork chop with fries. L to R: guo tie stall, western stall, bak chor mee stall
there is a carpark right by the coffee shop so its pretty convenient eating here if you drive! if not, walking from lavender mrt which is right by the immigration building is also a breeze. definitely be prepared to queue for about an hour if you head down at lunch/dinner time. if not, going once it opens in the morning (930am if I’m not wrong) or mid-afternoon should help to shorten the waiting time.
although my parents say that there is a stall in hong lim food centre that serves very similar bak chor mee with a shorter queue that moves more quickly, i have yet to try it and so hill street tai hwa pork noodle is currently still my favourite go-to place for bak chor mee in singapore 🙂
UPDATE: aforementioned hong lim bak chor mee has been tried and tested a few times, and unfortunately i have been disappointed each time! i find that its downfall is mainly in its noodles – what you get at hong lim somehow just lacks the same satisfying al-dente bite that hill street tai hwa somehow manages to deliver every. single. time. besides the noodles, i find that the ingredients at hill street tai hwa are always cooked to perfection, never over or underdone whereas the hong lim bak chor mee lacks that same consistency. hill street tai hwa – you have my heart, always and forever! ❤
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
#01-12, Tai Hwa Eating House
466 Crawford Lane