Ding Ji Mushroom Minced Meat Noodles @ Bishan
Before I began my post on Ding Ji Mushroom Minced Meat Noodles, here’s a disclaimer – I am not paid to write about them. The story goes, this new bak chor mee stall opens in Bishan, at the same coffeeshop as the famous 284 Kueh Chap. I saw it while I was having supper. Then I went back for lunch and to give it a try.
The first time I ate it…
It was really really good. I ordered the most expensive one from the menu – fish maw soup. The first thought was, it looked like Seng Kee minced pork noodles in Serangoon Garden Market. That is my favourite and it has definitely set the high expectation.
So when the cook prepared my fish maw soup, I watched closely of the ingredients he added. The rich soup base is simmered overnight to get all the goodness from the pork bones. There is generous amounts of sliced pork, pork liver, dried sole fish (ti po), a spoonful of minced meat and egg served in the aromatic soup, with springy noodles tossed in chilli sauce. The ti po probably gives the soul to the broth. To be honest, the aroma of the ti po here is not exactly comparable to the one in Seng Kee. But, it does have that subtle fragrance that many BCM soups are lacking. Plus, I believed that the fish maw used here is a higher grade than Seng Kee’s, because Seng Kee’s version had a strong greasy smell to it.
Even though the mee kia was factory made, they were well tossed with chilli, vinegar, lard oil and sliced braised mushrooms that were spongy with savoury braising sauce. From readers’ comments, I understand that there are many Ding Ji noodle shop around the island but only the one is Bishan and Eunos serves fish maw soup. The rest of the Ding Ji outlets only do Teochew Minced Pork Noodles – which is really not impressive.
Keeping all these factors in mind, plus it only costs $8 for such a generous soup and noodles (cheaper than Seng Kee’s), it was natural for me to share about this stall. At that moment, I am quite certain I have found a very decent bak chor mee / fish maw soup stall that is open for 24 hours and so near to all of us who live in Ang Mo Kio and Bishan. In fact, I was so excited about it that I called my husband and good friend immediately after my lunch to tell them about this “finding”.
But I didn’t expect…
After my lunch, I roughly edited the video I took on my phone and uploaded to Facebook during the unpeak hours. What I didn’t expect, was the amazing feedback that everyone gave. Within a day, the number of shares and views were soaring and the stall eventually ran out of fish maw soup the following morning. Till date, the video itself has got 221K Views, 4369 Shares and 1200 comments.
To be honest, the numbers were too scary. The response was overwhelming, to the extent that the stall cannot cope with it for the first three days. I have read every single feedback, be it good or bad. Thank you for spending time to type it out. Some people queued for 2 hours just to get a bowl of noodles. When people queued for so long, their expectations increased and when the noodles cannot meet their expectations, they get angry. There were people who assume that I get paid to write about this, there were people who called me nasty names, and there were people who take time to defame the stall by pasting the same reply on everyone’s comments. The most ridiculous thing is, some actually boycott it without even tasting it just because the stall belongs to Fei Siong. Come on lah, how childish is that? Pfft.
For those who queued, tried and left disappointed …. it’s understandable. I had it on a quiet weekday afternoon with no crowd, and the cook took his time to slowly prepare my soup and noodles. But after the video came out, the cook had to speed up the cooking just to cater the sudden crowd. There are definitely differences in standards, after all, it’s hawker food. And to be honest, after the video, I didn’t dare to write about it anymore.
So I went back again…
The issue is, because the stall operates 24 hours and they have two shifts to manage the stall. I usually go during weekday lunch and it is cooked by the uncle you seen in this post. There was no problem and I still enjoy it, even though I thought the soup was milder than what I had previously. I guess it was because their turnover time for boiling of soup became shorter, hence it was not as rich and flavourful.
But after reading through all the comments, I went back on a weekend supper to try it 2 weeks after the video was published. From 7pm to 7am, the soup and noodles are cooked by a 74-year-old aunty. Now I can truly understand the frustration of many foodies. Our orders were a little messed up, the noodles were overcooked (because the aunty was trying to decipher whose noodles were those) and the soup was not great. Some of the soups were only lukewarm. It was in fact, disappointing. I never doubt her experience but she was probably overwhelmed by the crowd too.
I apologize if you were served a less than satisfactory bowl of noodles. I stress that I don’t own the place nor I am paid to write. I am just a happy foodie who wants to share good hawker food that I have found. It’s not unsurprising that we get drastic opinions from two different extremes of the same stall due to consistency argument. But I hope you understand that all reviews are subjective since it is a perception of an experience.
Like most things, word of mouth is one of the strongest way a restaurant or hawker stall builds its street credibility. But it is also the responsibility for all F&B establishments to uphold the standards. Sometimes, the dish may not suit your liking. For example, I love my chicken rice flavourful and oily, but my husband thinks it is too much and prefers a lighter rice. It’s not wrong. Your food preference and my food preference may be different and can be different. I won’t criticise someone just because they have different views about the same dish. It’s fair comment, in my opinion. But well, obviously some people think their tongue can taste the best dish and if they think it’s lousy, they go all out to penalize and criticize. I don’t agree to such behaviour but I won’t name and shame. Afterall, we are here to build a healthy community of foodies. 🙂
For me, I would still go back for my dry noodles and fish maw soup in the afternoon. It is still tasty in my opinion. In fact, I just brought some of my food kakis there and they love it. In my district, it’s not easy to find a good bowl of bak chor mee like this. A bowl of BCM starts from $3.50 but I really suggest you to try the $8 fish maw soup version because it’s solid. They also serve huge and juicy teochew dumplings. Yes, they open 24 hours.
Ding Ji Mushroom Minced Meat Noodles
Address: Blk 284, Bishan Street 22, Singapore 570284
Opening Hours: 24 hours
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