Cheap & Good

Cheap & Good: Dry ban mian packs a punch

The signature chilli ban mian includes minced pork, meatballs, ikan bilis, wongbok cabbage, an egg and a dollop of chilli.
The signature chilli ban mian includes minced pork, meatballs, ikan bilis, wongbok cabbage, an egg and a dollop of chilli.ST PHOTO: EUNICE QUEK

I'm a huge fan of ban mian, or handmade noodles in soup.

But more recently, I have been hooked on the dry chilli version, which generally has the same ingredients, but also comes with dry chilli flakes and dark sauce.

I remember the craze when Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee from Kuala Lumpur opened in MacPherson Road four years ago and I'm glad that more ban mian stalls here now offer the dry option.

My favourite, as it is closer to home, is the Damansara Chilli Pan Mee stall at the Malaysia Boleh! foodcourt in Jurong Point.

But I have found another worthy contender - Hui Wei Chilli Ban Mian at Geylang Bahru Market & Food Centre.

Its signature chilli ban mian ($4 or $6) includes minced pork, three meatballs, crispy ikan bilis, wongbok cabbage and an egg with a runny yolk, key for mixing with the chilli.

  • HUI WEI CHILLI BAN MIAN

  • 01-58 Geylang Bahru Market & Food Centre, Block 69 Geylang Bahru; open: 10.30am to 10.30pm daily, closed fortnightly on Fridays; www.facebook.com/huiweibianmian88

    Rating: 3.5 stars

The flat noodles are a tad on the softer side, but retain good bite.

Of course, the quintessential chilli flakes are the star of the dish, and I am very pleased when a dark, dangerous-looking dollop of it tops my bowl of goodies.

Mix everything such that all the ingredients are coated in the chilli and yolk.

If it is still too dry, add a scoop of the accompanying soup so your noodles can soak up more of the chilli.

Unlike some that I have had, this one packs a good amount of heat, but is not too overwhelming.

While this chilli ban mian is the star dish, the stall also sells a variety of noodle dishes, such as seafood tom yam la mian ($4.50 or $6), Fuzhou fishball noodles ($3.50 or $5) and seafood ee mian ($4 or $6).

The soup version of ban mian ($3) comes with the usual pork balls, vegetables, ikan bilis and egg. For this, I usually pick you mian (thin noodles) and it comes in a light but tasty soup.

To spice it up, the stall offers chilli padi or a sour and spicy chilli sauce. I'd go for the sauce.

Add more ingredients to the noodles, such as sliced abalone ($4 or $6), clams ($5 or $7) or sliced fish ($3.50 or $5), for a heartier bowl.

Between the chilli ban mian and soup version, I'd go with the chilli one without a doubt. No chilli, no life.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 27, 2018, with the headline 'Dry ban mian packs a punch'. Print Edition | Subscribe