Liu Kou Shui: Green chilli ramen & mala char siew rice bowls by 24-year-old culinary school graduate

What was I doing in my early twenties? Well, not owning my own hawker stall, that’s for sure. However, 24-year-old Xiao Xuan started Liu Kou Shui (means drooling in English) together with her mum in Dec 2022 at Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre.

liu kou shui - stall front

liu kou shui - xiao xuan cooking

Her parents, both with a background in the food industry, are the driving force behind her pursuit of a culinary degree, fueled by her passion for the field. She studied in ITE with a Nitec in Western Culinary Arts before getting her Bachelor’s Degree in International Culinary Arts Management.

liu kou shui - xiao xuan and friend

Unfortunately, Xiao Xuan’s mum hasn’t been in the pink of health and is currently recuperating at home. On the day of my visit, I had the pleasure of meeting her friend, Hee Yan (pictured left) who was helping her with the stall’s operations.

Normally, Xiao Xuan’s boyfriend lends a hand, but he was fulfilling his reservist duties that day. She shared that she arrives at the stall a couple of hours earlier to prepare the necessary misc en place for the day.

What I tried at Liu Kou Shui

The menu at Liu Kou Shui centres around 8 different kinds of rice bowls, with the option of switching your bowl of grains to ramen with 2 different sauces or brown rice for an additional dollar.

liu kou shui - beef sukiyaki

I got the engine running with the Beef Sukiyaki Don (S$8) and opted for Ramen with Homemade Green Chilli Sauce (+S$1). Slices of beef are sauteed with sliced onions, capsicum and a sukiyaki-based sauce along with other seasonings before being placed on top of the noodles.

liu kou shui - beef sukiyaki

I destroyed the beautiful poached egg on top with my spoon and fork and proceeded to jumble all the ingredients up, transforming it into a beautiful mess.

liu kou shui - ramen closeup

Xiao Xuan finely grinds fresh green chilies and concocts her unique blend of flavours. After savouring a few bites, the spiciness from the chillies gradually emerged, with a subtle smokiness that lingered gently in the aftertaste.

You’ll also get bits of onion and capsicum from the beef which adds a mild sweetness and crunchy texture to the ramen. The creaminess of the poached egg also made every element more inviting.

liu kou shui - ramen closeup

Xiao Xuan finely grinds fresh green chilies and concocts her unique blend of flavours. After savoring a few bites, the chilli’s spiciness gradually emerged, but in a gentle manner with a smoky aftertaste.

You’ll also get bits of onion and capsicum from the beef which added a mild sweetness and crunchy texture to the ramen. The creaminess of the poached egg also made every element more inviting.

liu kou shui - beef closeup

The thin, streaky slices of beef had a good fat to meat ratio and were perfumed with the sliced vegetables and soy sauce coming from the sukiyaki glaze.

Hana Japanese Restaurant launches dual 15-course vegetarian omakase sets at $38++ & $58++

liu kou shui - mala char siew

I was pretty excited to taste the Mala Char Siew Don (S$7) which consisted of a heap of rice crowned with slices of pork belly, green veggies and a perfectly-round poached egg.

liu kou shui - mala char siew processing

I had the opportunity to watch Xiao Xuan assemble this dish. She started by grilling both sides of the pork belly which had been marinated for 24 hours. She finished off with a flame torch and placed it on the rice before mala chilli oil and some secret sauce were slathered onto it.

liu kou shui - creamy char siew

The coffee-hued char siew had a paper-thin, crusty exterior. It yielded to an unctuous centre which was imbued with a tantalising spice and a hint of sweetness. As time passed, a subtle numbing sensation slowly enveloped my tongue.

liu kou shui - complete spoon

The green veggies provided a fresh, crunchy texture to the medley of ingredients. If there were room for improvement, it would be in the texture of the rice. In my opinion, it erred on the side of being slightly too soft. Additionally, a little more seasoning could elevate the experience.

liu kou shui - cold tofu

liu kou shui - cold tofu closeup

Liu Kou Shui also has a list of 10 sides on its menu. We sampled the Cold Tofu (S$2) which was a slab of silky beancurd dipped in a soy-based sauce, then garnished with bonito flakes, seaweed strips and spring onions.

Cold and pillowy-soft tofu paired with the savoury gravy and the umami notes derived from the bonito and seaweed… what’s not to adore?

liu kou shui - cold tofu closeup

The Kelp Salad (S$2.50) embodied the essence of the phrase “simplicity at its best.” Kelp, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and a shoyu-based sauce— those were the sole components.

It offered a light and refreshing palate-cleansing interlude amidst the full-bodied main dishes.

Final thoughts

liu kou shui - overview of dishes

At such a young age, Xiao Xuan already understands flavours like a pro. I’m intrigued by what possibilities and combinations she can come up with in the future.

If you’re slightly intimidated by the green chilli sauce for the ramen, Liu Kou Shui also offers a Truffle Kombu alternative. Head down and pay her a visit to try out her dishes. Unfortunately,  on the day of my visit, the Mapo Don (S$5) wasn’t available.

I’m eagerly looking forward  to trying it next time.

Expected damage: S$5 – S$13.50 per pax

Izumi Japanese Restaurant: Affordable Japanese eatery serving mentaiko takoyaki & $9.90 lunch sets with 2 sides at Bedok

Price: $

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Liu Kou Shui

21 Canberra Link, Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre, #01-29 , Singapore 756973

Price
Our Rating 4.5/5

Liu Kou Shui

21 Canberra Link, Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre, #01-29 , Singapore 756973

Telephone: +65 9721 0211
Operating Hours: 11am - 9pm (Mon & Tue, Thu & Fri), 10.30am - 9pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Wed
Telephone: +65 9721 0211

Operating Hours: 11am - 9pm (Mon & Tue, Thu & Fri), 10.30am - 9pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Wed
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