Makansutra: Enjoy quality mee time with these dishes
Check out these oodles of noodle goodness on your next trip of local exploration
Many of us have some extra time to explore local spots during this time of Covid-19.
All the pubbing, parties and travels - even to Johor Baru - have turned into spare hours to look for clever local alternatives. We have become local tourists, seeing and doing things we have never tried or heard of before that were right under our noses - and that extends to makan too.
For those craving quality "mee" time, hear me out on these three noodle dishes:
Shaker Lakers (#01-24, Yishun Park Hawker Centre)
Opens 11.30am to 8.30pm, closed Mondays
This is a Western stall par excellence, offering steaks and fries and imaginative burgers.
It is run by ex-banker Gillian Pua, and Irish chef Michael Quinn has headlined restaurants in New York and Marche here.
They have come up with stunning beef burgers with slices of kong bak sitting atop, and since they have "quite a bit of sambal" for their dishes, they created this sambal prawn linguine ($8).
It is simple yet so effective - just huge succulent prawns over linguine tossed in their special sambal, which is not at all catered to tourists.
It is prepared upon order so you know it comes hot and fresh.
Sarawak Laksa & Kolo Mee (#01-33, Haig Road Market & Food Centre)
Opens 11am to 9pm, closed Tuesdays
A line forms the minute the stall opens not long after the owners arrive, and one wonders if they use pre-made sauces and paste with such a short prep time.
But these folks blend their unique curry laksa paste and rest it a day before, and boil it in stock the next day when they show up.
The Sarawak laksa ($6) is nothing like our Katong style one and has both Indian and Malaysian spices such as star anise and nutmeg, with no hint of coconut milk. It has a gentle masala base and when infused with the stock, it is scrummy.
The use of beehoon is on point as it absorbs the curry well, much better than the thick udon-like versions.
The prawns atop are fresh but secondary, and the bean sprouts lend such a nice crunch to the entire show.
The kolo mee ($4) is also an easy win - mee kia is tossed with a porky sauce, shallot oil and some umami magic.
To spice it up, just dunk it in the plate of chilli sauce provided.
Do Rae Mee (Makansutra Gluttons Bay, 8 Raffles Avenue, next to the Esplanade)
Opens Tuesdays to Fridays, 3pm to 10.30pm, and weekends 1pm to 10.30pm, closed Mondays
The people behind this noodle stall recently came up with an edge to their top-selling fried Hokkien prawn mee - they top it with garlic-seared Korean oysters in a silky seafood sauce ($7).
It makes sense as the extra garlicky oyster seafood sauce adds another layer of ocean bottom goodness to the roasty shrimp stock fried noodles.
Chef Ah Tong cooks it in a way many do not any more - steam braising the noodles for 10 to 15 seconds to lock in flavours and then separately searing the oysters to top it over with.
It all comes moist and well-fried, along with the usual shrimps and squid.