Last Updated: May 12, 2021
One of the more endearing Singapore-isms, if you will, is how we name our hawker stalls. For simplicity, most hawker stall owners would just have the location and their star dish. Nothing wrong with that; in fact, I relish the straightforwardness of it all. Things only get complicated when they move. So, you might find yourself having the famous Macpherson Minced Meat Noodles in Bukit Batok.
There is no question how much I love bak chor mee. It’s a little on the nose, as my editor complains, but I have an unabashed love for this vinegary, piquant bowl of noodles. To me, it’s the perfect food that measures the same comfort level as watching endless reruns of ‘Friends’.
If you must know, there are broadly two kinds of bak chor mee. There is the celebrated Bedok 85 one, 58 Minced Meat Mee (arguably, the better one), and Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee which are all the soup variants. But, then, there are places like Hill Street Tai Hwa and Jalan Tua Kong Lau Lim Mee Pok – The Art of Mee Pok that are available dry (soup upon request, of course).
Here, we are concerning ourselves with the dry bak chor mee. And if you like bak chor mee as much as I do, then you know that each bowl is an exuberant mix of chilli, vinegar, braised mushrooms, and springy noodles.
Just like a jazz band, these elements are kept on a tight leash, each with their solos, but more often than not, playing in tandem with each other—the heat from the chilli catching the tangy notes from the vinegar before being soothed by the richness of the lard oil.
It’s the perfect food; each stall puts its little spin on it, and Macpherson Minced Meat is no different. A cult favourite, with a genial and avuncular stall owner who seems to threaten to retire every few years. I know, what’s a hawker dish without the prospect that this bowl might be your very last?
Having moved from Upper Serangoon to Marsiling Mall Hawker Centre and now to a canteen in Bukit Batok Connection, Macpherson Minced Meat Noodles still sees a steady stream of supporters and formidable lunch queues. No stranger to travelling for my meals, I was ready to dig in.
It starts with their signature bowl of Minced Meat Noodles (S$4), a well-oiled machine where the uncle will blanch your noodles while scoping spoonfuls of chilli and oil into a bowl. Of course, all this is happening while he is also blanching some pork liver, slivers of pork, and minced meat.
Then, a new order comes in, and he starts all over again. Just because I came all this way, I get their Dish & Noodle (S$6), where you get a bowl of their winning soup replete with all sorts of treasures and noodles.
As the crowd teems for lunch, I tuck into their Minced Meat Noodles, and it hits all the right notes. The noodles (mee pok, naturally) are al dente and evenly coated with a spicy, tangy sauce. It’s a little tangier than I was expecting, but I slurp it up all the same.
Bak chor mee is really an exaltation of all things pork. All I ask for in a bak chor mee is that the lard be crispy and the pork, tender and seasoned. Yes, ask, and you shall receive at Macpherson Minced Meat Noodles. So, you’ll understand why the sweaty participants of a nearby F45 would gladly forgo their kale salads and protein shakes to have this instead.
Then, a combination that you’ll want on a rainy day is the Dish & Noodle. It’s an extra-large bowl of porky soup and a dropped egg. It’s a complex mouthful that tells me that it isn’t all pork bones. Later, I learn that their soup is made with a couple of old hens for that lip-smacking goodness.
It’s warm, comforting, and everything you love about the usual Minced Meat Noodles but upsized. Sure, the pork liver slices could be a little thicker, but given how generous they were with the other ingredients, I’m not complaining.
I can’t help but feel a little jealous of the people who work at Bukit Batok Connection, to have Macpherson Minced Meat Noodles right there at their fingertips. This bowl of bak chor mee doesn’t want to break the mould, and who would want to? Please, no new-fangled deconstructed anything on my bak chor mee.
This is your reliable, unfailing bowl of bak chor mee that you’ll want to be around for as long as possible. While I love my bak chor mee, travelling to Bukit Batok for a stall that closes at 2pm might be a logistical nightmare. However, if I find myself in Bukit Batok, I know where I’ll be heading first.
Expected damage: S$4 – S$7 per pax
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Our Rating: 3 / 5
Macpherson Minced Meat Noodles
2 Bukit Batok Street 23, Singapore 659527
2 Bukit Batok Street 23, Singapore 659527