136 Hong Kong Street serves claypot mee tai bak
Update: 136 Hong Kong Street’s Clementi outlet has closed down. Their Aljunied outlet is located at Blk 1 Upper Aljunied Road, #01-02, Singapore 360001. They open from 10:30am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 11:30pm from Sunday to Friday, as well as 4:30pm to 11pm on Saturdays.
My folks believe food is best shared, which is why I grew up celebrating most of my parents’ birthdays eating zi char. Needless to say, I’m always looking out for cheap and good zi char stalls I can bring my family to.
When I heard of 136 Hong Kong Street Teochew Fish Head Steamboat, my ears immediately perked as it’s a place my fam hasn’t tried. You might think steamboat is their specialty, thanks to their name, but zi char is what brings their regulars back.
Food at 136 Hong Kong Street Fish Head Steamboat
The first dish to arrive was Special Claypot Braised ‘Mi Tai Ba’ ($5/$8/$10). The gravy was bubbling when they placed it on our table, whetting our appetites. We stirred the raw egg into the viscous, dark brown gravy. The egg acted like a thickening agent by giving the gravy more volume immediately.
The springy mee tai bak slipped down our throats with no resistance, and the gravy, though thick, had a smooth consistency. Finding clumps of cooked egg in a mouthful of gravy and noodles added an element of surprise while eating. Chopped kai lan gave the otherwise heavy dish a crunch and touch of freshness.
The gravy reminded me of beef hor fun, with its slight wok hei taste and starchiness. In addition, the minced meat and shrimps gave the dish a chewy texture and bulk, making it very satisfying. This cauldron of bubbling goodness was really shiok!
The salted egg yolk trend might be fading, but I’m glad this place still has Pork Ribs With Salted Egg ($10/$15/$20).
Salted egg yolk sauce is combined with the batter when deep-frying the ribs, hence you do not have to worry about making a mess while savouring this. I was initially worried that the ribs would be too dry due to a lack of sauce, but my worries were unfounded. The ribs were juicy and tender, making it a delight to chew!
What struck me most was how I could taste a subtle kick from the chilli padi and curry leaves. Being a salted egg yolk fan myself, I’ve tried various salted egg yolk dishes, but few delivered such a balance in taste. The tinge of spiciness cut through the richness of the salted egg wonderfully, making this one of the better salted egg yolk dishes out there.
Finally, we had Boss Prawn Bee Hoon ($8/$15/$25/$35). Although we ordered the smallest portion, it fed the three of us well.
The prawns soaked up some gravy, and each of them was bursting with flavour. The bee hoon was cut into short pieces, making it almost effortless to eat as it glided down my throat. But between this and the braised mee tai bak, the latter wins hands down. This bee hoon just didn’t have the same level of savouriness as the mee tai bak.
Ambience at 136 Hong Kong Street
Situated a few bus stops away from Clementi MRT Station, getting here might be a little troublesome unless you stay in the West. Once you are here, it is hard to miss the stall as they have a large banner put up outside the kopitiam.
We were lucky and didn’t have to queue at 1pm on a Thursday, but there might be a queue during dinnertime on weekends.
For someone who grew up eating soupy mee tai bak prepared by my ah ma, their special gravy version really blew me away. I can see myself making more trips down with my family in the future, and I will definitely try other dishes then.
This is an independent review by Eatbook.sg.