Friday, February 8, 2013

Zhen Ming Prawn Noodles

Sometimes, there are surprises around the corner when you least expect it, and just this week, one of these gems just simply popped out of nowhere, and is in fact, quite near to where I stay.

Out of one part of Ang Mo kio, is this humble little hawker stall that serves, IMHO, the best prawn noodles, better than the Bedok one that I recently raved about.

Zhen Ming actually started in Tampines before moving to Serangoon and finally, landed here just on the outskirts of Keban Bahru.

The owner, William Chan, was kind enough to share with me that he has been constantly improving his recipe over the years, and was quick to point out that his present dish is far different from his original prawn noodles. And so much better.

Black Sugar Cane

One of the key ingredients is the use of black sugar cane to flavor his prawn stock, as opposed to rock sugar which many other hawkers use. Black sugar cane elicits a more natural sweetness and he was very proud to say that he does not use any form of MSG at all.

In addition, he also use a hen for his stock and includes red dates to balance the flavors, and this is in addition to the classic use of pork ribs.

Prawn Noodles Soup

So what was the verdict? Well, it was simply incredible. From the first spoon of prawn broth until the last, the whole dish was addictive and unstoppable. Well it had less of a prawn flavor, I actually preferred this balance of pork and prawn flavors, and the beautiful color of the soup clearly verified how good this stock was.

It was robust, flavorsome and just the right amount of natural sweetness that came together in a perfect brew. The prawns were also nicely cooked and generous. And the pork ribs were actually Brazilian sourced.

Unlike Australian pork, Brazilian pork had a lighter color and a more tender bite and a better fat content that almost matched the best prime ribs in bak kut teh. And yes, he cooked it under low heat to create the perfect pork texture.

Dry Version

The dry version was less spectacular, but that was because it did not have the impact of the spectacular broth to flavor the noodles, but still, it was hearty and robust and you simply cannot go wrong with the wonderful pork ribs from Brazil, soup or dry.

Forget the Adam roads, the Blancos, the Hoe Nams, the best prawn noodle is here. Blanco has been overrated and the prawn stock has nothing when compared to Zhen Ming, and Mr Chan has a true passion for making his prawn noodles, and that itself is more than admirable.

Unless there is another more passionate hawker than Mr Chan when it comes to this classic Singapore dish, my vote goes to Zhen Ming.

Zhen Ming
Blk 162, Ang Mo Kio Ave 4