545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles: Third-Gen Prawn Noodles Stall Nestled In Tekka Food Centre

When it comes to hawker food, prawn noodles will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only is it satisfying, but each bowl of hae mee is a real labour of love.

The rich umami-laden broth, the plump prawns and the tender pork ribs all require a substantial amount of prep work. Each bowl you see represents countless hours of de-shelling and de-veining prawns, preparing the pork bones and tending to that winning broth.

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Here at Tekka Food Centre545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles is an institution when it comes to prawn noodles, which explains the perpetual queue. Today, 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles is helmed by Ruifang, who is a third-generation hawker carrying on her grandfather’s legacy.

545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles had their humble beginnings all the way back in the 1950s when Ruifang’s grandfather sold prawn noodles out of a pushcart. When Whampoa market was built, her grandfather set up his stall there and later Ruifang’s father took over the stall.

After four years in the corporate world, Ruifang decided that it wasn’t for her and she went back to helping her father at the stall. Now, Ruifang, along with her one of her aunts, help run the stall.

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I ordered both Soup (S$4/S$5) and Dry (S$4/S$5) versions. I’m quite a purist when it comes to prawn noodles, so I do prefer the soup version more than the dry version. This bowl of prawn noodles was as old-school as it could get — no fancy stuff. Just a portion of yellows noodle, prawns, pork slices and a generous sprinkling of fried shallots.

I liked how they were generous with their prawns, and they scored brownie points for sliced, de-shelled and de-veined prawns, which is great for pernickety eaters like myself.

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For me, the most important part of any hae mee has to be the broth. The broth has to be rich and chock-full of that crustacean goodness but also tempered by the robust pork broth. This lip-smacking combination is precisely what keeps you coming back for more.

What I also appreciate about prawn noodles is the sheer amount of prep time that goes into a single bowl of noodles. Ruifang wakes up at the ungodly hour of 2.30am to start shelling the prawns and boiling the pork bones, in time for the stall to open at 6.30am.

This recipe has been in the family for three generations and it did not disappoint. The broth was comforting and brought me back to when my grandmother made prawn noodles for us. Each slurp had the right amount of saltiness and bite, which I enjoyed immensely.

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The prawns tasted fresh and sweet and likewise for the pork slices. A hearty and gratifying bowl that will be perfect for rainy mornings and afternoons.

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For the dry version, it comes with a spoonful of ketchup and a healthy dollop of fiery sambal. Some people do prefer to eat their prawn noodles this way as the flavours are more pronounced and brighter.

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Each strand of yellow noodle is well-coated with ketchup and sambal. I’ve got to say, this was a lot punchier than the soup version. The chilli delivered a slow burn that was piquant and addictive. The fried shallots added good texture that I didn’t get in the soup version.

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A little treat that I look forward to with prawn noodles has to be the cubes of fried pork lard. It’s something of a guilty pleasure. I would pop these babies like candy if I could.

I’m happy to report that the pork lard cubes hit the mark and were the icing on the cake.

It goes without saying that 545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles’ reputation speaks for itself, as come lunchtime, there is always a steady queue of loyal patrons.

Of course, what really warms the soul is, when I have this bowl of prawn noodles, I know it’s run by Ruifang, a third-generation hawker. Life as a hawker is not easy; the crowd, coupled with the repetitive prep work and long hours can make anyone baffled as to why anyone would opt for this life.

Despite all these obvious drawbacks, Ruifang, amongst many other young hawkers, are still valiantly and passionately pursuing this hawker life. And lucky for us, because we get to savour her dedication and love to creating heartwarming bowls of prawn noodles.

Expected damage: S$4 – S$6 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles

665 Buffalo Rd, Tekka Food Centre, #01-326, Singapore 210665

Our Rating 4/5

545 Whampoa Prawn Noodles

665 Buffalo Rd, Tekka Food Centre, #01-326, Singapore 210665

Operating Hours: 6.30am to 2pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun

Operating Hours: 6.30am to 2pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun