Beefzana, Yishun: “What the noodles lacked in flavour, Beefzana made up with lots of heart”

When the tidings of a mysterious virus from Wuhan came to the fore in late 2019, people were alarmed, but no one quite expected it to infect more than half of the world—or for 2020 to turn out the way it did, for that matter. The economy took a nosedive as millions worldwide were either laid off from their jobs or took massive pay cuts just to stay employed—but for Ishrat, Beefzana’s founder, it was a call-to-action.

Before opening Beefzana in October this year, Ishrat worked as an assistant manager at Zouk for close to 8 years—a job which he described as too relaxed, but well-paying. The lockdown had stripped all local nightclubs of customers, and for Ishrat, this beckoned a new beginning. With little to zero experience running an F&B stall, Ishrat left his job in search for a vocation with more meaning and purpose—and hence Beefzana was born.

Named after his wife Suzana, Beefzana is a small stall in Kim San Leng coffee shop at Northpoint Bizhub in Yishun and it is run by Ishrat, his wife and another staff. Like its name suggested, a variety of beef noodles occupy their menu, including Yong Tau Foo, which I subsequently learnt was already sold out by the time I had arrived.

The skies coincidentally started to open up for rain as I was approaching the store, and the timing couldn’t have been better for a steaming bowl of beef noodles.

What I tried

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The essence of Beefzana laid in its signature Beef Noodle Soup/Pho (S$5.50)—a bowl of rice noodles in beef broth soup served with kangkong and two meatballs. By its side sat a homemade chilli paste in a tiny cup, but the kick it packed was anything but. For this reason, the chilli is deliberately served separately from the soup, so that you’d be able to decide the amount that’s just right for you.

The meatballs were the star of this dish, its savoury flavour closely resembling those found in Indonesian mi bakso, while the tender slices of beef came in close second. The noodles, however, had a more rubbery texture than conventional pho, with a noticeably subtle flavour that desperately needed more seasoning. The chilli certainly helped, though, though it added more spice than flavour.

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Also accompanying my noodles was a bowl of Beef Tendons (S$2.50), which according to Ishrat, had been left to cook for about 10 hours before being served. There is no question to its tenderness—a piece almost literally dissolving in my mouth before I could even chew.

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The most expensive item on the menu, Ox Tail Soup (S$7.50), came next with two helpings of meat on bone and topped with a generous helping of pea shoots. The broth had a similar, mild beefy taste as compared to that of the previous dishes, while the meat was a tad chewier when compared to the velvety beef slices of the Beef Noodle Soup.

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Having tried two soup-based dishes so far, my tongue was desperate for a varied option, and that came in the form of the Dry Beef Noodles (S$5.50). Labelled as ‘spicy’ on the menu, a tinge of anxiety besieged me when I saw the layer of chilli resting beneath the yellow noodles. The chilli is intermixed with minced beef, with three meatballs sitting atop the bed of noodles.

To my relief, however, the chilli was not as spicy as I thought it would be. Yet again, the meatballs shine in this bowl as compared to the other ingredients. It’s a pretty straightforward dish, and like a good bowl of wanton noodles, made for perfect comfort food on a rainy day.

Final thoughts

The noodles at Beefzana lacked a certain something for me, but I did leave with a sense of admiration towards Ishrat’s courage and determination to succeed. Having had no experience in cooking, Ishrat had taught himself how to make beef noodles by watching YouTube tutorials.

When asked why he chose beef noodles, Ishrat explained that he’d want to give something different to his customers, instead of choosing easier food options for the sake of profit.

What the noodles lacked in flavour, Beefzana added with heart. Their journey had only just begun, but it marked new beginnings, and of enterprise in times of strife—when all is said and done, a little support for each other could go a long way, especially in struggling times like these. And if you’re a lover of beef and all things meat, a little traipse down to Beefzana will certainly perk those cravings right up.

Expected Damage: S$5 – S$10 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 3 / 5


2 Yishun Industrial Street 1, Northpoint Bizhub, Singapore 768159

Our Rating 3/5


2 Yishun Industrial Street 1, Northpoint Bizhub, Singapore 768159

Operating Hours: 8am to 9pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 8am to 9pm (Daily)
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