Mei Yuen Restaurant: $5 old-school wanton mee & roast meat since 1980s along East Coast Road

I’ve stayed in the East all my life, but I’ve never stepped foot into Mei Yuen Restaurant

Located opposite Chin Mee Chin Confectionery, just a few shops down from Neptune, this old-school coffee shop sticks out like a sore thumb among the new influx of trendy cafes thanks to its age-old signboard and interior.

Mei Yuen Restaurant 12 - storefront

Mei Yuen Restaurant has been around since the 1980s (even before I was born!), and everything about this place reflects just that.

Mei Yuen Restaurant 13 - interior Mei Yuen Restaurant 15 - interior

From floral prints on walls to the same moss-green mosaic floor tiles at my grandparents’ house, Mei Yuen Restaurant was oozing with nostalgic vibes. It even had a small grandfather clock hanging on a wall, and the area at the back had metal sheets for ceilings.

If I closed my eyes, I could almost imagine that I had been transported back in time to the 1980s— just without the gaudy Thai techno music playing in the background, of course.

Mei Yuen Restaurant 14 - interior

Rather than a singular restaurant, this age-old eatery operates more like a coffee shop, with 2 main stalls selling roast meat, duck and char siew

One stall sells duck and char siew, while the other offers chicken and roast pork. Note that you’ll have to order from each stall individually, just like a kopitiam. Tthere are no menus available, so you’ll have to approach its staff to ask for prices.

Like an elderly married couple, the two stalls were bickering with each other when I visited Mei Yuen Restaurant on a weekday for lunch. “She’s ordering wanton mee from here, not from you, so mind your business,” I overheard a staff member from the duck stall say in Chinese.

What I tried at Mei Yuen Restaurant

Mei Yuen Restaurant 10 - wanton mee

I’ve heard many good things about Mei Yuen Restaurant’s Wanton Mee (S$5), and knew that this was a must-try dish. 

Plenty of customers on Google had complimented the stall for its old-school taste, which has stayed consistent ever since they had dined at this establishment since the 1980s.

Mei Yuen Restaurant 04 - wanton mee

If nostalgia had a flavour, this would be it.

The noodles were springy and chewy, with the perfect amount of sauce such that each strand of noodle was thinly coated with it. 

I could taste a slight hint of ketchup and pork lard— all the hallmarks of a traditional plate of wanton mee. Above all, there was a biting spice from the chilli, which crept in towards the end of every spoonful and lingered throughout the whole meal.

What a super simple, yet incredibly addictive plate of old-school wanton mee.

Mei Yuen Restaurant 06 - char siew

Mei Yuen Restaurant’s char siew hit the spot. It was cut unevenly, with some pieces being thicker than others— a sure sign that it had been made in-house and freshly cut on the spot.

These were tender yet chewy pieces of char siew which came with a good amount of fat. Taste wise, it was sweeter than expected.

I wish that they had come with more smoky char, but they were still delectable nonetheless.

Mei Yuen Restaurant 05 - wanton

The wantons were coin-shaped, and the skin was so soft that it tore apart at the slightest pressure. The minute I popped my first wanton into my mouth, I was instantly sold— it was full of tender, meaty softness, and each circular ball melted in my mouth with ease.

My only gripe was its amount, as I had only counted 3 wantons on my plate. Give me more, please!

Mei Yuen Restaurant 02 - soup

Most wanton mee dishes come with a chicken-based clear soup— similar to the ones given with shrimp wanton soups— but Mei Yuen Restaurant’s soup was more herbal and savoury. To some extent, with its strong soy-based taste profile, it even reminded me of Malaysian-style bak kut teh.

This was certainly a refreshing choice of soup, and it was one that perked me up with its herbaceous notes.

Mei Yuen Restaurant 09 - roast pork

Out of curiosity, I decided to order a plate of Roast Pork (S$5). You can also order Chicken (S$5) from the same shop, and make it a meal by adding S$0.50 for Rice.

Mei Yuen Restaurant 01 - roast pork

Unfortunately, Mei Yuen Restaurant’s Roast Pork fell flat in both taste and texture. 

Its crackling skin wasn’t as crisp as I’d have liked, and while the meat was sufficiently tender, it lacked that tell-tale savoury saltiness that came with most roast pork dishes.

The only thing I’d commend would be its portion. For S$5, the generous serving size was really impressive— I could easily share this with a dining partner or two.

Final thoughts

Mei Yuen Restaurant 08 - wanton mee and roast pork

Just stepping into Mei Yuen Restaurant made me feel like I had been transported back in time. From traditional mosaic tiles to washed out orange plates and cutleries, it goes without saying that this particular establishment has been around for a long, long time.

History aside, I genuinely enjoyed my plate of Wanton Mee. Not only were the delectable slices of char siew incredibly satisfying and yummy, I loved the simple combination of ketchup, pork lard and chilli, which formed a perfect coupling with the springy wanton noodles. Not to mention, its portions were generous and the noodles never seemed to dwindle, even after half an hour of eating.

While the Roast Pork wasn’t my favourite item that day, you can bet I’ll be back to try Mei Yuen Restaurant’s other items, such as its Chicken Rice (S$5.50) or Duck Rice (S$5).

Affordable and fuss-free— what more could you ask for?

Expected damage: S$5 – S$7 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Mei Yuen Restaurant

233 East Coast Road, Singapore 428928

Our Rating 4/5

Mei Yuen Restaurant

233 East Coast Road, Singapore 428928

Operating Hours: 9am - 8pm (Thu to Tue), Closed on Wed

Operating Hours: 9am - 8pm (Thu to Tue), Closed on Wed