Singapore’s Hainanese Beef Noodles 新加坡海南牛肉面

Ri Yi Beef Noodles

Singapore’s Hainanese Beef Noodles 新加坡海南牛肉面.

牛肉面 literally translates to Beef Noodles in English.

Beef noodle soup is a Chinese and Taiwanese noodle soup made of stewed or red braised beef, beef broth, vegetables and Chinese noodles. It exists in various forms throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. Stewed beef noodle soup was first created by the Hui people (a Chinese Muslim ethnic group) during the Tang Dynasty of China. The red braised beef noodle soup was invented by the veterans in Kaoshiung, Taiwan who fled from mainland China during the Chinese civil war. – Wikipedia.

In Singapore, Hainanese Beef Noodles comes in two forms, soup or dry. The soup version is clear delicate broth as seen in the photos (background – most stalls’ clear soup version are much lighter in colour like Viet Pho) and the dry version actually comes slathered in thick starchy beef stock gravy. The standard type of noodles used in Beef Noodle is actually made of rice flour without using eggs (spaghetti shaped as seen, which we locals called thick/coarse beehoon or the flat shaped kway teow with the former being more popular).

Ri Yi Beef Noodles

This time round, my friend placed an order for lean sliced beef only.
Behind is the clear broth, aromatic and intense without herbal brew.
The dipping sauces are chilli and chincalok, a local fermented small shrimp sauce served with sliced shallots which can be rather salty but here the version was sweet so I suspect sugar has been added.

Singapore’s Hainanese Beef Noodles in soup form should taste refreshing yet intense. The colour of the soup can be dark or light and very much akin to the Vietnamese Pho Bo without the herbs. When dining with friends, I would order a variety like Mixed Beef Soup which may contain (depending on which vendor you patronise) slices of beef shin, beef tendon, beef stomach (tripes), beef brisket, beef tongue (ox tongue?) and beef balls. The clear broth is believed to have been simmered for at least 5 to 6 hours with some vendors adding fortifying and nutritious Chinese herbs to it.

Ri Yi Beef Noodles

I would love the mixed beef version as I find the ingredients like braised tripes, tendons and brisket more tender.
I also like the texture of springy succulent beef balls better than lean beef.
Beef Noodles are usually accompanied by some preserved salted vegetables and a wedge of lime which adds a salty-tangy appetising element to the dish.

The beef noodles I had here was at Kovan Hub, a Kopitiam (local coffee shop) Ri Yi Beef Noodles at *Blk 210 Hougang Street 21, Singapore 530210. I had it upsized and paid S$5 for it. The noodles were done well without being too al dente or soft, just slippery smooth. The beef gravy was not overly starchy nor the clear broth too cloying. It was a decent meal and although this stall may not be the best (so far searches for best beef noodles came out with those recommended below), I do not mind eating here again except next time round, I’ll order mixed beef ingredients.

UPDATE (2018): Mr. William Lee has kindly informed me (in comments below) that Ri Yi Beef Noodles is now relocated to 965 Upper Serangoon Road (MEE SEK FOOD COURT) behind Ponggol Nasi Lemak 椰飯 > 25 meter away from KOVAN MRT Station.

Below are some recommendation on where to eat Beef Noodles in Singapore. They are in no particular rating order as I believe taste is a personal and subjective matter.

Hock Lam Street Beef Kway Teow
22 China St, #01-01 Far East Square
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 9.30am-8pm; Sat, Sun & PH:10.30am-5pm
Price: From $5.50

Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodles
Yeap Coffee Shop
27 Maude Road
Opening hours: Tues-Sun: 11am-3pm; closed on Mon
Price: From $3

Bugis (Long House) Lim Kee Beef Noodle
Golden Mile Food Centre #B1-27
Opening hours: Daily: 11am-9pm
Price: From $3

Beef Kway Teow
#01-19 Changi Village Hawker Centre
Opening hours: Daily:11am-9pm
Price: From $3

Kheng Fatt Beef Noodles
Golden Mile Food Centre #01-89
Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 11am-8pm; closed on Wed
Price: From $3

Happy food hunting 🙂

20 Responses to “Singapore’s Hainanese Beef Noodles 新加坡海南牛肉面”
  1. I can barely heard the slurrrping sounds here Sam
    have a nice week!

  2. Sheryl says:

    mmm-it looks delicious! I also enjoyed learning about the history of the soup.

    • Sam Han says:

      All Chinese but especially Cantonese dialect group are very meticulous about the nutritional value of soup. I hope you will continue to enjoy my blog 🙂

  3. Peter Archbold says:

    Kovan Ri Yi is my fave place for beef noodles. Usually when places are this good, you have to queue but surprisingly when I was there there was no queue at all. I suppose it must be one of the many hidden gems!

  4. “slices of beef shin, beef tendon, beef stomach (tripes), beef brisket, beef tongue (ox tongue?) and beef balls. ”
    When hosts in China asked my what I don’t eat, I would reply “nei-zang (gizzards), hair, feet, tails, noses, ears, eyes, teeth, anything still moving…”
    They would laugh, but still ignore it.

  5. Max says:

    I believe the stall has shifted from Blk 210 Hougang St 21

    • Sam Han says:

      Yes I heard they have shifted but do not know where. Do you? Thanks Max for the update 😀

      • Max says:

        Not sure so now I have my beef noodles at Blk 203 Hougang St 21 Coffeeshop – Cheng Kee Beef noodles

        • Sam Han says:

          So Cheng Kee must be good then? 😀

          • Max says:

            It depends on who is cooking on that day. The boss has two young apprentices. I went there 4 times, the one with goatee cooks well on both days I went there. The other guy overcooked the beef once when I went there but it was just nice last Saturday when the boss was there beside him. You can go and try yourself.

        • Sam Han says:

          Max, have you tried the char kway teow in blk 203? My friend says nice. Let me know if you also think nice. Then i kill 2 birds in one stone, lol… 😀

          • Max says:

            yes, the char kuay teow is nice. I normally go before 12pm or after 1:30pm for the beef noodles. The stall sells pomfret steamboat at night.

          • Sam Han says:

            Promfet steamboat, also popular? Lol… You are making me greedy. Can have 3 meals there and loiter in between. Do you know if they have off days? Thanks for the tips 😀

  6. Max says:

    You must be prepared to queue though…

  7. William Lee says:

    Ri Yi Beef Noodles is now relocate at 965 Upper Serangoon Road (MEE SEK FOOD COURT) behind Ponggol Nasi Lemak 椰飯 > 25 meter away from KOVAN MRT Station

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