545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles – Old School Prawn Mee by Chio Bu Hawker
What makes a good bowl of prawn noodles? For most of us, it’s the broth that matters. To some, it’s the chilli sauce that makes the difference. And now, people look for big prawns – the bigger the better. But during our younger days (or my parents days), it’s rare to see big prawns in the noodles. Just give us a delicious bowl of piping hot prawn noodles and it will make us slurp non-stop.
545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles is one of the few hawker stalls that still has that old school charm. But the unique thing is, the noodles are prepared by a pretty hawker Li Ruifang.
I first “got to know” Ruifang via Instagram as she has been actively sharing her meals. It was till later that I found out she was the hawker behind 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles. It’s amazing how social media connects people, isn’t it?
The roots of the prawn noodles in Ruifang’s family go far back into the 1950s when her grandfather started selling it along the streets of Whampoa before it was even named so. When Whampoa Market was built in 1973, Ruifang’s Dad and Grandmother took a stall, and has been selling prawn noodles since then.
The current stall at Whampoa Market is run by Ruifang’s aunts. With the guidance of her dad, the 32-year-old finance graduate decided to be a hawker, bringing bowls of tradition and history to Tekka Food Centre.
Everyone I know who has tried 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles at Tekka Market only has good things to say. Using a recipe that spans across 3 generations, what you get is that old school prawn noodle that has got that familiar taste from grandmother’s time. I wasn’t old enough to experience police-wear-shorts period but their prawn noodles hit the comfort spot with its flavourful broth.
The prawn noodles go from $4. I like the dry prawn mee better because firstly, the broth is not diluted by the noodles and secondly, the sambal that was tossed with the noodles was awesome – a nice balance of spicy, savoury and dried seafood accents. With a spoonful of ketchup added in, toss the noodles well and make sure every strand is coated with the sauce. With half slices of prawns and thin slivers of lean pork, it did remind me of my childhood. A spoonful of fried shallot crisps garnishes the bowl.
Ruifang starts her day at 2am, boiling, peeling, cooking ingredients and preparing the stock. The hearty broth is thick and murky, with a distinct sweetness from the clams and umami from prawns. It’s on the sweet side, which I believe will cater to the younger crowd.
I have met many aspiring young hawkers and I believe Ruifang is one of the more successful ones who never give up. I am really grateful that she is continuing the hawker heritage.
545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles
Address: 665 Buffalo Road, Tekka Food Centre #01-326, Singapore 210665
Opening Hours: Mondays to Fridays 6:30am to 2pm (or until sold out). Closed on Saturdays & Sundays.
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.