Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodle – I Love The Dry Version!
Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodle has an illustrious history — one that dates back to even decades before I was born. In the 1970s, the stall was known as Odeon Beef Kway Teow, as it sat across from the now-defunct Odeon cinema at North Bridge Road. Since then, the stall has relocated a few times, and it now sits in a prime spot(#01-01) in Bendemeer Market Food Centre. Its location might have changed over the years, but one thing has remained the same. The recipe!
In much need of my weekly (perhaps daily) beef fix, I decided to visit Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodle for the first time. I dropped by on a Thursday morning and was unsurprised to see a long queue. They’ve clearly garnered quite a following in the past few decades. I decided to order both the dry, and the soup version of their beef noodle.
The dry version of their Beef Noodle ($4) looked absolutely mouthwatering. The thick bee hoon was topped with a generous amount of thin beef slices, before being smothered in an dark gravy. The gravy is gently cooked over a few hours and is infused with spices, herbs, as well as a bit of starch, which acted as a thickening agent. The luscious gravy thoroughly coated each and every strand of the noodles, which were pleasantly al dente and springy.
The flavour of the gravy didn’t scream of beef. It was quite subtle, almost too subtle. It did, however, have a slightly herbal flavour which went quite well with the beef. If you’re not a fan of the fatty parts, you don’t have to worry as slices of beef are rather lean. They added a lovely meaty chew to the dish, while the beansprouts added a refreshing crunch.
Despite the dish’s immensely appetising appearance, I was initially unimpressed by its lack of flavour. However, my initial disappoint disappeared after I tasted it together with the bright red chilli sauce served on the side. The sauce had a tantalising, acidic tang which lifted the flavours of the dish. It also contained a bit of chincalok (fermented shrimp), which really added umami to the soup and noodles. I found myself adding copious amounts of the sauce — it really is a must-have accompaniment!
I can never turn down a hearty, piping hot bowl of soup noodles. Hwa Heng’s Soup Beef Noodles ($4) is no exception. The broth is, again, quite light and subtle in flavour. I felt that it could’ve been a tad saltier, but I might be overly accustomed to heavily seasoned beef. The bowl contained the same beef slices, but also some pieces of springy beef tendon. This was a warm and comforting bowl of beef noodles, but I don’t see myself ordering this again.
I noticed that I had left a bowl of beef soup untouched. The soup came with the dry noodles. I thought that it was the same soup that was in the beef noodles, but boy was I wrong! Each delectable spoonful of this soup contained bits of rendered-out beef fat. It was incredibly flavourful, and it had just the right level of saltiness. I wonder why the same soup isn’t used in their beef noodles.
Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodle has been around for over a whopping 40 years now. Loyal customers who grew up eating their beef noodles continue to patronise the stall to this day. I’ll definitely be returning to get another taste of their dry beef noodles!
Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodle
Address: 29 Bendemeer Road, #01-01 Bendemeer Market & Food Centre, Singapore 330029
Mobile: 9368 1278
Opening Hours: 10am to 3pm daily, closed on Monday and Tuesday.
MissTamChiak.com made an anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.
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