The computer geeks searching for cheap buys at Sim Lim possibly won’t get full from a $1.90 bowl of Thai boat noodles. Advice: order 5 bowls and try a variety, or the bigger $5 bowl which can be more satisfying.
After finding some popularity at Golden Mile Complex, Noodle Café quickly opens another at Sim Lim, and has been looking at franchising their brand.
The small-sized bowls of Thai boat noodles (kuai tiao ruea) was due to their functionality when they first originated from Bangkok’s canals. Paddlers in the boat could easily pass tinier bowls to customers, without spilling scalding themselves. You can still find popular stalls like this along street-side stalls at Bangkok’s Victory Monuments.
Over at Noodle Café, there were five steps on the menu to customise the boat noodles: choose the meat (beef, beef liver, beef ball, pork, pork liver, pork ball), size ($1.9 or $5), noodles (bee hoon, kway tiao, glass noodles, tung hoon, meekia), taste (dry, soup, clear or tom yum) and level of spiciness.
I was given ample warning about the quantity of the $1.90 portion, but went ahead to order. And regretted immediately after seeing it.
It was finished in two mouthfuls.
That bowl included a few strands of noodles, some slices of beef, half a beef ball, morning glory in dark spicy sauce with pork lard oil. Rough estimation: would need 4-5 portions of this to feel full.
With that said, umami can still come in bite-sizes. The flavours were still one of the strongest, and possibly closest to those sold in the street-side stalls in Thailand. After all, the chefs and lao-ban-niang are from the Land of Smiles themselves.
Noodle Café – Thai Boat Noodles
1 Rochor Canal #01-05 Sim Lim Square, Singapore 188504 (near taxi-stand)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9pm