Sabah Kuo Man Fish Paste Noodles 沙巴国民鱼滑面

Disclaimer: I've known Chef Andy since Ikyu opened, and he was my usual omakase chef when I used to go down to Ikyu quite frequently since it was near my place of work. 

This place opened in Bedok in July 2013. The chef, Andy, used to work as a sushi chef at Ikyu but has left to bring in this almost 40-years old Sabah institution to Singapore. It serves good old fashion noodles with a wide variety of simply honest, hearty, old-fashion and delicious sides.

The noodles were generous, either mee kia or mee pok, and served either dry or soup. I had both noodles in the dry version and the sauce was a tasty mushroom-based meaty stock. The mee kia was more Q and would be good for da bao, whereas the mee pok was smoother and better suited for in-house eating. Andy shared that the noodles were from the famous Yong Siak Road which explained the high quality. He could not bring in the original hand-made noodles because of Singapore's restrictions. Pity.

The fish balls were made entirely of mackerel fish with some herbs (?coriander) within, without any flour or starch, etc, and they were genuinely springy and tasty, although I am not a fan of the herbal after-taste. The beef stew was excellent! Tender chunks of beef briskets with tendons that almost melt in your mouth. This is a rare find these days where briskets are under-stewed and tendons a rarity at most "beef brisket noodles" stores. The slice beef soup paled in comparison to the other two aforementioned dishes, but it was still good tender slices of beef that was clearly cooked in the hot soup since it still retained the slight pink colour.

The other stars in this down-to-earth place are the roast pork and pan-fried fish cake. The roast pork puts most other places to shame. Just the right amount of fats in the top layer that was capped off with a golden-ochre crispy skin and seasoned with a tinge of salt, it was fantastic with the chili.

Speaking of the chili, it is also made in-house, and boy, is it spicy. With a tang of vinegar or lime, the chili complements the fish ball, raw beef and roast pork excellently, but maybe not so the beef stew.

Anyways, the last big star belongs to the pan-fried fish cake. 100% mackerel fish and pan-fried till just right such that the outer layer is crispy but the inner layer still has the springy texture of the fish. It reminds me of the famous parang fish fish cake from the famous Chinatown Yong Tau Foo store. The fish cake was served with its own chili, a sweeter version, then helped to bring out the flavours, and thankfully, the coriander taste here was a lot less.

The food was simple but wonderfully tasty and everything was very, very affordable! It was so good, or I was so hungry, that I forgot to take pictures for most of them. Darn it!

Verdict: Will definitely come again, and more frequently so, if I stay in the East.


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