Finding the white beehoon
It may be the renaming of an old dish - braised beehoon in clear stock - but this simple dish became a sensation after a coffee shop in Sembawang named it "white beehoon" a few years ago.
Often, it is all about the stock and braising technique.
The dish has become popular among hawkers who either renamed their old dish, or decided to ride that wave and set up shops specialising in just that.
Here are a few popular places for white beehoon that foodies are mad about.
20, Jalan Tampang
11am to 10pm daily
This little cafe is brave enough to ride on the popularity of the dish made famous by their neighbours.
But they are no pushover.
The beehoon is smooth and very soft but not wok-seared.
I like the stock. It is very intense with touches of chicken and seafood, and slightly thickened and redolent with egg drops.
Their version is simple, just clams and shrimps. And the little lime squeeze is a nice touch.
Enjoy this at a hawker's fare price of $7 for a two-person portion.
EAST SEAFOOD WHITE BEEHOON
Block 201, Toa Payoh Lorong 8, #01-48
4pm to 8pm, closed on Mondays
A new kid on the block - barely five months old - and I counted five people working in that little hawker stall space.
The queue only stops when they sell out. They do it the classic style: First by wok-charring the noodles for some wok hei before they braise it in the rich seafood stock.
A plate starts from $5 and for the larger portions, they use ocean - not river or farmed - prawns.
The all-important stock is easy on salt and soya sauce, so you taste the subtle richness of the seafood.
The noodles are soft and smooth, but I would like it more if the sauce was just a whisker thicker.
Go for the $25 version, which comes with the works in a huge lo hei plate.
22, Jalan Tampang
11.30am to 10.30pm, closed on Wednesdays
This is the one that started the fire on the white beehoon craze. After so many copycats, they still reign supreme. It is easy to see why.
Their stock is rich. The meat is delectably riddled with umami. The beehoon is slurpy smooth.
A $9 portion for two comes with prawns and squid (very fresh) and the sauce has the egg drop touch.
A squeeze of lime gives it a light, tangy lift.
BAO BAO VEGETARIAN
Block 58, New Upper Changi Road Food Centre, #01-148
5am to noon, closed on alternate Mondays
This is the vegetarian version.
I have no idea how they introduced so much flavour into that not oily, whistle-clean, white beehoon.
Ask for the wet version and they slather a brown mushroom flavoured sauce over.
The bits of crispy bean curd skin and vegetarian char siew and sour sambal are pleasant but insignificant compared to the beehoon.
Go early and you'll see the backs of the aunties in the queue ahead of you.
- MAKANSUTRA, FOUNDED BY KF SEETOH, IS A COMPANY THAT CELEBRATES ASIAN FOOD CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE. IT PUBLISHES FOOD GUIDES IN AND AROUND THE REGION, PRODUCES A FOOD SERIES, DEVELOPS INTERACTIVE MOBILE CONTENT AND SERVICES, OPERATES FOODCOURTS AND EATERIES, ORGANISES FOOD TOURS AND EVENTS, AND CONSULTS ON CULINARY CONCEPTS.