Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist at Hong Lim Food Centre

For me, I have always had a hard time finding great wanton noodle stalls here. And so far, Nam Seng has been my favorite simply because it gets most of the things right in a bowl of wanton mee.

But it is not perfect. And that is the problem with wanton noodles. You simply cannot find one perfect bowl where the noodles are perfect, the sauce is perfect, the wantons are perfect and the char siew is perfect.

And so it is that I have basically resigned to the fact that there will never be a perfect wanton noodle stall for me. But, at least, there are some great ones that only misses one component or another, like Nam Seng.

This weekend, I managed to revisit Ji Ji whom I have not been to for nearly 3 years, and thankfully, the food here is still excellent, but not perfect. It is highly popular now, extending over 2 stalls and having a persistent queue during lunch hour.

Mushroom Sauced Wanton Noodles

There were a few distinguishing factors about this bowl of wanton mee. First, the noodles here are much thicker and had more of that "kee" flavor. That strong yellowy look and taste of it, which honestly, I did not fancy that much. And it was cooked quite al dente, and not soft and soggy like most wanton mee.

That aside, what I really liked was the tasty mushroom sauce/gravy that coated the noodles and helped to remove some of the "kee" taste. There were slices of mushrooms as well and overall, it was very generous for a $3 bowl. Loved the sauce, but not the noodles. The char siew was quite par and finely sliced.

Lovely Wantons

The wantons which were served separately in a bowl of broth were beautiful. Not miserly at all, the wantons were very well seasoned and had a nice texture and bite into it. The flavors were nice within, and even the broth had a more intense chicken flavor to it, and did not taste diluted at all. One of the better wantons I have tasted so far.

Shrimp Dumplings

The shui jiao, or shrimp dumplings were, surprisingly, even superior to the already excellent wantons. They were enormous and generous both in the portioning and in the size of each dumpling.

Inhabiting the same seasoning as the wantons, I could clearly make out the texture of the shrimp within, and it still had a lovely crunch to it. And for $3, it was definitely worth it for the value it brought. Great taste, generous and delicious, it was simply the star of the meal.

Despite its popularity, what I really enjoyed about this stall was the value for money that the food brought. In this era of high food costs, it is reassuring and comforting to know that you can get a very full and delicious meal for under $10 for 2 bowls of wanton mee and a bowl of shrimp dumplings.

Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist
531A Upper Cross Street
#02-49 Hong Lim Food Centre

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