Face To Face Noodle House is a 30-strong Malaysia-based chain that specialises in Sarawak noodles, and its first overseas outlet in Singapore at City Square Mall has most recently introduced its Hot and Spicy Pan Mee Challenge, with the prize being a 4-day 3-night trip to South Korea for two.
Running from 12 August 2016 – 30 September 2016, daredevils who choose to participate in this contest have to choose 1 of 4 levels of hellish noodles to wolf down.
The difference in difficulty is made apparent: while the regular Hot & Spicy Pan Mee is equivalent to one entry in the lucky draw, its Level 4 counterpart commands a whopping 10 contest entries. And if that doesn’t drive the point home, the indemnity form you’re made to sign at the counter definitely will.
This rather spacious eatery operates by free-seating, and customers bring a small number block back to their table as they wait for their orders to be served. Staff counter is courteous, friendly and offer helpful recommendations for first-time visitors.
It hardly took more than 5 minutes before the unassuming level 4 Hot & Spicy Pan Mee ($8.90) arrived. A runny soft-poached egg, ikan bilis, minced meat, veggies and a rather intimidating pile of their house special dried chili garnish this mini-mountain of noodles.
Without chili oil or a nose-tingling hot broth that are prevalent when it comes to anything marketed ‘hot’, the noodles appear dry and (mostly) docile, save for the little pile of red sitting atop.
Remember the golden rule: never judge noodles by their colour.
While the noodles may seem dry at first glance due to the lack of any sauce, the onsen egg provides enough liquid to act as a binder when you mix up it all up. The chili flakes seem to disappear from sight, and with comforting yolk coating every strand, there is no warning –or scent- of the Armageddon that is headed your way.
The spiciness doesn’t hit you in the face like a good Mike Tyson knockout. Your mouth registers the chewy texture of the noodles first, then the gentle egg, savoury minced meat and crunchy ikan bilis. Then the chili starts ambushing you from the back at the throat, which then creeps into your mouth and your insides. The kick is strong, and your stomach feels like it’s doing backflips.
Face To Face’s dried chili is definitely not for the faint of heart, and we recommend that those who are unaccustomed to fiery spice to protect their stomachs by drinking milk prior to eating these noodles, or otherwise risk discomfort for the rest of the day.
Thankfully, there are combo sets available, which offer a drink on the side, such as honey lemon and soy milk, at just an extra dollar. Definitely a worthy match to the spicy Korean Samyang noodles.
Expected Damage: $8.90 per pax