Last Updated: September 25, 2020
Here’s a confession to start you off: I haven’t written about food for a while. I’ve been spending my time over at our sister site HYPE & STUFF interviewing the likes of Singapore comedian Xiao Ming and penning my thoughts about Taylor Swift’s Folklore—you know, lifestyle stuff. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve waxed lyrical about anything presented in front of me.
Enter Mian Jia Noodle Bar 麺家料理 that finds itself tucked in the corner of the ever-bustling Holland Village. Why this particular restaurant to make my somewhat prodigal return to food writing you might ask? It turns out, I’m a simple girl; I see lobster, I show up.
The heat that Thursday afternoon was especially unforgiving. Eager to not turn into a literal hot mess, I escaped quickly into the air-conditioned comforts of Mian Jia Noodle Bar.
Just as one enjoys that tantalising new car smell, Mian Jia Noodle Bar is bright and shiny with a tastefully modern interior. Several blue tanks burble quietly away in the corner, housing two bored gargantuan crabs (Alaskan, maybe?) on the top tanks and several husky Boston Lobsters (Sebastian, maybe?) sit at the bottom tank, some even trying to make a break for it.
The weather might seem a little counterintuitive to be tucking into a bowl of piping hot noodles but with lobster as chunky as these, who cares?
The Live Boston Lobster Broth Noodle (S$26.90) came as a statuesque and stately affair. A handsome vermillion claw came resting on top of half a lobster, swimming in a rich ochre broth gleaming with little globules of oil. It’s hard to know where to begin, but if my time in food writing has taught me anything, the money is always on the broth.
All it took was a spoonful and I was left swooning. Thick, fragrant and chock-full of crustacean-y goodness, this packed all the flavour of a lobster bisque sans the sometimes cloying creaminess. You would think that lobster stock was used in this winning broth, instead, it’s simply two ingredients. A good handful of prawns and chicken feet simmering for over four hours, or so they tell me.
Well, my spidey senses tell me there’s more to it than that. Though the ingredients are simple, the hand that prepares them is not, which is the key difference between a run-of-the-mill iteration and this one.
On to the pièce de résistance, which, with lobsters as fresh as these, is not too difficult of a thing to crown Fresh, succulent and with just a hint of brininess, these lobsters hit the mark.
You might even get lucky and get one brimming with cherry red roe and that to me would be the real cherry on top.
Paired with slippery you mian, which I’m told is also made in-house, and crunchy black fungus, it seemed like all was right with the world with this.
You can opt for the dry variety where the soup will be separated from the noodles. In this case, they’ll be seasoned with a dark sauce which does compete with the broth just a smidge, though it’s clear who will emerge the eventual winner.
Not far behind the Live Boston Lobster Broth Noodle, would be the Special Stewed Iberico Pork With Homemade Wanton Dry Noodle (S$15.90). A plump wanton sits atop a crown of chunky Iberico cubes amongst noodles.
Iberico pork is definitely a more luxurious offering than your average wonton noodles and I was all for it. Each square was tender to a fault and bathed in a savoury dark sauce that begs for second helpings.
The lone wanton held its own against these hefty Iberico pieces—a tight handmade pleat held these juicy, well-seasoned wontons together. The only flaw—there was only but one. All that’s left to do is to slurp the savoury noodles up and make sure you’re not wearing something white. But if you are, choices.
In a slightly less original move, Mian Jia also offers Black Truffle Homemade Wonton (S$7.90). Now, I do have reservations about this pricey, flashy mushroom. If I had my way I would have truffles on my fries or shaved over pasta and nothing else.
Lo and behold, these well-padded ingots were surprising indeed. A careful balance between the aromatic mushroom and pork, such that the truffle only plays second fiddle is certainly not easy to do. Whether this was pandering to the truffle craze or an ingenious move, you’ll need to try it to decide for yourself.
The last bowl on my agenda was Handmade Prawn & Pork Balls Soup Noodle (S$13.90). Just like nearly all of Mian Jia’s dishes, these slightly uneven prawn and pork balls had that rustic handmade quality that can only spell good things. These were meaty yet springy—a testament to the technical prowess of Mian Jia’s chef.
The broth was the colour of cornsilk and was so creamy you will smack your lips and rub your belly in approval. Another arduous endeavour by the chef, this time, a task of 7 to 8 hours of boiling down pork bones for this broth.
I have to admit I was apprehensive delving back into food writing because you can have too much of a good thing before it sours. I knew Mian Jia Noodle Bar would serve up a decent bowl of noodles but the calibre of dishes certainly surpassed my expectations.
Mind you, I was there on a weekday afternoon and the crowd was pretty decent. Everyone looked like the cat who got the cream as they pulled out each fleshy pincer, glad to have found a spot that has yet to be ravaged by the crowds.
Well, that might change in a bit since Mian Jian Noodle Bar will be having a 1-for-1 for their Live Boston Lobster Broth Noodle from 7 October 2020 till 13 October 2020. It almost sounds too good to be true but it is, and one can never have too much lobster, am I right?
Expected damage: S$8 – S$30 per pax
*This post is brought to you in partnership with Mian Jia Noodle Bar.
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
Mian Jia Noodle Bar 麺家料理
19 Lorong Liput, Holland Village , Singapore 277732
19 Lorong Liput, Holland Village , Singapore 277732