Hao Lai Ke Review: Ex-Din Tai Fung Chef Opens A Hawker Stall Serving Pork Ribs Fried Rice - EatBook.sg
Chinese Hawker Reviews

Hao Lai Ke Review: Ex-Din Tai Fung Chef Opens A Hawker Stall Serving Pork Ribs Fried Rice

13th December 2018

Half the price at Hao Lai Ke

Hao Lai Ke - Flatlay

Community is important. And we thank the reader-turn-informant who slid into our Facebook DM with a picture of Hao Lai Ke’s brochure. I knew I had to check it out for myself, as the food looked strikingly similar to what was served at Din Tai Fung.

Food at Hao Lai Ke

Hao Lai Ke - Pork Ribs Fried Rice

Similar to when I’m at Din Tai Fung, the Pork Ribs Fried Rice is the first thing I would order. A plate at Hao Lai Ke sets you back only $6 nett.

Hao Lai Ke - Fried Rice With Pork

If you placed the same dish from both stores in front of me, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. From the size of the pork chop to the shape of the rice grains, the plate before us looked exactly like the one from Din Tai Fung.

Hao Lai Ke - Spoonful Egg Fried Rice

The only tell-tale difference upon closer inspection is that the pork chop here is relatively thinner. Taste and texture wise, everything was on point. Your first bite into a slice of pork is full of umami goodness. It’s robustly seasoned then fried, before being lightly seasoned again with extra black pepper for a kick of heat at the back of the throat.

Hao Lai Ke - Short Grain Rice

I love how short grain rice is used. These fat pearls of rice have a stickier texture when cooked, giving each spoonful a better mouthfeel. When fried with egg bits and chopped spring onion, it is a killer combo to my Chinese soul.

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The fried rice with pork chop is one of Din Tai Fung’s most emblematic dishes. The success of the chef-owner’s ability to recreate the dish, within the constraints of his humble business venture, only promised more good food to come.

Hao Lai Ke - Dan Dan Noodle

Dan Dan Noodle ($4.50) is prized as Hao Lai Ke’s signature dish, marked by a thumbs up on the menu. It comes with a colourful splash of orange chilli oil, powdered peanuts, poached cabbage, and generous servings of minced meat and noodles; easily surpassing Din Tai Fung’s Dan Dan Mian in terms of presentation, toppings, and portion.

Hao Lai Ke - Dan Dan Noodle Sauce

The smell and colour of the gravy got me drooling at first sight. They definitely did not skimp on the peanut sauce, giving the mountain of la mian a good drench.

Hao Lai Ke - Minced Meat

The sauce boasts an aromatic nuttiness, with a porky flavour from the braised minced meat taking a back seat. Those who can’t take spice might want to give the Dan Dan noodle a pass, as the douse of chilli oil gives quite a spicy kick.

Hao Lai Ke - Dan Dan Mian

Make sure to give the bowl a good mix to evenly coat every strand of noodles with the mouth-watering sauce.

Hao Lai Ke - Bean Paste Minced Noodle

Another noodle dish worth a try is their Bean Paste Minced Noodle ($4.20). Better known as zha jiang mian, this dish features a bed of la mian with a heavy-handed ladle of meat gravy atop.

Hao Lai Ke - Zha Jiang Mian

Many places serve a thick zha jiang sauce by adding a pinch of cornflour. In my opinion, the thick and gooey liquid doesn’t sit well on the la mian. Like the one offered here, I prefer a sauce with an overload of ingredients, simmered down naturally to a thick consistency.

Hao Lai Ke - Zha Jiang Mian Toppings

A scoop of the sauce gets you a bit of everything in the mix. There’s crunch from the soybean; flavour from the tofu and meat; and sweetness from diced radish, which was stewed till soft. Mop up the intensely flavoured sauce with a spoonful of la mian for a satisfying meal.

Hao Lai Ke - Fried Dumplings

To my dismay, Hao Lai Ke doesn’t have xiao long bao in their menu. If, like me, you want to satisfy your XLB cravings, order a plate of Fried Dumplings. You will get 10 dumplings for $5, giving you a good bang for your buck.

Hao Lai Ke - Pan Fried Dumplings

The lattice pattern sadly gave little crunch, as compared to the one I had at Hao Wei Lai. The dumpling skin was slightly thick, masking the filling with the taste of flour. I suggest sticking to the noodle and rice mains at Hao Lai Ke instead.

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Ambience at Hao Lai Ke

Hao Lai Ke - Ambience

I have never actually explored this part of Singapore before, but finding Hao Lai Ke was a breeze with the help of Google Maps. Located just a stone’s throw away from Bedok MRT station, the stall is tucked in a food court which looks relatively new and well-maintained.

The verdict

Hao Lai Ke - Storefront

I have to say I was impressed. The food might look and taste similar to what is served at Din Tai Fung, but it also has its own rustic flair. Every dish came in generous portions. The prices were very reasonable, making it easy to over order because of its value for money.

Address: 204 Bedok North Street 1, #01-393, Singapore 460204
Opening hours: Daily 10.30am to 10pm
Tel: 9673 5517
Hao Lai Ke is not a halal eatery.

Photos taken by Ho Jing Yi.
This is an independent review by Eatbook.sg.

  • 8.5/10
    - 8.5/10
8.5/10

Summary

Pros
– Extensive menu
– Generous portions
– Value for money
– Convenient location

Cons
– Hard to find seats during mealtimes

Recommended Dishes: Pork Ribs Fried Rice ($6), Dan Dan Noodle ($4.50)

Opening hours: Daily 10.30am to 10pm

Address: 204 Bedok North Street 1, #01-393, Singapore 460204

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