food

The Neighbourwok, Bt Batok: “Easily one of the best-kept secrets in the West”

Last Updated: October 17, 2021

Written by Amanda Ng

The hunt for great (not just good—great) Hokkien prawn mee is an everlasting one, especially when we’ve got such excellent contenders on this little red dot. When I pitched this gem to Seth, the man behind it all, to review The Neighbourwok, he immediately went, “Ah! That’s one of my secret spots in the West!”.

That itself was my green light to travel to Bukit Batok to check out the one-hit-wonder. After all, it’s been given the stamp of approval by the man himself, right?

The Neighbourwok Shopfront

A fun fact about The Neighbourwok is that it’s run by 34-year-old Kelvin Teo, who opened his hawker business right smack in the middle of ‘Circuit Breaker’ in June 2020. Definitely not an easy feat, considering he has a full-time day job!

His active participation in delivery is good news for some of us, as Hokkien prawn mee packed to-go arguably tastes better than dining in. Plus, if you visit after 3.30pm, you can add on a plate of Satay (S$0.70 for chicken/pork, S$0.80 for mutton) and Ketupat (S$0.80). Bummer for us since we visited early at 11.30am, just as they opened.

What I tried

The Neighbourwok - Fried Prawn Mee

Ordering was easy as 1, 2, 3 since there’s only one item on the menu during lunchtime hours. Choose between the S$4 or S$5 Fried Prawn Mee, make payment, collect your buzzer, be seated, and the wait begins.

We decided on the bigger plate after we curiously scanned tables at the coffee shop to suss out the portion. A short 10 minutes later, I proceeded to the counter to self-collect the highly-anticipated plate of goodness. The standard condiments—pork lard bits, chilli, and lime—are added and you can request more to tailor it to your preference.

A spoonful of Hokkien Prawn Mee

Even before digging in, its humble yet bold appearance was good enough to get stomachs rumbling. It had just the right amount of zhup (gravy) and wasn’t too dry or wet. No thin bee hoon in sight—just thick mee (yellow noodles) and thick white bee hoon.

Finally, I squeezed the lime, earnestly held on to my high expectations, and dove in.

Close-up shot of gravy

I’ll cut to the chase: this was divine. Cue every word in the dictionary that is synonymous with ‘spectacular’. For starters, the wok hei was certainly present yet not too overpowering, which I greatly appreciated. It allowed for the rich prawn stock to come through and rise to the occasion.

A variety of ingredients in the Hokkien Prawn Mee

The supporting cast consisted of pork belly bits, sotong, prawns, the glorious crunchy pork lard, and sambal chilli made in-house. They all deserve honourable mentions in delivering nothing but pure, unadulterated deliciousness.

I must say, while the chilli surely brought in the heat, it was sweeter than I expected. With the tanginess from the lime coming through, the addition of chilli with every bite set the dish back a little for me. However, this didn’t stand in the way of a wonderful Fried Prawn Mee experience.

Final thoughts

A plate of Hokkien Prawn Mee from The Neighbourwok

This is easily one of the best-kept secrets in the West. I’d call it a hidden gem for Hokkien prawn mee hunters to uncover, but I doubt it’ll stay under the radar for long. Would I travel from the East to the West just for The Neighbourwok? I just might. A word of advice: go before the queues start piling!

Expected damage: S$4 – S$5 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

The Neighbourwok

207 Bukit Batok Street 21, #01-118, Singapore 650207

Price
Our Rating 5/5

The Neighbourwok

207 Bukit Batok Street 21, #01-118, Singapore 650207

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 8.30pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 8.30pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
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