I start with Hokkien Mee not just because it is the dish I miss the most when I am overseas, but also because this is only found right here in Singapore. The reason I say this is because Singapore and Malaysia have a shared heritage as we were all part of British Malaya once. So, a lot of our hawker foods can also be found across the causeway. There are variations of Chicken Rice and Laksa that can be found in Malaysia or even Thailand, but our style of Fried Hokkien Mee can only be found in this tiny red dot on the World Map.
There are many stories about the origins of the dish, but its association with the Rochor area is quite certain as the dish was once referred to as Rochor Mee. If you go to Malaysia and simply ask for Hokkien Mee, you might either be served with a fried black version or even a soup version. The reason is simple. Hokkien Mee actually refers to the thick yellow noodles that originated from the Fujian province in China. So there are many different ways of preparing it. In Singapore, if you say Fried Hokkien Mee, it is quite clear as the same Noodles served in soup is referred to as Prawn Mee.
There are generally two variations of the dish. The wet and gooey type, which uses a combination of yellow noodles and thick bee hoon (rice vermicelli) and the dry type which uses the same noodles but with thin bee hoon. My pick for the best wet and gooey type is Geylang Lor 29 Hokkien Mee which is located in a newly refurbished coffeeshop along East Coast Road. This place still uses a charcoal stove to fry their Hokkien Mee which is quite rare nowadays. Many Wok Masters still regard the charcoal stove as the best way to heat a wok as the radiant heat ensures that the whole wok is evenly hot. With a gas stove, the bottom of the wok typically gets hotter than the sides.
If you are after the dry type, then Nam Sing Hokkien Mee at Old Airport Road Food Centre is one of the most popular in Singapore. Old Airport Road is a convenient place to go on a culinary odyssey too as this massive food centre houses many famous hawker stalls in Singapore. To read about them please click on my “Old Airport Road Food Centre” label.
For more Hokkien Mee Stories, please click here.