We’re always stumped by this age-old question whenever we head to a hawker centre: “Eh, what you want to eat ah?”. In particular, the dizzying range of choices in Newton Food Centre makes it hard to choose. But amidst the temptation from the countless brightly-coloured signs, there’s one that screams for our attention.
Located at #01-60, Tian Xiang Big Prawn Noodle is a standout that specialises in prawn and pork ribs noodles with a rich flavourful broth.
Drawing a crowd of mostly office workers and tourists, the food centre has both indoors and outdoors seating.
If you’re a fan of prawn noodles, Tian Xiang Big Prawn Noodle is a must-try stall. The signage is self-explanatory, as it is emblazoned with all of its tantalising signature dishes.
Based on the stall-owner’s recommendation, I got the Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle ($8) – why choose between pork ribs and prawns, when you can have both?
First, you’ll have to choose from a wide range of noodles, like kway teow, mee sua, yellow noodles, mee pok and so on. Again, I consulted the friendly stall-owner for his advice. Having worked at his stall in Newton for over 30 years, stall-owner, James Ong, is definitely a prawn noodle master.
He recommended that I get a mix of kway teow and yellow noodles, which I readily agreed to. He’s the boss, after all!
The portion was certainly quite sizeable, and the fragrance wafting from the bowl made me want to gobble down the entire portion.
Taking a sip of the soup only made me even more convinced of its quality. Sweet, with a lingering hint of the briny taste of prawns, the soup is a complex mix of both pork and prawn flavours.
The mix of noodles was also a good choice — the lighter texture of the kway teow reduced the heavier starchiness of the yellow noodles.
I usually shy away from yellow noodles because of how bloated it tends to make me feel, but the addition of the lighter kway teow eliminated this problem. My only gripe is that the kway teow tended to stick together, so I had to stir the soup incessantly to separate the pieces.
I was also delighted to discover the crunchy pieces of pork lard in the soup. Each bite was so sinful but incredibly good – the fatty flavour simply exploded in my mouth. The bean sprouts also helped to undercut the overall porky flavour of the dish, and I could pretend that I was getting my required serving of vegetables.
But let’s move on to the main highlight — the prawns. The noodle soup comes with three plump prawns in the salty-sweet broth. I really liked how it was already partially shelled, with only the head and tail remaining. No need to get your hands dirty!
Fresh and juicy, the prawns were bursting with flavour. I was slightly disappointed that the prawns were not as huge as I imagined they would be — given the stall’s name — although size hardly mattered when it tasted so good.
I was pleasantly surprised by the pork ribs. While not quite at the stage where the meat slides off the bones, the pork ribs were nonetheless tender and soft. They came in generous portions too; I had four large pieces with fatty layers that just melted in my mouth.
Another thing that stood out to me was how the bones were boiled ’til soft. As someone who gnaws on the cartilage of pork ribs, I indulged in this added texture.
Before I knew it, I was finally slurping up the last dregs of soup in the bowl; clearly, I couldn’t get enough of it.
Definitely, a comforting noodle soup experience that bears repeating!
Expected Damage: $5 – $15/pax