Laifaba: Amazing melt-in-your-mouth bu jian tian wanton mee hidden in industrial estate

As a Westie, I feel like I must have been living under a rock to not have known about Laifaba. The insanely popular wanton mee joint is hidden away in an industrial estate in Bukit Batok (frankly, I didn’t know this place even existed).

But far from being devoid of life, Laifaba draws a packed lunch crowd and for good reason; their bu jian tian char siew is sinfully good.

Laifaba - Storefront

Laifaba was originally located at Ann Siang Hill and went by Laifabar (yes, as in “bar”, the pub). They have since relocated to Bukit Batok Crescent, and I was surprised to come across the stall amidst the many office buildings crowding the area. It was like finding a rose among the thorns.

Laifaba - Interior 01

The interior of Laifaba was decked out in beautiful retro decor. Warm lighting illuminated the bustling space to make it warm and inviting.

Laifaba - Interior 02

If anything, the ambience at Laifaba actually reminded me of what a traditional Chinese home looked like during Chinese New Year. The festive-looking banners, posters and even large, round tables added to the CNY-esque feel.

What I tried at Laifaba

Laifaba - Still Shot

Of course, I had to try their signature menu item, the Laifaba Signature Dry Tossed Noodles (S$11.90). For the cut of char siew, you can choose between lean, fatty and a mix of the two. I went for the mixed cut to get the best of both worlds. In addition to the standard wanton mee ingredients, there’s also an ajitsuke tamago half, which really added to the aesthetic of the bowl.

The price was definitely on the steeper side. But I think portion-wise, it’s not too bad, especially for a more atas restaurant-style establishment like Laifaba.

The one thing that immediately stood out to me, though, was the char siew. Though I got the mix option, every piece was glistening, and the bowl had an amazing, smoky aroma.

Laifaba - Char Siew Closeup

Behold, the bu jian tian (literally “never seeing the sky”) char siew made from the underarms of the pig. It’s said to have the best ratio of fat to meat.

The char siew was perfectly caramelised on the outside with perfect, crispy edges and was oh-so tender on the inside.

Laifaba - Char Siew

The char siew was threatening to fall apart, but just look at those incredible layers! The char siew simply melted away in my mouth. It was pure bliss.

Laifaba - Wanton

The wanton was modest-sized but filled with well-seasoned pork that went well with the sauce of the wanton mee.

There was also a fried wanton in my bowl — I’m pleased to report that it was crisp and had a nice, juicy filling.

Laifaba - Noodles

The sauce of the wanton mee had a gentle, smoky sweetness and coated the springy noodles very well. I think the wood-fired char siew certainly lent a helping hand to make the sauce incredibly complex and rich. The noodles had a good texture to them and I enjoyed my meal to the very last bite.

New in town: Legend Wanton Mee — $5.50 WTM by MasterChef Singapore finalist Aaron Wong

Laifaba - Soup

It was a first for me to have such a gao soup accompanying my wanton mee. Unlike the usual clear soup that came with most wanton mee, this one came with an ivory-coloured collagen pork bone soup.

Laifaba - Soup Scallop

I was pleasantly surprised to find dried scallops in the soup, and it certainly upped the umami. But perhaps in contrast to the full-bodied flavour of the noodles, the overall flavour of the soup was somewhat lacklustre.

Laifaba - Dumplings

I chose to get myself a side and went with Shrimp Dumplings (with Garlic, Ginger, Vinegar & Soy Sauce) (S$10.90 for 4 pieces). For the sauce, you can also choose Red Chilli Oil or Scallop and Pork Bone Collagen Broth instead.

For 4 pieces, the price was certainly not the most wallet-friendly but perhaps it would be worth the price.

Laifaba - Dumplings Closeup

The shrimp dumplings were stuffed with a mixture of seasoned shrimp paste mixed with black fungus, chives and finely minced carrot. The dumplings were juicy and had a great contrast in texture with the black fungus. It paired perfectly with the garlic-vinegar sauce.

Though there were only 4 dumplings, they were rather large; the bowl was actually the perfect size to share among a few people. If you were not craving wanton mee, the dumplings here pack a punch, too.

Final Thoughts

Laifaba - Overall Shot

Laifaba… where have you been all my life? I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the meat and generous ingredients at Laifaba. Not only that but the service was also top-notch, which really added to the overall experience.

The wanton mee at Laifaba was really worlds apart from those I’ve tried in the past. The sauce, char siew, noodles and even the soup came together to form a stellar bowl of wanton mee.

Price and obscure location aside, Laifaba would be an easy five stars. I know I would definitely be back for more of the bu jian tian goodness and to even try out the sio bak at Laifaba, too.

Expected damage: S$8 – S$11.90 per pax

Where to eat: 11 best dry wanton mee in SG that will leave you ‘wanton’ more

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5


71 Bukit Batok Crescent, Prestige Centre, #02-02, Singapore 658071

Our Rating 4.5/5


71 Bukit Batok Crescent, Prestige Centre, #02-02, Singapore 658071

Telephone: +65 9181 6383
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 3pm & 6pm - 9pm (Tue to Fri), 11am - 3pm & 5.30pm - 9pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 9181 6383

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 3pm & 6pm - 9pm (Tue to Fri), 11am - 3pm & 5.30pm - 9pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Mon
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