Last Updated: December 23, 2016
Although not founded in Singapore, Chinese handmade ban mian noodles are gradually assimilating into our list of local foods. They’re in almost every kopitiam and food court, with famous ban mian noodles making headlines and drawing much hype.
Ban Mian noodles are the most popularly eaten noodle variety in Singapore which is what we have come to identify these stalls as. Strictly speaking though, handmade noodle stalls are more accurate rather than calling them Ban Mian stalls.
Handmade noodles are so essential to us that it almost feels like a kopitiam or food court is incomplete without it! Typically, ban mian stalls offer a choice of noodles: flat ban mian, thin u-mian, silky mee sua or fluffy mee hoon kuay. The soup base is the same, and only the texture of the noodle is varied according to preference.
Also, many handmade noodle stalls now offer dry versions where the hearty broth is replaced with a combination of sauces and chili, so you get plate of handmade noodles heavier in flavour, with more kick to its taste.
As I personally prefer Mee Hoon Kuay, many of the noodles I’ve tried are Mee Hoon Kuay or U-mian instead. After much noodle hunting, I present my list of the best ban mian in Singapore.
Simple sweet broth with subtle ikan bilis notes, this soup tastes au naturale without MSG. Their noodles were of the softer variety, but definitely not overly ‘nua’, hence those who prefer their noodles to be chewy can probably request for it. Nice roughly chopped texture to the minced meat.
I like that they use spinach instead of cabbage but they could definitely use more of it. For $3.50 at a kopitiam, it would be better if they were more generous with their other ingredients though their soup is pretty decent.
Xiang Xiang Mian Jia 香香面家: Eng Heng Coffee House, Blk 155 Bukit Batok Street 11, Singapore 650155
So glad to have found a decent ban mian stall just a stone’s throw away from the Toa Payoh office. Now it’s easy to get a bowl of hearty hot ban mian soup during those chilly rainy days.
The ban mian stall in this kopitiam is extremely magnanimous with their ingredients. Most times you’ll find your bowl overflowing with noodles, soup and minced meat. They have a lightly seasoned broth with enough flavour and doesn’t end up too sickening to drain the entire bowl.
The minced meat isn’t too overcooked or over seasoned. The dry version is pretty decent too, although their soup version outshines this, lightly seasoned, with a generous amount of ingredients, it’s also of the dark sauce variety that I enjoy.
Overall pretty decent, and sufficiently good to satisfy your cravings.
Do note that this stall attracts quite a crowd especially during lunch hour. Wait times can be pretty long from 15-30 minutes. Furthermore, it doesn’t help that this particular kopitiam is small and popular.
Ban Mian 福州版面 @ J99 Coffeeshop : J99 kopitiam, Block 186, Toa Payoh Central, Singapore 310186
North Spine Food Court’s Xin Mei Ban Mian soup is one of the tastiest I’ve ever had; I guarantee it is totally slurp-worthy.
It has a nice balance of sweet and salty with the minced meat tight yet soft with none of that gamey smell. What’s better, for you on bulking season, you can order additional noodles for freeeeeee (if I remembered correctly).
The noodles here are of the soft variety if you want it chewier, it is possible to request for it. I liked how their mee hoon kuay was so silky soft to the bite. I often stupidly get burnt by my noodles here because I get too eager.
Hunger messes with your mind. However, the soup may come across as too over-seasoned for some.
Xin Mei 新美 , Hand-Made Noodles: North Spine Food Court, Nanyang Technological University, Block 2.1, Level 2
From the Zha Jiang Mian, to Tomato Egg Soup to the usual ban mian varieties, this is one of Utown food court’s popular stall. During lunch hour, you can expect a queue but that’s because these noodles are worth it. Yes baby, you are worth it.
The serving here is not only generous, they are value for money as well. With each bowl of noodles, you have an additional side of either 2 pieces of guo tie (pot stickers), fried fish fingers or a plate of fresh mushrooms. Za Jiang Mian and Guo Tie? Yes please, that’s kinda like the best of both worlds.
