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WANTON: Lucky Cup, Tanjong Pagar: “Would a wanton noodle by any other name still taste as heavenly?”

Last Updated: February 12, 2021

Written by Basil

The perennial question is this: Would a wanton noodle by any other name still smell and taste as sweet? In this culinary sonnet of accessibility versus familiarity, where does WANTON: Lucky Cup stand? Is their elevated iteration of a classic hawker staple necessary or is it merely muddying the water of a nation besotted by a dish so polarising, it does, in fact, beg closer study?

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But before I get ahead of myself, allow me the luxury of an explanation. I am here today at Guoco Tower to sample this modern take on local wanton noodles. Interestingly, this isn’t their first foray into the already crowded industry. Branching off its older sibling that is WANTON Seng’s Noodle Bar along Amoy Street, Lucky Cup caters to a clientele of hurried office workers who are looking for a quick bite.

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If not evident enough from their pared-down menu of four mains, the modest dine-in area that is the same size as the kitchen tells me that takeaway is the more popular choice at this establishment. Still, that doesn’t stop me from having a seat at the counter and ordering a few bowls of their speciality noodles.

What I tried

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The use of Singlish in the menu descriptions is comical and somewhat comforting, in that it evokes a sense of solidarity between myself and the food. As for Seng’s Char Siew Noodles (S$5.50), that same familiarity is conjured when I lay my eyes on the bowl of noodles right before me.

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A mix of bright-red char siew and yellow wantons atop a bed of thin egg noodles immediately signals a combination of colour that I have come to associate with local wanton mee. ‘Traditional’ is the right word for this dish, as it clings on to a customary set of ingredients, from sauce to noodle, and pays homage to the perennial Singaporean noodle dish.

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Looks aside, its taste is similarly conventional, and in a good way. Doused in a lightly savoury soy sauce, the noodles are springy and delicious on their own. A bite of the boiled wanton reveals a pork filling that is intensely flavourful, though I do wish the skin is a little thinner. As for the char siew, while I’m not usually a lover of this variant, Lucky Cup still manages to impress with its chunky, tender slices of roasted pork that are gently sweet.

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Of course, one must not forget the absolutely crucial component of wanton mee—chilli. Lucky Cup’s rendition is mildly sweet, spicy, with an undertone of shrimp paste. Paired with the eggy noodles, it forms a harmonious balance of flavours that entices me to clean out the whole bowl. You are responsible for how much to add, so chilli lovers can go trigger happy.

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Elsewhere, the Roasted Mushroom Noodles (S$6.00) excludes itself from all your meat-fuelled fantasies as you say goodbye to the slices of roasted pork from before. Instead, expect generous servings of shiitake, shimeji, and oyster mushrooms which add a burst of umami goodness to each bite of noodles. With its aroma made only more intense by roasting, it exudes a fragrance which doesn’t make one miss the char siew.

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If you’re looking for a sharing dish, the Sichuan Mala Wontons (S$6.50) is a fantastic option. 13 of their signature wantons come doused in Szechuan spice and served with minced meat.

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It’s aggressively flavourful and brings a slight numbing sensation synonymous with traditional mala dishes. This is indeed an upgrade from the plain wanton, boasting an addictive savouriness that made me utterly swoon.

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Perhaps the bowl that I am most highly anticipating, the Modern Char Siew Noodles (S$5.50) switches out the traditional char siew for two slabs of impeccably roasted pork belly with its gorgeous char marks that streak across the thick, fatty chunks of meat. It truly is a real treat for the eyes and hopefully, my tastebuds.

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A nudge of my chopsticks severs the meat in two, a clear indicator of its tenderness. It’s a mix of fatty and lean meat that melts in the mouth, leaving me in a euphoria that very few dishes are capable of inducing. Needless to say, this change in topping was more than welcome.

Final thoughts

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The food at WANTON: Lucky Cup checks all the right boxes for a good bowl of wanton mee, no doubt. However, can one also find good wanton noodles from a hawker centre at half the price? Perhaps so.

Yet, here, the food is compelling due to the added premium ingredients, and its neat, fuss-free packaging that is bound to serve the needs of those on-the-go. It’s good food that would leave you more than satisfied. In that respect, Lucky Cup then solidifies itself as not just serving up hipster versions of the hawker dish, but as a highly accessible and tasty meal option in the area.

So does a wanton noodle by any other name still smell as sweet? In some ways, yes. Perhaps all this heritage dish needed was a facelift and a touch of innovation to appeal to the younger generation of diners to whom appearances do matter. For the purists though, feel free to stick to the time-tested recipes fuelled by nostalgia and habit. Either way, you can’t possibly go wrong.

Expected Damage: S$5 – S$8 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 3 / 5

Wanton Lucky Cup

7 Wallich Street, Guoco Tower, #B2-27, Singapore 078881

Price
Our Rating 3/5

Wanton Lucky Cup

7 Wallich Street, Guoco Tower, #B2-27, Singapore 078881

Telephone: +65 8138 5175
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 9pm (Mon to Fri), 11.30am - 3pm (Sat), Closed on Sun
Telephone: +65 8138 5175

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 9pm (Mon to Fri), 11.30am - 3pm (Sat), Closed on Sun
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