A brief history of hokkien mee, and a guide to our favourite stalls in the East, Central, and North of Singapore.
There’s just something about Hokkien mee that we love – which is why we always end up queuing (no matter how long) for a plate of slurp-worthy noodles just because of the aromas wafting from the stall. Here are our favourite Hokkien mee stalls in Singapore for your exploration. Enjoy!
Before we begin
Originally known as Rochor Mee, the exact origins of Hokkien Mee are uncertain, but it was thought that the Hokkien sailors who worked in the noodle factories of post-war Singapore gathered at Rochor Road in the evenings to fry the excess products from the factories over charcoal stoves.
There are quite a few other variations of Hokkien mee in Singapore. Don’t get Hokkien mee confused with Hokkien char mee (thick egg noodles braised in fish sauce and black gravy) or KL Hokkien mee (flat noodles in thick, black soy sauce). In some parts of the Western world, you might have Singapore noodles on the menu, which is in reality Hokkien mee without the rich prawn stock that makes it oh-so-yummy!
Considered by many as the gold standard of Hokkien mee, Geylang Lor 29 Hokkien Mee (396 East Coast Road, closed Mondays) is still cooked over charcoal – a rarity! Chef-owner Alex has been in the business for more than 40 years, so it’s no wonder the noodles are flavourful and the lard crispy enough to justify the calories.
In the current-day Geylang Lorong 29 stands Swee Guan Hokkien Mee (open evenings), which also still uses a charcoal fire instead of gas. The noodles here are loaded with prawns and squid. Oh, and have it with the pork belly satay from Kwong’s Pork Satay next door.
If you prefer your Hokkien mee drier, Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee (Old Airport Road Food Centre #01-32) is the place to go. This Uncle’s superior wok skills and the excellent stock he fries the noodles with is probably what makes this stall number one with a lot of local foodies.
Another one for the dry Hokkien mee fans would be Hainan Hokkien Mee at Golden Mile Food Centre (Stall 34, closed Wednesdays). The noodles here are fried till they’ve absorbed all the superb stock, which is also why it’s awesome. Bet we do think the portion is a leetle small for the price.
Ah Hock Hokkien Mee (Chomp Chomp Food Centre Stall 27, open evenings) is something we grew up eating, and it remains one of the most popular Hokkien mee in Singapore. We’re not sure if it’s worth the one hour wait during peak periods, but we like it enough to go back for more.
If you’re the strange type who likes your Hokkien mee’s prawn-noodle ratio skewed towards the latter end, you’ll get what you want at Tian Tian Lai (127 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #02-27, closed Mondays). So don’t expect a large serving of prawns and squid here, the star is the full-flavoured, gooey, satisfying noodles.
For those who love spicy chili, Yi Ji Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee at Mee Sek Food Court (965 Upper Serangoon Road, open evenings) won’t disappoint. Their rendition of this dish is flavoursome and smooth. They open till 3am so if you ever have midnight cravings for Hokkien mee, you know where to go!
Keen to make Hokkien mee in the comfort of your own home? Check out our recipe.
Read more about Singapore’s local cuisine at www.YourSingapore.com.