Cheap & Good: Springy, spicy wonton noodles from Swee Heng at Chomp Chomp
Chomp Chomp Food Centre, one of the most well-known food haunts in Singapore, can be a daunting place for a hungry diner to navigate.
You might be tempted to go with the first few stalls near the entrance, which sell popular eats such as carrot cake and chicken wings. They are plastered with food awards certificates or printed blurbs of shows that have featured them. The food is good, but these stalls usually have long queues.
Then, there are those who will cave to the pushy barbecue seafood sellers waving their laminated menus.
If you make it to the back of the hawker centre, you will discover Swee Heng Wanton Noodle, an under-the-radar stall that deserves your attention.
There are lots of things I like about Swee Heng's version of the dish that is a staple in hawker centres. Each wonton mee serving costs $4.
The yellow egg noodles are springy - I prefer this texture to a wetter option - and seem to never get soggy.
SWEE HENG WANTON NOODLE
Chomp Chomp Food Centre, 01-12, 20 Kensington Park Road; open: 5pm to 12.45am (Mondays to Sundays), closed on alternate Fridays
They are tossed in a slightly tangy chilli mix. It packs a spicy punch - the kind that makes your scalp tingle - so those who cannot take the heat may want to ask for less chilli.
The thick slices of char siew are the star of this homely meal. The slightly sweet meat is tender and has a nice char around its edges.
The fat and juicy boiled wontons, generously filled with meat, are a good complement to the barbecued meat.
There is also a spinach noodles option ($4), which I am not keen on. Other than its unusual colour, which may fascinate diners, these noodles do not have a distinctive flavour.
Even though I have lived in the area all my life and eat at Chomp Chomp regularly, I started patronising Swee Heng only in the last few years.
The stall is an institution, having been at Chomp Chomp for at least 40 years. Today, it is run by second-generation hawkers.
It is the only wonton mee stall I eat at. These days, I find myself driving to Serangoon Garden at least twice a month to eat it - perhaps too often, as the jovial auntie who takes the orders now recognises me.
Swee Heng does not get as much attention as its more decorated neighbours.
But I am not complaining. At least the line is short enough and I can order and dash.