Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beef Noodles: Hock Lam Beef...oldest, but does she still have the crown?

Beef it or hate it. The ubiquitious presence of such a stall in a food court testifies perhaps to its popularity. But very few which are worthy of noting. One such stall which I adore is Nan Xing Zhou in Toa Payoh. But yet another which I like quite a lot is the Original Hock Lam Beef Noodles. Touted to be Singapore's oldest, all natural, etc, they have taken on a web presence...they have their own website and facebook page.

Apparently this generations old business has handed the reins over to the latest generation...a young woman who now helms the making of the noodles. Her father is still there to meet and greet when I visited recently, exuding charm, and directing traffic into the shophouse just inside the CBD.

I ordered the mixed beef balls and sliced beef noodles in a dry sauce.

The traditional Teochew style of adding crushed peanuts on top of the carefully constructed dish is maintained. As is the powerful, piquant chilli which is a marvellous accompaniment. The chilli cuts through the rich flavours offered by the thick smothering sauce, and the luxurious mouthfeel of the beef slices. I added a small serving of tendons, which I must say are very good.

The beef is quickly blanched, and turned out medium rare, with a bit of pink peeking out. Sliced very thin, it has an amazing mouthfeel and taste. The beef is obviously a very good cut...Hock Lam's literature claims the beef is hand sliced, and no tenderiser or MSG is added. The soup is made from 24 hours of boiling beef parts and bones, reminiscent of ramen broths.

The noodles are done just right...kway teow is soft, smooth, and not soggy as they are prepared on order. A rather long queue forms at the ordering station, when I arrived at 12:15pm it was perhaps 10 deep, but it took all of 8 mins to be served.

Overall this is a good bowl of beef noodles, and a tough call between the Hainanese style of Nan Xing Zhou, and this Teochew style offering.

Hock Lam Beef
22 China St, #01-01, Far East Square
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