Cheap & Good

Fishball minced meat noodles with a spicy kick

The chilli in the fishball minced meat noodles makes the dish stand out.
The chilli in the fishball minced meat noodles makes the dish stand out.ST PHOTO: TAN KENG YAO

If you are watching your weight, you might find the stall-front display at Hougang Fishball Minced Meat Noodles useful.

This is because the calorie counts for the dishes it sells - fishball minced meat noodles, meatball noodles and laksa - are displayed next to photographs of the dishes.

This stall is at the canteen of Prince George's Park Residences, a student housing estate at National University of Singapore. It recently moved there from the university's Faculty of Engineering canteen.

As the stall's name suggests, it started out in Hougang.

Anyway, seeing the calorie count of the stall's dry fishball minced meat noodles ($2.50, 300 calories) made me rather happy.

I have always thought fishball noodles were much more calorific. Three hundred calories sound even more reasonable when you consider that a plate of char kway teow contains about 750 calories.

  • HOUGANG FISHBALL MINCED MEAT NOODLES

  • Stall No. 7, Prince George's Park Residences, 27 Prince George's Park, National University of Singapore; tel: 9008-6829; open: 7.30am to about 5pm (Mondays to Thursdays), 7.30am to about 2pm (Fridays), 7.30am to about 2pm (Saturdays), closed on Sundays

    Rating: 3.5 stars 

It is all about putting things into perspective.

Anyway, I would consider it a fair trade giving up 300 calories for this bowl of fishball minced meat noodles. The fish balls were tender and bouncy and there was a generous serving of pork lard (essential), but what made the dish stand out was the chilli.

The recipe for this chilli was passed down to stallholder Teo Kian Lye from his mother, who also sold fishball noodles.

Every day, he makes the chilli and renders the lard himself. "It's a lot of work," he says. "But the more work goes into it, the better it tastes. If you cheat, it won't taste so good."

And the effort shows.

The chilli was moreish and carried a pleasant fragrance, not unlike that of hae bee hiam.

The chilli is added by default into the noodles, so if you do not want it spicy, speak out. It would be a pity to miss out on the chilli, though.

Fishball noodles aside, I also like the stall's dry noodles with deep-fried meatballs ($3.20, five meatballs), which is a little bit more calorific at 485 calories, but I would splurge on it.

Upon ordering, my meatballs were placed in a deep-fryer and fried until they took on an irresistible crispy crust.

And they were firm and meaty, unlike some poorer versions that are fillers mimicking meat.

If you are on a keto diet, go for the deep-fried meatballs without the noodles ($3.20 for eight meatballs), which will also cut down your calorie intake to 340.

Or go for the non-deep-fried meatball soup ($2.30, eight meatballs, 300 calories).

But you know what, just forget the calorie-counting and eat whatever makes you happy - in moderation, of course.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 04, 2019, with the headline 'Fishball minced meat noodles with a spicy kick'. Print Edition | Subscribe