Where to find the best noodle dish in Singapore

It is a staple of many local Chinese restaurants in Australia, those spicy, unnaturally yellow vermicelli noodles tossed in a wok with a variety of vegetables and meats. Known as Singapore Noodles the only consistent ingredients are curry powder and noodles and they are not just popular here – they can also be found on the menus of Chinese restaurants from the United States to Britain. 

Just don't ask for them when you get to Singapore, because they have nothing to do with the South-east Asian nation. And they don't exist there.

Chef Justin Quek runs the Sky on 57 restaurant on 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. He is one of Asia's most celebrated chefs who puts a European spin on Asian cuisine producing dishes like Nordic crab vermicelli and Maine Lobster Hokkien noodles. But he has a laugh at the idea of the all-encompassing "Singapore Noodle".

"There are many noodles dishes in Singapore and they are all different," says Quek, who started his career as a kitchen trainee. "From the spicy laksa to fried Hokkien noodles and fish ball noodles in soup, there simply isn't just one type of noodle dish to represent Singapore."

But Quek takes pity on the poor Singapore noodle and doesn't mind if us misguided Europeans want to make an all-purpose Singapore stir fry, particularly if helps some homesick locals.

"It's great to have more awareness about Singaporean food overseas," he says. "With many Asians and Chinese living in Australia and the UK, the Singapore Noodle dish may make them feel closer to home."

But, after a night rattling the pans for Asia's elite in his sky-high restaurant Quek has a far more specific noodle in mind. "My personal favourite noodle dish is the bak chor mee or minced meat noodles," says Quek. "The noodles can be served tossed in a sauce, often referred to as "dry", or can be served in a soup. I frequently visit a stall in Crawford Lane for bak chor mee and have high respect for the owner who has been cooking for the past 40 years."

Here are Quek's top four noodles that will give you a real taste of Singapore:

Bak chor mee at Bedok North Block 85

Bak chor mee (minced meat noodles) is usually made with pork and the noodles and meat are fried in a vinegary sauce laced with chilli. Though this dish comes both "dry" and "wet" purists would opt for the meaty broth, and a side of fresh-cut red chillis. Keep an eye out for Quek hunched over a bowl late at night. Visit bak chor mee, Fengshan Food Centre, under Bedok North Block 85.

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328 Katong Laksa

The spicy, soupy, rich coconut seafood broth of a laksa is one of Singapore's great foodie experiences. The home of laksa is on Singapore's east coast in Katong where the "laksa wars" have been going on for years. Each stall claims to have the original and best recipe but 328 Katong Laksa is, if not the victor, doing very well from this spicy skirmish. There are several 328 stalls across the island and chef Ryan Koh from the hawker stall has even taken on British chef Gordon Ramsay in a laksa-off (Koh won!). Don't forget to try the otak-otak as well, a chilli-fuelled fish cake wrapped in a banana leaf. See 328katonglaksa.com.sg

Fried Hokkien mee at Geylang Lorong 28

These Hokkien mee (noodles) are fried over charcoal, giving them a smoky infusion and cooked with plenty of lard making them delicious, if not exactly slimming. The handmade chilli sauce has a great depth of flavour and the prawns are plump and well cooked. The oyster omelet here is also very good. Visit Geylang Lorong 28.

Teochew fish ball noodle soup at Crawford Lane

Teochew cuisine originates from Guangdong province in China and is known for its seafood and it's lighter touch to cooking. For this dish, handmade fishballs are cooked in a light and fragrant seafood broth along with fishcakes, and lettuce and topped with fresh beansprouts. Visit Crawford Court, 462 Crawford Lane.

TRIP NOTES

MORE INFORMATION

yoursingapore.com

GETTING THERE

Major airlines Singapore Airlines (singaporeair.com), Qantas (qantas.com), Emirates (emirates.com) and British Airways (britishairways.com) all fly to Singapore from Melbourne and Sydney. For low-cost carriers, Scoot (flyscoot.com) flies from Sydney to Singapore and Jetstar (jetstar.com) flies from Melbourne to Singapore.

STAYING THERE

Marina Bay Sands

Without a doubt the ritziest address in Singapore, a double room in this iconic building starts at $S469 and many people pay the room rate just to get the option to take a selfie in the rooftop infinity pool on the 57th floor. Visit 10 Bayfront Avenue, 
Singapore. See marinabaysands.com.

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