Last Updated: January 6, 2019
Since young, my family of four would rotate who gets to choose what was for dinner on the weekends as we looked to unwind over an easy meal around the vicinity. I will always remember how my sister stubbornly pestered to have beef noodles, regardless of the distance.
A week came by where my sister was overseas yet it was her turn to choose (yes, we still observe this practice till now). So, we headed to Cheng Kee Beef Kway Teow near Kovan MRT.
With the brightest signage under Block 203, the corner store is not hard to spot. At first, I thought I had beaten the lunch crowd to avoid the queue but boy, was I wrong.
If you walk a little further up, you’ll be greeted by a snaking queue that lurks around the stall. The steady line remained consistent throughout our time here.
Well, Singaporean culture claims this: If there’s a queue, it’s got to be good right? We were about to find out.
The line moved really fast, with the young chef inside the kitchen whipping bowls up quickly to satiate hungry customers. I noticed two jars placed on the table, where patrons eagerly scooped heaps up in multiple saucers.
Of course, I followed suit. The vibrant chilli and sweet onion sauce were said to complement the dish wholesomely, so I went back with two portions of each.
Our monstrous appetite had us ordering a feast and like starved bears, and we plunged right in to judge the hype.
We had the Dry Beef Thick Bee Hoon (S$4), which came with thick brown gravy, a generous helping of sliced beef, preserved vegetables, chopped Chinese parsley and a bowl of soup.
I first gave the dish a taste without any extra condiments to have a go at its original flavour. The gravy wasn’t too thick or starchy and was well-balanced to avoid being too watered down.
The sweet and sour notes from the preserved vegetables also added a tangy element, which really brought the dish together.
Unsurprisingly, Cheng Kee Beef Kway Teow nailed it on the head with their supple, tender meat.
You must be thinking: How good could beef possibly taste? I promise you, it’s out-of-this-world delightful. Take away all those higher grades of beef at strikingly high prices, this humble cut and portion will bewitch you.
Now, onward with the crowd-pleasers – Cheng Kee Beef Kway Teow’s in-house cincalok and chilli. Normally, cincalok features small shrimp presented as a condiment with lime juice. This version was different, with just shaved shallots in a sour brine.
I finally understood why customers were so shameless in digging up copious amounts. The sweetness of the shallots was so addictive on its own and tossing it into Cheng Kee’s beef noodles made it oh-so mouth-watering.
We brazenly doused Cheng Kee Beef Kway Teow’s house chilli in and safe to say, there were no regrets. As someone who is rather weak in handling spice, the heat of this chilli sauce couldn’t hold me back from wanting more.
That kick of spice did not hit me instantly, and it took a few more mouthfuls to slowly feel the burn. Despite the fiery ordeal, this combination of flavour had to be one of Cheng Kee Beef Kway Teow’s signatures.
Mixing every single component up will probably leave your bowl looking like a chaotic mess, but if it doesn’t then you’re probably doing something wrong. It’s the perfect mess.
The other recommended version we had was the Beef Kway Teow Soup (S$4). Pretty much what we had for the dry version, except that the bowls’ contents were blanketed by the clouded beef soup.
The soup had a herbal taste to it and slightly on the peppery side. Anyone could tell that this hearty broth invested lots of time to produce such a rich flavour.
Kway teow (thin flat rice noodles) is commonly known as the top noodle choice to pair with soup bases but hey, to each is own.
With every slurp of the warm soup, it became more evident why people adored Cheng Kee’s beef noodle bowls. While the gravy from the dry rendition had a luscious texture, the soup variation was all-in-one nutritious. Two thumbs up from me.
Don’t forget that touch of cincalok with every spoonful you take, there’s a ground-breaking difference!
While it’s not my ultimate favourite, I’m happy to have found Cheng Kee Beef Kway Teow and if you’re ever in need of that extra protein, this should be next on your list.
Head on over for some affordable, hearty and scrumptious beef noodle bowls.
Expected Damage: S$4 – S$8 per pax
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Cheng Kee Beef Kway Teow
203 Hougang Street 21, Singapore 530203
203 Hougang Street 21, Singapore 530203