Lets check out the Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Mee at ABC Brickworks Food Centre. Contrary to the name, the store is actually not located at Tiong Bahru, but rather along Jalan Bukit Merah near landmarks such as Alexandra village and Ikea Alexandra.
Moreover, the stall at its heart is a Hokkien Mee and is the only item on their menu. To specialise in one dish really takes a hawker craft of its own. Commendably, the store was listed in the Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand as a recognition for his hawker culinary. This added much to the store’s popularity and demand which is not always a good thing.
Notably, Yi Sheng had been around for almost 40 years. It is run by Mr Toh Seng Wang. He is a second generation hawker who took over from his father who was also in the hawker trade. The story is that his father used to sell the noodle dish from a pushcart in Tiong Bahru, though interestingly not at Tiong Bahru market, before hawker centers came around. They moved to this current spot in the food centre in the 80s.
his father used to sell the noodle dish from a pushcart in Tiong Bahru… before hawker centers came around. They moved to this current spot in the food centre in the 80s.
A Singaporean hawker staple
Additionally, the offerings at Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Mee is a mixed bag. Your fried Hokkien Mee is cooked with the standard mix of thick bee hoon and yellow noodles. Furthermore, they are soaked in flavourful but thin gravy served with a sizeable amount of toppings including two large and really delightful prawns (which are pretty crunchy), and sotong (squid).
Your dish is available in 3 serving sizes starting from $4 for the smallest plate to $6 for the largest. In addition, your dish is served on Styrofoam plates when dining in and on brown wax paper (at an additional 50 cents for takeaway).
However, on my visit, I found the dish bit too dry for Hokkien Mee. They are traditionally cooked with much more gravy servings with clear starchy gravy. Also, and what about those little black bits on the noodles?
That’s not pepper on your noodles. Rather, they are bits of charred wok remnants mixed into your dish, it does give your dish tad a bit of a burnt aftertaste which might not be great for your throat. A carcinogenic potpourri you say? I guess the peak periods does take the time out of cleaning each wok to keep up with the demand of the queues.
Avoid peak dinner times
Which brings me to my next observation- the extremely long queue times. Food for 4-5 dishes are cooked at a go per wok, taking about 10- 15 minutes to prepare each wok. Hence, it is not uncommon for wait times to go over an hour. If you do not have the luxury of time to spare, hence, I would strongly recommend avoiding the store during peak dinner periods. The store is at its core a dinner place, but it opens as early at 3pm daily where I would recommend you to visit.
Also, don’t expect friendly service here. The auntie serving you at the store counter is not the friendliest you can encounter. No service with a smile here, just a rude arrogant demand for your order where you change is promptly shoved into your hands, as she takes the order of the next patron in line.
To put it in perspective, another Fried Hokkien Mee store within the hawker center was able to serve out similar offerings at the same value under a 10 minutes wait.
Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Mee, just shortlist
All in all, I would recommend to just shortlist Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Mee. There is nothing to scream home about the offerings as advertised. I found their dish over-hyped and nothing out of the ordinary. Neither would I recommend you to torment yourself queuing over an hour (minimum) for your meal
I can guess the Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand is not wrong about Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Mee offering an authentic hawker experience, which I can guess extends beyond culinary cuisine, complete with the full experience including the gripes of hawker culture.
Must Go! | Actually pretty Good | Worth Trying | Shortlist Optionally | Should Avoid
Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Fried Hokkien Mee Locality Map
ABC Brickworks Food Centre,
6 Jalan Bukit Merah, #01-13,
Opening Hours: 3pm- 10:30pm
Closed on Wednesday