food

Shi Xiang Ge, Bishan: “Trust the Mala Braised Meat Noodles to impress”

Last Updated: October 18, 2021

Written by Amanda Ng

Now, I’m always on the lookout for hidden hawker gems. There’s just something in the thrill of sharing good food with more. When a colleague of mine recommended his ‘hood’s comfort food at Shi Xiang Ge at Bishan, it was a given that I had to try it out for myself.

Shi Xiang Ge Shopfront

Run by former Crystal Jade La Mian Director, Shi Xiang Ge is well-known amongst Bishan dwellers for its Shanxi cuisine.

Just scanning the tables as I walked up to place my order, I saw how the unique porcelain blue china ceramic bowls were quite literally on every table. Mind you, it was a scorching Sunday and yet, people visited to savour a hot bowl of spicy la mian and soup!

What I tried

First up—Mala Braised Pork La Mian (S$7), but swap the la mian with handmade shaved noodles for an additional S$1.

Mala Braised Pork Noodle Soup

Ironically, this actually isn’t one of their bestsellers. Loyal patrons would know that the Beef La Mian (S$6) and Mala Pork Intestine Noodles (S$7) are the showstoppers at Shi Xiang Ge. So why the odd choice then?

Easy; it’s not a combination you find every day and I was curious to see how well braised pork would go with mala, plus, I’m always rooting for the underdog. Thankfully, this did not disappoint.

Mala Soup at Shi Xiang Ge

I’ll admit I’m not good with spice. Couple that with the scorching afternoon heat, this bowl brought on quite the sweat fest. However, the rich flavours of the soup cut through prominently to distract me from the numbing sensation from the Sichuan peppercorn, definitely scoring it brownie points.

Shi Xiang Ge Shaved Noodles

Between the handmade la mian and shaved noodles, I’d like to think the latter would go better with soup. It was silky, not too thick or chewy, and shaved just right for one to slurp up.

Mala Braised Pork Noodles Soup

What took this bowl to a whole other level was the braised pork chunks. Trust me when I say this—it is most definitely not your next-door average joe of meats.

It was fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth, and every cliche synonym on the web to describe meat. The marinade of the pork was umami goodness, paired with a tinge of sourness and spice from iconic Shanxi vinegar. Plus, the portion itself could easily feed two.

Hands down took it one level above any other mala noodle bowls I’ve had to date.

Shi Xiang Ge Minced Meat Noodles

Next up, Minced Meat Noodles (S$5.50), a humble dish loved by many. This time, I enjoyed it as it typically should be, with la mian.

Minced Meat Noodles

A quick toss and the sauce quickly coated the noodles. Like most traditional meat sauces, this version had minced meat, bite-sized tau kwa (firm tofu) and black bean sauce. The ratio of sweet to savoury notes would be a solid three parts to seven and one to please the flavour chasers.

There’s nothing too striking here to shout about but a simple bowl nonetheless. I can see how this would be comfort food for many, especially when in need of a good meal on the go.

Pork Bun

Last up (and yes, yet another meat option), Pork Bun (S$4.50). Right off the bat, I didn’t think this was quite worth what I paid for. My guess is that it would take a lot to impress.

Just like the two others I’ve tried, the braised shredded meat filling had a mix of fatty and lean meat, juicy and oh-so full of flavour. Yet, for a snack at that price, it’s not one I would go out of my way for.

Final thoughts 

A variety of Shanxi dishes

You can’t go wrong with options featuring braised meat. While the heat may have clouded my judgment of the mala noodles, I can see how this would be an exceptional bowl to dive into on a cool evening or rainy day. My only regret is not ordering the Poached Szechuan Dumpling in Spicy Sauce (S$6), as many other patrons did.

One thing’s for sure is that Shi Xiang Ge delivers exceptional, authentic Shanxi flavours. A worthy pit stop if you’re looking to spice up your meal—literally.

Expected damage: S$6 – S$8 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Shi Xiang Ge

514 Bishan Street 13, Level 2 Bishan Bus Interchange, Singapore 570514

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Shi Xiang Ge

514 Bishan Street 13, Level 2 Bishan Bus Interchange, Singapore 570514

Telephone: +65 9151 3586
Operating Hours: 10.30am - 9.30pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 9151 3586

Operating Hours: 10.30am - 9.30pm (Daily)
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