Laifaba Review: Wonton Mee With Bu Jian Tian Char Siew |
Food Reviews Restaurant Reviews Singaporean

Laifaba Review: Shiok Wonton Mee With Woodfire-Roasted “Bu Jian Tian” Char Siew

31st January 2024

Laifaba has woodfire-roasted wonton mee

laifaba - flatlay

Widely claimed to serve one of the best wonton mee in Singapore, Laifaba Wanton Noodles & Roasted Meats is a restaurant hidden within a Bukit Batok industrial estate. My colleague raves about them, and travels almost an hour to satisfy her cravings; another rated them 10/10 after making an even longer journey and trying the wonton mee here. That’s not all the praise Laifaba has received—I’ve seen IG-famous foodies rave about them too, so I decided that it was high time for a visit.

Nam Seng Wanton Noodles: The Story Of Singapore’s Oldest Hawker And Her Famous Wonton Mee

Food at Laifaba

laifaba - signature noodles intro

There are two signature options at Laifaba that you can go for: Signature Rice and Signature Noodles. Both are priced at $12++ a portion and come with the same toppings of bu jian tian char siew, poached and fried wonton, Hong Kong kai lan and a bowl of pork bone and scallop broth.

While the noodle option has half an Ajitama egg with an oozy molten yolk, you get a sunny-side-up with the rice dish. Instead of regular jasmine rice, their Signature Rice uses Japanese rice!

laifaba - bu jian tian char siew

You get to choose your cut of bu jian tian char siew, whichever option you go for. There are lean and fatty cuts, as well as a mixed cut that gets you the best of both. If you want more of this, the Wood-fired BJT Char Siew goes for $18++ a small plate, good for two to share. If you aren’t familiar with the term, 不见天  (bù jiàn tiān) is the underarm, or armpit of the pig, with the Chinese words literally meaning “never seeing the sky”. This extra premium cut is only available in small quantities, and is prized for its perfect ratio of lean and fat meat.

I went for the mixed cut on my visit. While tender and tasty, with a good caramelised layer on the outside and a subtle smokiness, I wished the fatty layer was more melt-in-the-mouth. A good deal of work goes into cooking this, with a three-part process of braising, drying, and roasting over wood fire each morning before Laifaba opens for the day.

laifaba - noodle pull

What I really liked in my bowl were the noodles—delightfully springy, and served in a hearty portion. There’s also the moreish sauce it’s tossed in, laced with chunks of fried pork lard.

20 Best Wonton Mee In Singapore, Including XXL, Thai And Truffle Wanton Mee

laifaba - noodle chilli

Enjoy the noodles as is, or add in the pickled green chillies and chilli mix that you’ll get on the side. If you take a closer look, you’ll find there are three concentric circles on the plate, which when mixed form a lightly vinegary concoction.

laifaba - noodles with chilli

While the noodles on their own don’t quite require embellishment, adding the chilli lends an extra dimension of flavour. I’d initially not wanted to do so, since the chilli was a touch sour, but this was balanced out by the noodle sauce mix.

laifaba - soup

Accompanying each order of rice or noodles is a small bowl of a house-made soup, boiled for 12 hours with pork bones and scallops, with no additives. It’s recommended that you have some of this before you start on the noodles, which allows you to appreciate the clean, sweet flavour of this broth.

laifaba - wonton intro

With both fried and boiled wonton on the plate, I had a definite preference for the ones that came in the soup: they’re a nice size so there isn’t too much of the wrapper as compared to meat, whereas the fried versions felt rather dry with too little filling.

laifaba - wonton cross section

The clean-tasting soup was also a good foil for the more savoury dumpling, whose filling is accented with ti poh, or dried sole fish, that lends it that characteristic punchy flavour. If you prefer dumplings with prawns, go for their Shrimp Dumpling Soup ($12++), or the similarly priced Spicy Shrimp Dumpling, which they’d sold out of on my visit.

laifaba - combination platter

Since Laifaba specialises in woodfired roast meats, I decided to give their other offerings a try, starting with the Combination Platter (from $18++). You don’t get to choose how fatty the meats on this are; there’s a mix of lean to fatty char siew.

laifaba - lean char siew

I picked a lean slice and thought it was on the drier side, though the flavour and char came through.

laifaba - dipping roasted pork

On the other hand, the Wood-fired Crispy Roasted Pork, which you can order a la carte from $18++, had a thin, and true-to-its-name crisp layer that I enjoyed much more. It didn’t have a porky taste unlike some other sio bak that I’ve had elsewhere, neither was it too salted. I especially enjoyed it with the provided chilli dip, which had enough body, spice and tartness to pair with the meat. I imagine it would go brilliantly with rice. Chinese mustard is also served, for those who enjoy their roast pork with this.