Interestingly, apart from the usual Tom Yum flavour as a spicy soup base, they also offer dry sze chuan vegetable flavour.
Of course being NUS Students would entail discounts on the food there, so the public has to pay a tad bit more.
Ban Mian/ Fish Soup: Flavours @ NUS, NUS University Town, 2 College Ave West, Stephen Riady Centre, Singapore 138607
Due to multiple recommendation from people saying Qiu Lan was undoubtedly good despite its multiple chains, I was looking forward to tasting some real quality old-fashion ban mian butttttttt the expectation was probably what killed it.
Upon tasting Qiu Lian’s U-mian soup, it was kinda underwhelming. The broth was a tad sour upon the first spoonful of it. The sweetness and saltiness was very subtle, only coming into play more evidently after more slurps. Hence the broth to me was highly questionable.
Despite the underwhelming soup, other aspects of QL’s banmian were commendable. The noodles were made excellently with a seemingly light eggy flavour, cooked till a nice doneness that had the noodles soft yet chewy on the inside, while the ikan bilis were crispy but tended to be too salty.
Their little dollops of minced meat were seasoned well with hints of pepper and sesame oil, almost can’t taste any pork odour. HOWEVER a little part of my minced meat wasn’t cooked properly and it would be great if they were more generous with their minced meat.
Guess Qiu Lian still has to work on their quality check and consistency. Try the Toa Payoh outlet instead. Seth still disputes that Qiu Lian is generally pretty good.
Qiu Lian Ban Mian 秋莲板面: City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Road, Food Republic, Level 4, Singapore 208539| Website
Pretty tasty soup base a with a hint of sour but it’s really easy to drink – doesn’t make you feel too overwhelmed with flavour. There is a satisfying natural sweetness coming out from the cabbage and minced meat.
Seeing the cook expertly scooping out minced meat with swift precise strokes, relief washed over me as I knew my ban mian was in good hands but, the only problem was that his scoops were so tiny! The meat ended up about the size of 2 shriveled up 5 cent coins. Would be so much better if they were less stingy with their minced meat.
Their chili sauce is definitely unique, having higher viscosity and sweetness than the usual ban mian chili sauce.
Face Ban Mian has pretty decent handmade noodles generally so it’s a good place to sufficiently assuage your Handmade noodles craving. It’s also especially convenient since they have multiple outlets.
Face Ban Mian 非版面: Block 132, Foodclique, Jurong East Street 13, Singapore 600132
You probably already knew L32 Hand Made noodles was going to be on the list.
Hailed as the handmade noodle stall with the best soup and the longest queue, you can betcha ass you’d be sweating it out in a queue for this because baby, this is worth it.
The broth is a wonderful balance between sweet and salty, brewed from quality ikan bilis and probably pork bones. One can tell from the lightness and natural sweetness of the soup that there is hardly or even no artificial flavouring added.
The noodles are also handmade. I really liked that their mee hoon kuay is hand pulled as well as it emerges in odd uneven shapes. Apart from the usual minced meat, they give you meatballs as well.
As for the dry version, al dente hand-made noodles are tossed expertly in rich dark sauce and other seasonings, with the still runny egg served in your small bowl of soup, cute!
The recipe for the delicious ban mian was borne out of the lady boss’ immense love for handmade noodles. Shirley and her husband, Ben, took over this stall roughly in 2003 from another ban mian stall owner but they had no recipe at all.
Despite that, Shirley’s passion for these noodles and the couple’s endless trial and errors brought them the recipe that got Singaporeans queuing from Geylang to JB. Another interesting thing to note is that the couple are pretty young! It pleases me to see younger singaporeans joining the local food scene, keeping it alive.
With that much praise, be prepared to queue for a long time.
