Now that the hype around Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle has ballooned to 2 hour queues (no thanks to Mr Michelin), it’s a good time to point out that the Hill Street/Crawford Lane stall is not the only Tai Hwa Pork Noodle Stall. No. After all, Tai Hwa Pork Noodle was founded by the late Mr Tang Joon Teo who had three sons. The Tai Hwa stall at Crawford Lane (aka Michelin award winner) is currently operated by the second son.
What about the other sons / brothers who learnt the trade as well?
Well, they set up their own stalls under the Tai Hwa name as well. Tai Wah Pork Noodle at Hong Lim food centre is currently run by the son of the youngest son of the late Mr Tang. For those interested, this article by Asiaone gives an concise blurb of the origins of Tai Hwa Pork Noodle.
A few weeks ago, I went down to Tai Hwa at Crawford Lane for my BCM fix and bemoaned on FB the long queue, and especially the fact that the person standing in front of me happened to order 20 bowls (apparently her office boss had sent her down to order for the entire department) which ended up with me waiting 30 minutes just for that one order to be done.
My teochew relatives (most of whom are BCM lovers as well) immediately responded that I should have just gone to the Hong Lim Centre stall – less queue and still taste as good. Yes, we have divided opinions over which stall actually tastes better. For me, I’ve always staunchly said that Tai Hwa at Crawford Lane remains my go-to stall for the sheer reason of their home made vinegar.
Today I wanted my BCM fix but I could not bear the 2 hour wait (I have to study man!). Hence, I told M the night before that I wanted to go to the Hong Lim stall for BCM. We agreed to leave the house at 10.30am so that we would get there at 11am, early lunch and hopefully no queue.
Guess what. When we got there, there was a queue. It was about a 30 minute wait till I finally returned with two bowls of bak chor mee. Ok lah, 30 minutes – I can deal with that.
A few things I noticed while queuing – Unlike Tai Hwa at Crawford Lane where there is more manpower for division of labour (one person would cook noodles, one would cook the other ingredients, one would take orders and another one for food prep), the cooking was all done by the young Mr Tang himself. There was just one other helper who were assisting with food prep and taking orders.
I noticed with some amusement too that their system of ordering and organizing the bowls looked rather similar to the one employed at Tai Hwa at Crawford Lane.
Prices are also similar. Prices start from $5 and go up to $8 for a bowl of BCM. We got the $5 bowls.
The noodles were cooked well and well mixed with the chili and vinegar. The difference here is that while the vinegary taste is present, it is not as strong and is different from the vinegar used at Tai Hwa at Crawford Lane. It really is the smallest difference, and only because I love the vinegary taste that it was quite evident to me.
The only complaint we had was that the teochew dumplings had this starchy bite to them. Other than that, this was a really good bowl of bak chor mee. No surprise that the stall enjoys a healthy lunch queue and has won its fair share of accolades.
Add: 531A, Upper Cross Street, #02-16, Hong Lim Food Centre & Market