Sunday, October 11, 2015

Original Simon Road Hokkien Mee - Father to Son

Hokkien Prawn Mee is something I always like to eat outside, but there are not many that can pull this dish off successfully. Geylang's crazy cook is one of them, and undoubtedly one of the most famous ones.

Then, there is the Original Simon Road Hokkien Mee, which has been in existence for more than four decades.

Currently helmed by a father and son team, the elderly part of the cooking duo learnt from his dad who picked up the skill from another master way, way back.

The problem with most other fried hokkien prawn noodles stalls is that they tend to rush the cooking process, and that is something that cannot be compromised when it comes to this Singaporean classic dish.

Messy Goodness

Just like char kway teow, each plate has to be cooked on order to retain that fresh, smoky goodness of the broth infused noodles. I see that a lot of other lazier hawkers tend to par cook the noodles beforehand, and they only lightly warm it up in the pan before serving.

Here, each plate is cooked on the spot. So, be prepared for a slight wait as all good things need a little patience.

Hokkien Prawn Mee

A mix of yellow noodles and bee hoon is the usual way of making this plate of noodles. Cooked with eggs and squid for the protein element, the dish is finished with fresh garlic for a rich and bright coating of flavours.

Served with a lime to add that citrusy and refreshing tone, the son has also resorted to making his own chilli to pair with the well cooked noodles. The combination of the house mad chilli really makes a palpable difference. When eaten together, the dish takes on an extra dimension that left me astonished and very satisfied.

Son and Father

You Ri, the son, has learnt from his dad the art of making Hokkien Mee for 14 years. Yet, he knows he still has a long way to go before he can match his dad's prowess. But for my money, I am more than happy that he can dish up a plate of Hokkien Mee that can stand with the best of the rest.

He is also rather down to earth about this cooking abilities, and admits that he can still do better. And that is a good sign. Just like Jiro who never stops trying to better himself in making sushi, a cook or chef should never get complacent.

Take note also that this eatery is no longer at the actual Simon Road coffeeshop, but has moved across the road to behind Kovan MRT. In the same coffeeshop that used to house my favourite beef noodles. In fact, they took up the same store, which is quite appropriate in a way.

As for dad, he still watches over his son diligently and guides him along the way. It is a good sign.

Well Executed

Media these days is filled with stories of how the hawker tradition is dying and how our food heritage will disappear. Seriously, I have had enough of this negative whining, both online and off.

Food will always be there. Recipes can always be found on the web. Instead of just complaining all the time, people should just harvest what is still there to do something about it. Even if it eventually disappears, there is nothing worse than just being a negative proponent all the time.

Thankfully, You Ri and his dad just goes about doing their thing. And they are willing to learn a little about social media and web to get onboard these platforms to spread the word too. That is what is admirable about them.

Keep doing what they know best, and keep improving their food. And learning new things. And not whine.

Original Simon Road Hokkien Mee
Blk 210 Hougang Street 21 Coffeeshop

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