@ Hua Bee Restaurant: 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078
Tucked away in a corner of one of the iconic buildings from old Singapore in the Tiong Bahru estate is an old mee pok stall in a coffee shop (locally known as kopitiam) which is more than twice my age. I was in the area to actually have lunch at one of the hipster cafés when we walked past the old school kopitiam. My family and I couldn't pass up on the mee pok on this rare outing to Tiong Bahru, so guess what, we shared an order of the usual brunch - pancakes, sausages and eggs at the café, and moved on to a bowl of mee pok each at the kopitiam. Lol.
This 2nd lunch really brought back memories having lived in Tiong Bahru for a short year or two growing up. Everything from the floor and wall tiles, to the marbled furniture and even the ceiling fan take you back in time and is fully representative of Singapore years ago. If you are in Singapore on a holiday and would want a feel of how ambience was like, visiting this kopitiam has to be on your to-go list.
Back to the food, mee pok is a type of noodle, flat and about about a third of an inch wide. The thinner version is known as mee kia. To make it easier, just remember mee pok is like fettucini, and mee kia, spaghetti. There are a whole range of other noodle types like the yellow noodle and bee hoon (vermicelli). The noodles are then mixed with a sauce which is a combination including lard, soy sauce and vinegar. For those who opt for non-spicy noodles, ketchup is usually part of the sauce. How well the sauce is put together usually makes all the difference. Minced meat (pork), fishballs and fish cake slices make up the toppings. When you order, simply name the noodle you want and if you want to have it spicy or not. This noodle dish is generally known as mee pok, so people would ask "Do you want to have mee pok for lunch?"
Mee pok can easily be found - probably 99% of kopitiams and food courts offer mee pok ranging from $3 to $6 a bowl.
The mee pok at Hua Bee average to be honest. The best part of it were the fishballs, and for me, the ambience makes up partly for the food. Something interesting you would find at this kopitiam is that the section behind the wooden wallboards where I was sitting actually open up to a different world - Japanese eatery Bincho. With just a counter peeking from the side, I had to ask how to get beyond the kopitiam with the wooden "wall". Check it out when you are there!
We did a visit round Tiong Bahru to show you the quaint estate. Click here!
Milk Tea with pearls, 50% sugar level
That was our unanimous order for this challenge.
Welcome to Soak In Singapore's very own bubble tea taste test!
For our foreign friends (or friends who do not know what milk tea is):
Bubble tea is a popular beverage that originated from Taiwan. The beverage is milk based tea shaken with sugar and tapioca balls (loosely called 'pearls').
They are usually sold in takeaway kiosks with prices ranging from $2.50 to $5.50 per cup depending on which beverage flavour and toppings (add-ons) you order. While you can pick from a choice of teas such as black, green and oolong, fruit syrups and malt flavours (such as Horlicks) are part of the ingredient list in a bubble tea kitchen as well. Other than the traditional pearls as an add-on, you can now also find other toppings like grass jelly, konjac jelly and aloe vera to choose from at bubble tea houses. When you place your order, you can choose how sweet you’d like your beverage – 0%, 25%, 50% or 100%(for those with a sweet tooth).
Okay, with the definition aside,
It is time for our challenge:
We have with us four milk tea of the same order (with pearls, 50% sugar level) but from different brands, Jessica and I were tasked to taste individual beverage (and their pearls) and rate them out of 5, 5 being the best.
I personally love bubble tea, hence, I am really critical of the taste of the beverage and just like all tests, there are some brands that surprised me (both in good and bad ways) while others lived up to their brand images.
Our 4 brands of bubble tea were as follow:
Our verdicts for each round of bubble tea we tasted are listed below:
Bubble Tea #1 (KOI):
Too sweet! But the pearls are appropriately sized and really chewy, it's basically the beverage saving grace.
Jess' rating: 2.8
Rae's rating: 3.5
Bubble Tea #2 (Each-A-Cup):
Are we drinking tea flavored water or actual tea? It's really diluted. Jess thought the pearls were good, I had a different opinion.
Jess' rating: 3.0
Rae's rating: 2.7
Bubble Tea #3 (A-Gan Tea):
I personally had a rude shock when my taste buds touched this one...
Jess' rating: 2.0
Rae's rating: <1.0
Bubble Tea #4 (LiHo):
This one was alright, is it weird that I knew which brand it comes from just by tasting it?
Jess' rating: 2.8
Rae's rating: 2.4
Well, that was really fun! Each brand does have unique qualities and strengths and the most wonderful part is that we can get them all here in Singapore whenever we feel like!
I'm just beyond excited for the brand GongCha to hit the shores of Singapore once again, who agrees with me that it'll be one of the most epic comeback ever?!
Note: We were not paid to sponsor any of the brands and comments that were given in the video were purely based on individual preference