I found love in a hawker place

1 05 2012

Wanton Mee, Kok Kee Wanton Noodle, 195 Lavender Street, #01-06, Singapore

YELLOW TRAFFIC light in the night.  I was standing by the side.  There wasn’t a shadow to cross mine.  What it takes to come alive.  It’s the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny.  But I got to let it go.  I found love in a hawker place.

My Malaysian Chinese friends – cue the ad:  Malaysia, Truly Asia – know very well just how much I love my wanton noodles.  It’s a love that has fueled the courage to learn at least one line in Mandarin to guarantee my gastronomic survival – “jia liǎng gè miàn.”  If you understand that, then you very well know just what kind of voracious appetite I have.

Eventually, friends seem to just can stand so much of watching you devour so-so stuff that they’d be compelled enough to bring you to other places you can try.  So one late night at work, Yong Run, one of my Singaporean colleagues and friends, and Kiddo dragged me to take a couple of blocks’ worth of walk to the hawker center on Lavender Street.

Hawker Center, 195 Lavender Street, Singapore

Watching all of Rachael Ray’s $40-A-Day taught me that a line is always a good sign.  Upon entering the bustling place, teeming with the tired, the famished, I motioned to Yong Run and asked, “Where is it?”  His quick reply?  “eNTeNG, look for the queue.”  And there it was, Kok Kee Wanton Noodle, recipient of The Green Book Best Food Awards 2011/12 for their – what else?! – wanton mee.

Finally... Kok Kee!!!


Kok Kee Wanton Noodle is one of Singapore's Best!


I don't understand a thing on here but it sure looks like the very short, simple, straightforward menu and two price points to consider.

We fell in line and asked for exactly four orders of their famous noodle dish – two small, two big.  My friends were getting one each of the small and I was having the two big ones.  Haha!  No judgment.

Falling in line. (This photo was taken by Yong Run on his iPhone. All food photos were taken using my Blackberry Bold 9780.)


See the tan lines? More like burn lines. Haha! This photo was taken after two weekends of baking under the Singaporean sun, supporting Team PE and Team WHATEVER at the Soccer Carnival.

It was no breeze for me to finish off my couple of plates, and as I stared at the copious scrumptious sauce left in each – I was doing my best holding myself back from licking them dry – I opined that to me it was the secret of the dish and that much of it was going to waste, my own plates serving as explicit pieces of evidence.

This is a large/big serving. I had two of these on my first visit.


See, I had two!

Yong Run nodded in agreement before letting out, “It’s because the sauce is a runny and doesn’t cling much to the noodles.  If it was viscous, then they would probably need to put just a little.”  He went on to ask me if I noticed how the cook made the noodles.  I did.  For me, watching these talented hawker center cooks do their thing always makes me feel like I was paying dirt cheap prices for both food and a show.  At Kok Kee, I saw it took a few seconds to cook the fresh thin egg noodles (mee kia), before they were plunged into cold water (or just plain tap), and then brought back to the boiling water for about a couple of swirls more.

The result?  Firm and springy flavorful noodles, the new object of my affection.  I found love in a hawker place.

I found love in a hawker place.


(Hitting two birds with one stone, we all got up, went out at the other end of the complex, crossed the street, and before long was feasting on pig organ soup at the also-famous Cheng Mun Chee Kee Pig Organ Soup.  Unlike my two companions, I had got to have rice.  Hahaha!)

I egged Yong Run on, to introduce me to pig orgran soup. He obliged me on my persistent prodding. All it took was crossing the street.


The place is called Cheng Mun Chee Kee Pig Organ Soup


Yong Run paid for "part two" of the evening's dinner. Thanks!


Free soup, actually anything free, is such a come-on. If only I had the intestinal fortitude to buy only steamed white rice and then ask for the really tasty, robust soup. Haha!


It didn't photograph well but this soup tasted so much better than it looked. It brought to mind that Filipino Batchoy, one of the favorites in our home in the Philippines.

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