Ah, Singapore! And Bak Chor Mee! Bak Chor Mee (BCM) is a pork noodle in vinegar sauce, and an acquired taste. When I first moved to Singapore, I did not take to BCM readily. Neither did my Malaysian family and friends. They all complained of the intrusive vinegar taste and preferred instead to have the regular pork noodles without vinegar.
On top of the vinegar, some hawker stalls will pile on mushrooms, creating a very strong taste to your palate. Despite all of that, I have eventually started to appreciate BCM and do crave for it from time to time! To make it even more desirable, BCM can only be found in Singapore (no business elsewhere kot, heh).
Regrettably, my time in Singapore was not spent enough on discovering BCM places, thus I have not tasted enough BCM to gauge how superior one is to the next. So, this trip to Singapore, I made sure one lunch slot is dedicated to the recently awarded 1 Michelin Star eatery by the Singapore Michelin Guide.
It wasn't hard to locate the restaurant, if you consult Google map (I also realized with a jolt that I have been here before, to dine at the western food stall next to the BCM). The BCM stall is located on the right-most corner of the kopitiam.
If you're having problems locating the BCM stall, just look out for the long queue! There were approximately 7 people ahead of me already in line when I arrived at 1:20pm on a weekday. Protocol here is a little different from the others. First, you get into the existing line. Then eventually, one of the uncles will gesture for you to approach the stall. You tell him which type of noodle you'd like, and of any additional ingredients requests. He tells you how much your order is, but you don't pay yet. Then you go back to the spot in line where you were waiting.
The noodles come in a variety of upgrades, starting at a base of $5, then $6, $8 and $10. It was my first visit, so I asked for a "regular" order, which turned out to be $6.
The turnaround per customer is approximately 2 minutes; so my wait was a mere 15 minutes. Based on friends' waiting experiences and from what I gathered online, the usual wait is 30-45 minutes or up to 2 hours! I'm not complaining over a 15 minute wait, now!
The $6 bowl comes with a bowl of seaweed soup. Minced pork, slices of pork fillets, pork balls, dumplings, pork liver and a piece of fried fish sole are arranged prettily on a bed of flat noodles. I tried the soup first, very sweet and not too salty. Mixed the noodles up so everything is coated in sauce. Took a bite of the pork fillet. Wow, it is tender and just about cooked, the vinegar sauce beautifully balances the meat. The pork liver was just as impressive - almost melting in the mouth! It is a far cry from other noodle stalls who overcook the pork liver. Those are usually chewy or crumbly. The noodles are wonderfully al dente, adding a whole dimension to the dish.
The dumplings, on the other hand, I wasn't wild about them. I felt the dumpling skin was a tad too thick, but everything else shined. It was so good, I polished the entire bowl clean. I'd wait 45 minutes for this bowl, and next time, I'll take the $10 premium upgrade.
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
#01-12 Blk 466
Opens daily, 9:30am - 9:00pm
Closed 1st & 3rd Mondays of the month