Punggol Noodles: 1-armed hawker makes hearty bowls of bak chor mee & phenomenal Teochew meatballs for below $5

It’s been 6 years since our last visit to Punggol Noodles, which, by the way, isn’t anywhere near Waterway Point. Instead, the hawker stall is nestled in Hougang Hainanese Village Centre at Lorong Ah Soo.

Punggol Noodles - stall front

Has its standard dropped, or are the dishes still as delicious? I had to find out for myself. It’s lunchtime, and there were already 6 people in front of me at the stall.

Punggol Noodles - stall owner

Despite a past accident that had caused Mr Yee to lose the front part of his arm, it doesn’t hinder him in any way. I watched as he cooked each bowl of noodles individually, and the line cleared surprisingly fast.

His excellent memory and speed put other hawkers with 2 arms to shame. And on top of that, he is incredibly nice!

Punggol Noodles - stall assistant

Mr Yee’s assistant not only helps with cooking but also serves customers and collects money.

What I tried at Punggol Noodles

Punggol Noodles - meatball noodles

With our stomachs rumbling, my dining partners and I gleefully tucked into the bowl of dry Meatball Noodles (S$4.50). My mee kia came with flavourful pieces of mushrooms and crunchy tau geh. The dish was accompanied by a separate bowl containing 5 Teochew meatballs, slices of fishcake, and fresh green veggies in a clear broth.

Punggol Noodles - tossed noodles closeup

After incorporating all the lovely seasonings and chilli that were hibernating under my bed of noodles, the yellow strands of mee kia were gleaming with oily deliciousness. However, I must admit that I was eagerly waiting for the umami-ness of the pork lard oil, typically associated with dry noodles, to hit me. Unfortunately, that moment didn’t happen.

Punggol Noodles - meatballs

The meatballs weren’t your cookie-cutter factory-made ones; instead, they were irregularly-shaped, which piqued my curiosity. As I took my first bite, I was pleasantly intrigued. The meatballs offered a delightful balance of chewy and tender portions, and I could taste the flavourful bits of dried sole fish injected into them.

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The seasoning was spot-on, and before I knew it, I found myself getting addicted and reaching for a second and third meatball without hesitation.

Punggol Noodles - soup closeup

The soup was clean-tasting and gently sweet with essences of pork flavour. The green vegetables were also nice and tender without being overcooked.

Punggol Noodles - signature noodles

Next up, we tried the dry Signature Noodles (S$4.50). It consisted of mee pok topped with a pile of minced pork, fishcake slices, black mushrooms, a couple of Teochew meatballs, bean sprouts and green veggies.

Punggol Noodles - minced pork closeup

Mr Yee definitely did a good job on the minced pork. It tasted fresh and void of any unpleasant gaminess of the meat.

Punggol Noodles - signature noodles mixed

After mixing all the ingredients together, the strands of mee pok were enticing me to take a bite. However, just like the previous bowl, I couldn’t help but notice the absence of that familiar taste of pork lard deliciousness. Despite digging around, I found no trace of it in the dish.

Next time, I’ll ask Mr Yee (when he’s less busy) if he wants to make his noodles healthier, or if they just haven’t had time to make a fresh batch.

Punggol Noodles - mee tai mak soup

There’s just something heartwarming about a hot bowl of noodle soup which a bowl of dry mee can’t match. My Mee Tai Mak Soup (S$4) came with ‘rat tails‘, tau geh, minced pork, fishcake slices, mushrooms and green lettuce.

Punggol Noodles - mee tai mak soup ingredients

The crunchiness of the tau geh, the silkiness of the fishcake, and the earthiness of the mushrooms worked together in perfect harmony, complementing the chewy strands of mee tai mak. It was a delightful symphony of tastes and textures in that bowl of noodles.

Punggol Noodles - mee tai mak soup closeup

Despite its similar appearance, the broth of the Mee Tai Mak Soup tasted slightly different from the one used in the meatball soup. It was slightly sweeter and had a deeper depth of taste.

Punggol Noodles - cai poh

Growing up as half Teochew myself, cai poh (preserved radish) was always a staple in my house fridge, and my late grandmother would regularly enjoy it as a condiment for her noodles or add it to her bowls of fishball soup.

I spotted it at the stall and added some to my mee tai mak. It infused the dish with a delightful saltiness and acidity, but I quickly learned to use it sparingly. Unfortunately, silly old me made the mistake of adding too much, and I was jolted by a wave of overwhelming savouriness. Ahem, lesson learnt!

Final thoughts

Punggol Noodles - overview

Overall, my experience at Punggol Noodles was a mix of pleasant and lukewarm moments. The Teochew meatballs were phenomenal and easily secured a spot in my top 3 list of the most delicious meatballs I’ve ever eaten!

As for the noodles, I felt that it could be more aromatic and better seasoned to complement the freshness of the ingredients in the bowl.

I’ll swing by soon to give Mr Yee’s noodles another try.

Expected damage: S$3.50 – S$9 per pax

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Our Rating: 3.5 / 5

Punggol Noodles

105 Hougang Avenue 1, Hainanese Village Centre, #02-24 , Singapore 530105

Price
Our Rating 3.5/5

Punggol Noodles

105 Hougang Avenue 1, Hainanese Village Centre, #02-24 , Singapore 530105

Telephone: +65 9722 5590
Operating Hours: 8am - 3pm (Tue to Thu, Sat & Sun), Closed on Mon & Fri
Telephone: +65 9722 5590

Operating Hours: 8am - 3pm (Tue to Thu, Sat & Sun), Closed on Mon & Fri

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