The name Bai Nian (百年) Niang Dou Fu might sound traditional, but this food court stall has completely reinvented the very idea of our well-loved Yong Tau Foo.
Located at Viva Business Park along Chai Chee Road, the third branch of the well-known Bai Nian Niang Dou Fu is the only one that offers exclusive items such as Seafood Cheese Bee Hoon and Chicken Wings.
Bai Nian’s owner, Amy, tells me that she isn’t very fond of the traditional Hakka-style Yong Tau Foo. She feels that the Yong Tau Foo pieces seem to be made for giants — just a few pieces are already enough to make her full.
She also finds that Hakka-style Yong Tau Foo tends to go wrong in either one of two ways. Either there is too much ground pork incorporated into the dish, or an excessive amount of fish paste is used.
As such, she (and her husband) did the only thing that would rid her of her Yong Tau Foo grievances, and created her own unique Yong Tau Foo dish.
With a mixture of different pastes, Bai Nian’s Yong Tau Foo steers away from convention. With each bowl, comes a variety of Yong Tau Foo pieces made from prawn, pork and fish paste. This, Amy feels, helps to make the dish well-balanced, and it is neither too meaty, nor too fishy.
Well, I think I’ll reserve my comments on traditional Hakka-style Yong Tau Foo for now, but I will not hold back my praise for the incredibly delicious bowl of Yong Tau Foo that I was served at Bai Nian.
Firstly, the bee hoon itself was of premium quality; I could tell just by how springy it felt. The soup tasted healthy (you know, the “clean” kind), but full of flavour, and paired excellently with the fine bee hoon.
The prawn, pork and fish rolls were all well-seasoned, and sufficiently tender. They come in bite-sized pieces, rather than huge chunks, making them easy to eat. And make sure you try the bitter gourd — it’s one of the best I’ve had!
A regular bowl of Yong Tau Foo comes at a price of $4.50, with a total of seven pieces of delicious Yong Tau Foo. There is an incredibly generous serving of bee hoon as well.
If you like to pack on the carbs, you’ll be happy to know that each bowl of bee hoon even comes with a free upsize! Or, if you’d like more pieces of Yong Tau Foo, you can just pay an extra charge of $1.
On weekdays between 11.30am – 2pm, Bai Nian offers a Yong Tau Foo Set ($5.80). That means that each bowl of Yong Tau Foo will come with two crisp and delicious chicken wings. From 6pm – 9pm, you can also buy four chicken wings for $6.
Bai Nian also has a new item: Prawn Fritters ($9 for 10). These had a crispy exterior, while the inside was springy and flavourful. Little bites of pure joy!
Pair the fiery spice of Bai Nian’s Dynasty Chilli Sauce with the fritters to add another dimension of flavour to the dish, making for a heavenly combination.
For those who might want to buy these in bulk, Bai Nian sells 400g of prawn fritters for $35, and 800g for $65. They come pre-fried, so all you have to do is reheat them.
My favourite dish, however, was the Seafood Cheese Bee Hoon ($9) that is sold exclusively at this branch. I know, it sounds bizarre — cheese and bee hoon don’t quite go together, do they?
Well, you never know until you try it, and boy am I glad I did. The sweetness of the seafood broth was in perfect harmony with the savoury creaminess of the cheese, giving the dish a depth of flavour like no other. Furthermore, the cheese added a silky texture to the broth, making for an incredibly smooth mouth-feel.
$9 may sound rather pricey for a single portion, but they do give an incredibly generous serving of seafood, which makes the dish really value-for-money. There are prawns, fish, scallops and even faux abalone, in addition to multiple pieces of Yong Tau Foo.
Interestingly, Bai Nian also owns the drinks stall at the Viva Business Park food court. Here, you can find a rich and creamy Cheese Toast ($5.80) with ham and egg in the middle. That price also includes a hot drink!
Speaking of drinks, I managed to try the Mocha ($2.80). This is a drink for those who dislike the bitter aftertaste of coffee, but enjoy the aroma it brings. It was lovely to have with the Cheese Toast, and would make for a great afternoon treat.
For those who can’t get enough of Bai Nian’s tantalising Yong Tau Foo, you’ll be happy to know that they sell their Yong Tau Foo pastes in bulk as well. They have three different pastes: prawn ($60 per kg), meat ($30 per kg) and mixed ($50 per kg), available only at the Viva Business Park branch. These would be perfect for your CNY steamboat!
While Bai Nian has three branches (Viva Business Park, Albert Food Centre and People’s Park Food Centre), I would recommend heading down to the one at Viva Business Park just for the Seafood Cheese Bee Hoon. Yes, it’s that good, but do beware of the snaking lunchtime queues!
Expected damage: $5 – $10 per pax
Bai Nian (百年) Niang Dou Fu: #01-25, Viva Business Park, 750 Chai Chee Road, Singapore 469000 | Opening Hours: 7.30am – 9pm (Daily) | Tel: +65 9692 6921 | Facebook
Note: Only the Albert Food Centre branch will be open throughout Chinese New Year 2018.