About a year ago, Dad returned home with two packets of Wanton Noodles for Mum and me. While transferring the noodles onto a plate, I was surprised not just by the big mound of noodles, but also the number of wantons that slipped out from the plastic bag!
As I send a mouthful of noodles into my mouth, my eyes sparkled. Never mind the lean char siew and limpy wantons, the sauce is the kind I liked. So comforting, so old school but so difficult to find!
I queried with Dad where he bought the noodles from but I could not get a definite answer as he just randomly picked a stall to tapau the food from. All I knew was that it is somewhere in Bukit Merah.
"What color is their plate?" I asked.
"Red" came the answer.
So, I went on a google image search for "Bukit Merah Wanton Noodle", going through every wanton noodle that is on a red plate.
Every picture I saw, I tried to find a photo of the stall front and showed it to Dad.
"Is it this one?"
"How about this one?"
It did not take long before we narrow down to Dover Road Kai Kee Wanton Noodle at Alexandra Village Food Centre.
A further search revealed that Kai Kee Wanton Noodle used to be located in Dover Road Market near Fairfield Methodist School before moving to Alexandra Village Hawker Centre in 2011.
Although we have a suspect, I was not able to verify my suspicion until a year later when I was in the vicinity with Mum. We were on our way to IKEA Alexandra when I suddenly recalled about the food centre across the street. We decided to make our way there for lunch before the office crowd does.
There are already a couple of OLs (office ladies) in front of the stall and it took quite a while to reach me because the friendly but seemingly forgetful auntie keep asking them what their orders were.
Other than Wanton Noodle, they also sell Dumpling Noodle, Shredded Chicken Noodle, Dumpling Soup and Wanton Soup for $2.50 (small) and $3 (big). The noodles are available in both dry and soup.
Of course I had to order the Wanton Noodle to verify if it is really the one which Dad had bought for us back then. Remembering the big portion, I ordered a $3 plate to share with Mum.
Indeed, when I received my order, I was staring at a huge amount of noodles and I counted eight wantons no less. The char siew were exactly how I remembered them to be - anorexic looking without the caramelized edges I liked. Presentation ought to be the last thing on their mind because everything on the plate was in a complete mess.
But all that were not important to me. What I wanted was the old school taste of the noodles in the sauce.
I took a sip of the sauce and I was overwhelmed with happiness! This is indeed the old school taste I was looking for! I could just eat the noodles plain without any ingredients!
While waiting for my order, I saw the auntie scooping a mysterious black sauce into the bowls of complimentary soup. I thought that was the secret formula to their soup and I asked her what it is.
"Soy sauce" was her answer.
I thought that is her diplomatic answer to not reveal the concoction to their fantastic soup. I eagerly took a sip... and I instantly left the entire bowl of soup untouched.
Auntie was telling me the truth. It tasted nothing more like soy sauce in plain water with a dash of pepper to me.
But guess what? Even thought the wantons, char siew, and even the complimentary soup were nothing to shout about, the sauce was enough to lure me back for more.
DOVER ROAD KAI KEE WANTON NOODLE 杜佛路佳記雲吞麵
Alexandra Village Food Centre
120 Bukit Merah Lane 1
Wed - Mon: 7am – 4pm daily
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/QRfh2ime4cK2
GPS Coordinates: 1.286831,103.8018423
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