My flight from Macau got delayed and I landed in Singapore at around 9.30pm on 2nd January. I got home, unpacked and went out for a drink of vodka and cranberry since my children were at the movies.
Whilst at the pub, I met Danny who was about to go collect his supper. He mentioned the magic word “wanton mee”. That got my radar up! The wanton mee stall he was talking about was none other than Koka Wanton Noodles located at North Bridge Road. I told Danny I had been there 3 times and each time, the stall was sold out. He said he’d pre-ordered 3 packets of which one was an extra and I could have it. What a charmer
Although Danny had assured that take-aways from Koka tasted just as delicious (even 4 hours later – hmmm… exaggeration?), we decided we should eat there instead as soup is reserved for dine-in only (no soup for take-aways) and so I hopped into his car.
We reached North Bridge Road Market & Food Centre after about 10 minutes’ ride.
Koka’s stall seemed closed for the day as its signboard was not lighted. I was told that the stall’s signboard does not lit up even during their short operation time of 4 hours. Danny went up to the stall to announce his arrival and in less than 5 minutes, we received our food.
I was pleasantly surprised
when I saw my plate of noodles; besides charsiu (叉燒 – bbq pork) and mustard greens (菜心 – caixin), there were extra ingredients like stewed mushrooms and shredded chicken. I was bowled over when I saw bits of crispy lard camouflaged between the strands of noodles… I had to ask Danny, “This is wanton mee?”
I did not come with very high expectation of this noodle dish but I was more than satiated.
Danny said that all the ingredients like their charsiu (charcoal roasted at the stall), and chilli sauce, right down to the egg noodles, were handmade using sticks to “beat” the dough into fine strands. Aha! If what Danny said is true, then I have finally found a match to Chin Chin’s Wanton Mee, from Johor. Remember I was lamenting “where in Singapore do you find a wanton mee seller making their own noodles to sell exclusively at their stalls?”
Koka’s Egg Noodles:
The noodles weren’t as QQ as Da Jie’s Famous Wanton Mee but has good bite to it. The aromatic lard-coated strands did enhanced the dish beautifully.
Charcoal roasted but did not deliver quite as well being too lean and sliced too thinly. My personal preference is a fattier cut but not necessarily thicker slices. I have friends who swear by Fatty Cheong’s 不见天叉烧 (Bu Jian Tian Char Shao – 不见天 roughly translates to “never see sky” depicting areas of the pig, like its armpits and neck area). We’ve joked about buying from Fatty Cheong’s and bringing the charsiu to our favourite wanton mee stalls.
Koka’s Wanton and Dumplings:
Both the wantons and dumplings were nicely flavoured with dried plaice. I did favour the wantons (dumplings in soup, not shown in pictures) more, although they were smaller in size and had lesser ingredients than the crescent moon-shaped Dumplings.
Steering away from the usual clear soup, Koka’s distinctive broth was richer in both appearance and taste. I could detect flavours from ikan bilis (dried anchovies), pork, chicken and toasted dried plaice. Both Danny and I did not have drinks during our meal and we felt fine. Danny has eaten from Koka many times and he reckon the stallholders to know nothing about the application of monosodium glutamate which is good news.
While we were halfway through eating, the stall assistant brought over Danny’s take-away (dabao) order. I was deliberating if I should also “dabao” for my children but decided against it. I would bring them to Koka instead.
Koka Wanton Noodles – Traditional in taste and old school in order execution. Be prepared to wait unless you have their telephone number like Danny
Koka Wanton Noodles 可口云吞面食
Address: North Bridge Road Market & Food Centre.
01-99, 861 North Bridge Road,
Operating hours: 8pm- 12mn (not too sure of their off day, will update when I know)
P.S. Most traditional or old school wanton mee stalls serve thinly sliced charsiu as meat was considered luxurious and is reserved for special occasions and festives then.
To date, for take-away wanton mee (except Koka as I have not tried), I still like Guandong Mian Shi best.