Prawn Noodles at Datouxia 大头虾
Prawn Noodles ranks highly as one of my favourite local hawker dishes. However, in recent years, I've been increasingly disappointed with the food that's sold at many prawn noodle stalls in Singapore. The broth at many places are so watered down, I find myself thinking about bringing the broth home to reduce it in the hopes of intensifying the flavours.Prawn & Pork Rib Noodles @ $4.90 (opening promo price)
C and I first drove past Da Tou Xia a few weeks back. The shop's name captured my attention because the Chinese name "Datouxia" literally means big-headed prawn but is also a Chinese slang for "scatterbrain". I finally found some time to check it out yesterday. They were having an opening promotion with prices starting from $3.50 for a bowl of Small Prawn Noodles. I wanted to try the medium prawns and pork ribs so I went for the slightly pricier option. The prawns were slightly larger than the ones in C's $3.50 bowl so if you're not into pork ribs or large prawns, you might like to opt for the smaller prawn version instead. The prawns were firm, fresh and sweet while the pork ribs were tender and fell off the bone easily. The highlight of the dish was the robust broth that was umami-rich from the copious amounts of prawn heads and shells that must have gone into the preparation of the stock. The smooth and well-balanced broth didn't leave a hint of bitterness on the palate either. The rich tasting broth reminded me of the Penang-style Prawn Noodles that I had while growing up in Singapore. I was really pleasantly surprised as I've come to have lower expectations for hawker food these days. Coupled with the generous toppings of sinfully crispy Pork Lard Croutons and Browned Shallots, the Prawn Noodles at Da Tou Xia are definitely a Must-Try!Ngoh Hiang
We were really hungry so we ordered some Ngoh Hiang to complement our noodle lunch. Ngoh Hiang is a Hokkien term referring to the Five Spice Powder that is used to season the pork filling that is wrapped in thin beancurd skin like a roulade and then deep-fried. The term is used loosely to refer to the wide variety of savoury fried snacks that is sold together with Ngoh Hiang. We ordered three different varieties which were fried to a lovely golden-brown shade with a crisp crust and juicy core. They're worth a try if you're looking to add variety to what would otherwise be a one-dish meal. We ordered some Water Chestnut drinks. With the noodle promotion going on, the prices are reasonable. Our bill came up to about $6.50 each for four diners.
I was curious about the stall so I emailed them to find out where the cook was from. A simple question that led to an interesting story. I found out that the person behind it used to run a Economic Mixed Rice stall for over seven years before deciding to switch to something different. He apparently went back to his hometown in Alor Star and visited Penang as well as Johor Bahru seeking instructions from experienced Prawn Noodle hawkers. As expected, none were willing to impart their skills and knowledge. He then started experimenting on his own and eating at different prawn noodle stalls daily to savour the nuances in flavours from stall to stall. He was also there to observe how they made the broth. After a month of frequent visits, he befriended the elderly lady who runs a prawn noodle stall in Woodlands and she taught him some trade secrets. He was on a roll! His Godmother's cousin imparted some techniques and tips based on experience garnered while running a Penang Prawn Noodle Stall in Parit Buntar, Perak. He amalgamated the different techniques and tips to yield the current recipe. Looks like his hard work and persistence has paid off handsomely because I think his Prawn Noodles are seriously tasty! I hope they'll maintain the quality of their food in the coming months as they get more established.Datouxia 383 Upper Aljunied Road, Singapore 367868 Phone: +65 90622342 Email: email@example.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/Datouxia383 Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 9.30 pm daily