17 Roast Meat Stalls In Singapore For Char Siew Shao Rou Fan

laifaba - roast duck intro

Moving on, I also ordered a small portion of Wood-fired Roasted Duck (from $18++), served with a small jar of warm gravy—this was a win in my books.

laifaba - roast duck with gravy

Pour it over the duck, or leave it on the side and drench a bowl of rice in it, it’s your choice, but the gravy was one I’d love to come back for more of. It doesn’t steal the thunder from the roast duck, and isn’t so light or herbal in flavour that might put some off.

laifaba - roast duck detail

It’s not one of their bestselling items, but the duck leg that I had on my order was tender and smooth, with the meat falling off easily. The layer of skin didn’t come with an unappetising layer of fat beneath either, which made eating this quite pleasant.

Get Black Truffle Roast Duck And Peking Duck By Ex-Imperial Treasure Chef In AMK

Ambience at Laifaba

laifaba - ambience

The nearest station to Laifaba is Bukit Batok MRT Station, which is still close to half an hour away, including a potential fair deal of walking, depending on which bus you take. I live nine minutes away by car, but it takes me almost 50 minutes to get here by bus after you’ve factored in a good 18-minute walk. Blame it on their being located in a building that’s a fair distance from the main road, but getting here is a real trek. When you do get to the restaurant, however, you’ll find that you can dine in air-conditioned comfort, with the space done up with old-school decor. They get quite busy at lunch, so head down earlier!

Popular 88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist To Open Restaurant In Telok Ayer

The verdict

laifaba - storefront

All things considered, Laifaba does serve a pretty good bowl of wonton mee: I am a fan of their noodles, as well as the sauce and chilli mix. As to whether I’d go out of my way to come here, I don’t think so, unless someone was driving and we were nearby. At $12++, it’s also not wonton mee that I’d want to eat all the time, with my preferred wonton noodles at 88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist priced at a much more wallet-friendly $5.50. The latter also comes with the option to add on their famous roast meats, which I like better than what I had at Laifaba.

For more wonton noodle options, check out Legend Wanton Mee, helmed by ex-MasterChef Singapore finalist Aaron Wong, who is also the man behind Jiak Song Mee Hoon Kway. For Malaysian-style wonton mee, Tampoi Ah B Wanton Noodles has opened in Singapore!

Address: 71 Bukit Batok Crescent, #02-02, Prestige Centre, Singapore 658071
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 11:30am to 3pm, 6pm to 9pm, Sat-Sun 11am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 9pm
Tel: 9181 6383
Laifaba is not a halal-certified eatery

Tampoi Ah B Wanton Noodles Review: JB-Famous Wonton Noodles Now In Kallang

Photos taken by Michelle P, edited by Casandra Nicholas.
This was an independent visit by

Laifaba Review: Shiok Wonton Mee With Woodfire-Roasted Bu Jian Tian Char Siew
  • 8/10
    Laifaba Review: Shiok Wonton Mee With Woodfire-Roasted Bu Jian Tian Char Siew - 8/10


– Tasty wonton mee
– Duck gravy was flavourful

– Very inaccessible location
– Lean char siew was a little dry
– Prices are higher than average

Recommended dishes: Signature Noodles ($12++), Wood-fired Roasted Duck (from $18++), Wood-fired Crispy Roasted Pork (from $18++)

Opening hours: Tue-Fri 11:30am to 3pm, 6pm to 9pm, Sat-Sun 11am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 9pm

Address: 71 Bukit Batok Crescent, #02-02, Prestige Centre, Singapore 658071

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.

You Might Also Like