I don’t usually write posts about hawker food. It’s not that I don’t like hawker food, it’s just that (1) there are others, like Leslie who know a helluva lot more about these dishes than I and post very eloquently about their findings, and (2) my darling wife S, despite also enjoying hawker food, doesn’t like most hawker centres. My poor wife, you see, tends to get overheated rather easily, which makes going to al fresco food centres a rather sweaty and stinky experience — which, if you know her, is way outside of her comfort zone. She’s more the turned-out-without-a-hair-out-of-place sort than the let’s-sit-around-in-singlets-and-shorts-that-are-way-too-small-for-me-do-you-like-my-tan type. Which is fine with me. Our little nation could do with more of the former and few less of the latter.
But there are some instances when, no matter how hot it might get, the trip is worth it. Or as Emile Hirsch opined in The Girl Next Door, “the juice is worth the squeeze.” When Ignatius Chan, owner of Iggy’s, the highest ranked restaurant in the 2008/2009 edition of The Miele Guide, recently raved about a prawn mee (noodle) stall near my home, I knew that sooner or later I’d drag S out for a sweaty breakfast of prawn noodles and pig tail soup.
Da Dong Prawn Mee is located in a small coffee shop at the corner of Rangoon Road and Starlight Road. Starlight Road is a small cul de sac street off of Rangoon Road, i.e. it intersects the street twice. If coming from Serangoon Road, you’ll find the coffee shop/hawker centre at the second junction. We had been told by Iggy to order the prawn noodles or the pork rib prawn noodles dry, and then to have side orders of both the prawn stock and the pig tail soup. Which is exactly what we did.
Now, let me make it clear that I am no prawn mee expert. I haven’t even tried the cultishly famous one in Pek Kio market, which is literally a stone’s throw from my home. That said, I think I have a pretty good palate and can appreciate good food. From the first bite, I think I understood why Iggy likes this stall so much.
The noodles are nice and firm, the flavours subtle and surprisingly elegant. Customers who appreciate fine technique and subtletly, especially diners who love simple, homecooked Italian pasta dishes, will really like the prawn noodles here. I found that the sauce was well-balanced, in a way that without having to clobber you over the head, provided you with enough taste and flavour to make this one darn tasty bowl of mee. I also loved that the noodles were al dente. What’s nice about serving noodles with a light touch such as this is that even after finishing your portion, you could still have just a bit more… which is the perfect way (in my opinion) to leave a customer.
On the other hand, the prawn soup was super rich and immensely satisfying. Appropriately, it was served to us in a small bowl. The pig tail soup was, by contrast, a little sweeter yet equally gratifying. The fatty meat around the bone was tender and slurpingly terrific.
So would I come back? Hell yes. But given that I’m just a few minutes away, I think I’ll be buying take-away from now on. After all, keeping S happy is also worth the squeeze.
Da Dong prawn mee
97 Rangoon Road
Tuesday – Sunday
7am – 3pm