Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sembawang White Bee Hoon, Jalan Tampang

That's the famous Sembawang white bee hoon (You Huak Restaurant, 22 Jalan Tampang) that many people wait in line for. It's not bad, but the queue generally puts me off so I don't eat there as much as I could have. It took me a while to understand what was the appeal of the bee hoon. But throughout the past few years, I've had them a number of times, so here's a few flavour profiles that one can get from the bee hoon

The general taste or flavour that most of the people get is gotten when the bee hoon is freshly stir fried and served hot. That bee hoon is stir fried in some stock. I don't pretend to know what it is made of, but I hear chicken, seafood, some say lard and it's fair to say that it's tasty in its own way. What works for most people who like it is that it's light and actually gets inhaled rather easily. The flavours do not dominate. It's also to me, the weakest flavour profile. I'm not saying that it's no good. Works nicely for old folks I guess. 

Then there's the option for squeezed lime. This enlivens the the bee hoon noticeably. And there's their pretty decent belachan chilli which also adds another dimension with fermented shrimp and heat. That's the third flavour profile if you've lost count. And then there is belanchan chilli and lime. More lime is needed if one still wants the citrus to be apparent in this case. To each their own ways and all are pretty good.

The last was discovered by chance. Some people don't like hot food. So waiting for the bee hoon to cool down allows the stock to be well absorbed into the noodles. The result is a dry and sticky wetness rather than a lightly starchy gravy. This is when the bee hoon flavors develops and tastes better than if you had them "fresh from the wok". There's also that fact that if it's not hot from the wok, one can generally taste it better. This cooled down bee hoon also works with any combinations of the limes and chillis.

You Huak also serves something they call Indo styled fried chicken wings. Marinated mid wings that are very nicely deep fried. Crisp, golden brown and little residual oil. Can be addictive.

That above is their bitter gourd omelette. It has the option of being done dry or wet and that's wet. It's also one of their very good dishes. The bitter gourd is thinly sliced, not overcooked so that it still has a little crunch and importantly, only leaves a bitter after note. It's not bitter when you eat them which is why I like them.

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