L32 Hand Made noodles: 558 Geylang Road Jln Geylang Lorong 32, Singapore 389509 | Tel: 9770 2829 | Opening hours: 11:30am to 9:30pm (Closed on Mon) |
Top 1 home made noodles is number 1 in my heart. Top 1 home-made noodles is no stranger to the best ban mian list. Many many have continuously extolled Top 1’s handmade noodle goodness and I absolutely agree.
Other than the standard of their noodles, what sets top 1 apart is the wide variety in their menu like seafood flavour, tom yum soup flavour, dry version, big prawns, fish slices etc.
Their original ban mian broth is always hot and tasty, with sufficient saltiness and subtle pork flavour. The noodles are consistently and masterly cooked to that degree where it is soft yet chewy. Their minced meat does not have that off-putting gamey pork odour – Instead it is soft, and lightly seasoned.
When you order your noodles with fish slices, you’d most probably get really generous slices! And don’t get me started on their Dry Ban Mian.
I personally really enjoy dry mee hoon kuay and TOP 1’s dry version is definitely worth the wait. It is of that rich dark sauce variety that intoxicates your noodles with the dark sauce + whatever secret sauce combination. It is sweet, savoury, so intensely satisfying especially when you have it with their fiery chili. Top 1’s homemade chili is not to be trifled with for it is extremely spicy.
But it tastes and feels so good that so many masochistic people buy it! Yes, they even sell their homemade chili.
Because they’re so popular, you might want to avoid meal time peak hours or avoid going too late to prevent long waiting time and the unfortunate case of everything-is-sold-out, respectively.
Top 1 Home Made Noodle: Beauty World Food Centre, 144 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Level 4, #04-44, Singapore 588177 | Tel: +65 84488450 | Website
Dry Mee Hoon Kuay is the boooooomb.com, love the dark sauce seasoning that is intoxicatingly sweet with light saltiness. The minced meat and vegetables are given in generous quantities; I sometimes find myself with more meat leftover than my noodles (but I still eat them don’t worry).
Their minced meat is well-marinated with no gamey odour or anything of that sort. If you don’t fancy minced meat, you can opt for the prawn version instead. Their ikan bilis are usually thick and crispy but occasionally overly salty. What’s absolutely on an entirely different class on its own is Greenview’s Mee Hoon Kuay.
Don’t let its incongruent, ugly exterior fool you. These little handmade and hand-pulled kuehs are thick with a softer side and a wonderfully chewy centre; it takes a while to properly chew these uneven pieces of MHK.
So you kinda burn calories while eating that’s pretty brilliant no?! These noodles are simply addictive for me. At $4.50 a bowl, you can get an affordable full meal in town! You can easily drop by whenever you’re out shopping in town.
I have yet to try their soup version, so if you have, do let me know how it is in the comments below!
Green View 翠苑 : Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, #04-95B/96, Singapore |Tel: 67342312 | Website | Opening Hours: 10:00am to 8.00pm (Closed on Thurs)
I don’t reckon Ke Kou Mian needs anymore introduction but what you may not know is other than maggie noodles, the stall also has handmade noodles and although it isn’t what people usually order, Ke Kou Mian’s Mee Hoon Kuay is amazing.
Simply because his soup base is just undeniably delicious and the mee hoon kuay he has are thick chewy slices of heaven. Lovey, lovely stuff. But the only downside to Ke Kou Mian’s soup base is it’s inconsistency.
Some nights the soup is murky and bursts with flavour but other days I feel it doesn’t seem as fantastic as ‘that day’.
KKM is very very well-known and queues can go over 20 bowls with at least 1 hour waiting time during supper hours. So to avoid the queue, you might want to go in the morning instead of those nightowl times. Personal plea to not contribute to the long queue during supper time because I love KKM for supper.
Ke Kou Mian: Block 163, Gangsa Road, Singapore 670163 | Opening Hours: 02:00 – 12:00 (Closes on Wed)
Related Guide: Best Fish Sliced Soup in Singapore