Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles: Humility + secret recipe = 3 stalls in 1 year

I have to admit it: I am a sucker for stalls with Malaysian state names in the title. Once I heard of Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles, it was only a matter of time before I made my way there to try the food for myself.

Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles - 332 Coffee House

A couple of weeks ago, I finally got the chance. My destination was 332 Coffee House in Ang Mo Kio, the location of the original Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles stall. Started by third-generation hawker Steven Cheah, it has only been open for about 14 months since its debut on the local hawker scene in September 2021.

I couldn’t help but think that 2021 must have been a brave time to take a gamble in the fickle world of F&B. That gamble seems to have paid off handsomely, though.

They marked their first anniversary with an expansion to a second stall on Boon Tiong Road in Tiong Bahru on 14 Sep 2022. A third stall opened last month on 1 Oct 2022 in People’s Park Centre, Chinatown.

Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles - stall

Despite the success, the team isn’t taking it easy. When I arrived, Steven’s son, Jacky was at the wok, working away in the heat wearing the same blue uniform as all the other staff. Nice.

What I tried at Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles

When Jacky asked me for my order, I knew I had to go for their signature Ipoh Curry Noodles (S$6). This recipe is now over 30 years old and in the hands of the fourth generation of the family. It was time to find out what the secret behind its longevity and popularity.

Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles - signature curry noodles

You can have this either dry or with soup and I went for the liquid-infused version. It was whipped together in a few minutes.

Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles - signature curry noodles ingredients

In my bowl, there were 4 medium-sized slices of char siew, 5 long, rectangular pieces of pork belly, 2 pretty large slices of tau pok and some shredded chicken. 5 slices of long beans and a handful of taugeh rounded off the list of ingredients.

To the side, a dollop of red-brown sambal peppered with chilli seeds was bleeding its colour into the orangish soup. A sprig of mint completed the scene.

I first took a sip of the soup. Without mixing the sambal in, the Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles signature dish isn’t very spicy. You can taste the essence of coconut but not in an overwhelming way. When I did agitate the sambal into the soup, I was glad for the stabilising tang from the calamansi half.

With a soup-based dish like this, I like to take my time so the individual elements absorb the liquid while simultaneously releasing their own essence into it. This nifty tactic works best with tau pok here but is also very nice with the shredded chicken.

Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles - signature curry noodles meat and tau pok

A mouthful of the yellow noodles together with tau pok, shredded chicken and char siew together was enough to make me a fan.

The pork belly was tender and juicy and soaked up the flavours very nicely, making every bite extremely juicy.

My favourite part of the bowl was definitely the chicken, though, something I was surprised to realise. In its shredded form, chicken takes on a dry texture. When it absorbs all the curry and coconut flavour from the bowl, the result is something almost completely unlike its original form. I love it.

Final thoughts

Given that I liked the Ipoh Curry Noodles as much as I did, it surprises me that I didn’t see more of a crowd at Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles. 332 Coffee House does have a bit of an ulu, laidback vibe, though, so maybe that’s just the norm.

This was an interesting visit, nonetheless. I turn up for reviews anonymously and keep all equipment in my backpack until after ordering so I get to see the same scene as any other diner. When I turned up, Jacky Cheah, son of the boss was hard at work.

Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles - hawker Jacky Cheah

It was great to see that there are based young hawkers putting in the hard yards themselves instead of relying on past family success and wealth. Delicious bowls of noodles for us to enjoy are just a bonus.

Expected damage: $3.90 – $11.90 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles

332 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, 332 Coffee House, Stall 4, Singapore 560332

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Jian Zao Ipoh Curry Noodles

332 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, 332 Coffee House, Stall 4, Singapore 560332

Telephone: +65 9247 5305
Operating Hours: 8am - 7pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 9247 5305

Operating Hours: 8am - 7pm (Daily)
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