Last Updated: July 21, 2020
Mention ‘Keong Saik’, and most will know that stretch of road for its cafes and bars. Most recently, it’s also home to popular burger joint, Shake Shack. It’s definitely not a place one would expect to find cheap food, much less homely hawker dishes.
But at a little coffeeshop on the corner of Keong Saik Street and Neil Road, Soon Heng Pork Noodles is an oasis of comfort food in the form of bak chor mee.
And not just any bak chor mee—the soupy kind that propelled Bedok 85 bak chor mee stalls to fame. With how jealously the Easties guard their Bedok 85 treasures and how proudly they proclaim their foodie status, I knew I had to try this potential bak chor mee rival.
The weather was perfect when I made my way down to Soon Heng Pork Noodles—chilly, with overcast skies and a light drizzle. It wasn’t hard to find the coffeeshop, considering it’s across the junction from Shake Shack. I was there during lunch hour on a weekday, and it was fairly crowded, though not to the extent that I couldn’t snag a seat.
You might not be able to spot Soon Heng Pork Noodles immediately, as it’s tucked away within the coffeeshop.
This is a one-dish stall, and the only dish they serve up is Bak Chor Mee in soup, for S$4 or S$5. You can choose different types of noodles, so I tried the quintessential mee pok (flat egg noodles) and my favourite, kway tiao (flat rice noodles)—both in S$5 portions.
Why mee pok? I always order dry bak chor mee with mee pok, probably because this was how my Dad used to order it for me all the way back when I was a kid. Also, for some reason, mee kia (thin egg noodles) makes me feel more bloated after the meal.
As for kway tiao, I usually order soup dishes with it—the smooth texture just goes better with soup. It does make it a little slippery though, so it’s always a plus point when stalls cut their kway tiao shorter.
Here at Soon Heng Pork Noodles, a bowl of soupy bak chor mee comes packed with ingredients.
The first thing I noticed was that the soup was uniquely cloudy, and not just from the clumps of minced meat. Unlike the clear broths from Bedok’s soupy bak chor mee stalls, Soon Heng Pork Noodles offers a robust broth that’s been cooked with fresh pork bones (and other ingredients) for six to eight hours.
What I liked best about the soup was how light and sweet it was, with an undertone of meaty flavour. It’s easy to drink, and it doesn’t dry out your mouth.
Since this is a soup dish, it’s much paler in colour than the dry bak chor mee which comes with dark sauce. But don’t let this put you off! If you want a kick of spice or a splash of colour, Soon Heng Pork Noodles serves bird’s eye chilli in soy sauce on the side, as well as vibrant green chives.
Now, let’s talk about the meaty treasures you can find in this soupy bak chor mee.
Each bowl comes with meatballs, wontons, minced meat and pork lard.
I have to say, they are really generous with the minced meat. And while in dry bak chor mee dishes where the minced meat is hidden beneath the mass of noodles, here it floats in the soup. Easier to mix into each spoonful or more of a hassle? You decide.
The meatballs were no slouch either, with enough bite for a satisfying chew, yet still remaining juicy and tender.
But the star ingredient had to be the wantons. Made by hand, these dumplings were bursting with meat and large enough that it almost couldn’t fit on a spoon. And honestly, when was the last time you found these meaty pockets of happiness in your bak chor mee?
Between the mee pok and kway tiao, the mee pok version had a little more flavour, though it soaks up the soup really fast. I’d probably get the kway tiao version if I wanted something lighter on the tummy.
Dry bak chor mee might be the norm, but Soon Heng Pork Noodles has me convinced that soupy bak chor mee should be more common. I’d gladly return for a comforting bowl, and if you like bak chor mee, give this a try too!
Expected Damage: S$4 – S$5 per pax
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Soon Heng Pork Noodles
120 Neil Road, Singapore 088855
120 Neil Road, Singapore 088855