Cover Jiak Song Mee Hoon Kway/Facebook

Singapore’s culinary masters share their go-to spots for this comforting noodle dish

Ban mian is a fairly simple dish consisting of handmade egg noodles and minced meat in a flavourful broth, yet it is one of the most comforting eats on the island—especially on a rainy day.
 
While the hearty dish can be found in most hawker centres across the island, some stalls attract more crowds with their delicious versions. If you’re wondering where to satisfy your next ban mian craving, here are some of our local chefs’ recommendations. 

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1. Face Ban Mian

Eric Cheam, executive chef, The Dining Room

“While I can’t exactly remember when I stumbled upon this stall, I vaguely remember that it was a weekday afternoon, around four years ago. It was drizzling as I was running personal errands and I caught sight of a bright red and black signboard. It didn’t look like the sky would clear anytime soon, so I decided to try this stall. Since then, I have made it a point to visit whenever possible.

I really like the pork belly soup, which is not found in most stalls—and I can easily have two bowls when I am hungry. The soup is light yet tasty and the pork belly is wonderfully tender. The noodles are also not overcooked. Each bowl is finished with minced meat and crispy anchovies for added texture.”

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2. Chilli Pan Mee

Albert Au, executive Chinese chef, Jiang-Nan Chun

“I was exploring Chinatown on my off day a year ago and chanced upon this stall. I had seen long waiting lines forming outside the restaurant and decided to give it a try too.

Personally, I like spicy food, which was why I prefer the Chilli Pan Mee over soupy ones. I’ve been back many times and found them to be very consistent—be it the sauces, chewy noodles, ingredients and soup. The noodles here are cooked al dente, fully absorbing the flavours from the sauce. Each bowl is finished with fresh ingredients and crispy anchovies—my definition of comfort food!”

3. L32 Handmade Noodles

Keith Chu, chef de cuisine, Artemis Grill

"I chanced upon this store around 3 years ago. I happened to be walking by the area and saw a queue. So naturally, I was curious about how good it was and I’ve been going back ever since.

I like this store because they offer both soup and dried versions of Ban Mian. They cook everything fresh a la minute, so it is nice and fresh—and their noodles are cooked to al dente, therefore still chewy in texture."

Greg Bess, executive chef, Cut and Spago by Wolfgang Puck

“When I first arrived in Singapore 11 years ago, I loved to walk around the different parts of the city to explore and learn about local food and culture. I chanced upon L32 handmade noodles when I was walking around my neighbourhood, and I have been a fan ever since. This stall has become my go-to place for a bowl of piping hot comfort food on my off-days for years.

The noodles are delightfully chewy, and the broth is well balanced. I like to let the egg poach slowly in the flavourful hot broth until it approaches a medium consistency, before I spike it with a lot of chilli padi macerated in soy sauce—the spicier the better! The stall is always busy, and it’s not uncommon to wait up to 20 minutes for your bowl of freshly-made ban mian. For me, the anticipation adds to the experience. Everything is so fresh and the quality is consistently good.”

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4. Jiak Song Mee Hoon Kway

Eric Tan, executive chef, Mandarin Oriental Singapore

“Jiak Song Mee Hoon Kway is my go-to place for ban mian. It has several stalls in Singapore but I patronise the stall located in Telok Blangah, as it is in my neighbourhood.

The handmade ban mian is one of the key highlights of the dish as the noodles are freshly made to order. I also enjoy the unique flavours of the sauce—it is well balanced with a robust spice kick.”

5. China Whampoa Home Made Noodles

Chan Tuck Wai, executive chef, Peppermint

"The stall was introduced to me many years ago. One of the Chefs I was working with brought me there for breakfast, after a long midnight shift. It was ‘love at first taste’, and I have been going back there for their ban mian since. 

My personal favourite is their dry ban mian, which is dressed in a blend of black sauce and sesame oil that makes it especially savoury and fragrant. There are also different types of chilli you can add, which marries the flavours of the various ingredients of the dish, and feels like a harmony in your mouth!

The soup version of their ban mian is also good. The stock they use is made from scratch, simmered over a low fire for many hours to fully extract the flavour from the ingredients, while maintaining a light and clear finish. A generous amount of soy beans and ikan bilis is also added for extra umami and richness, making their ban mian soup super comforting, especially on cold rainy days!"

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