Hands up for those who fancy some comforting Malaysian style Sarawak Kolo Mee and Pan Mee.
Face To Face Noodle House 面对面, home to the original Sarawak noodles has arrived in Singapore at City Square Mall.
Here’s how successful the noodle chain is: 30 outlets across Malaysia, sold more than 2 million bowls of noodles, with an annual turnover of more than $9 million. Anyone tried this before?
This shop at City Square Mall Level 2 is its first overseas outlet, and hopefully more to come.
Its noodle style is closely related to the Jook-Sing technique, one of the rarest forms of noodle-making. The shop currently uses a 104 year-old recipe handed down by the founder’s great-grandfather who honed the skills in Hong Kong.
The Jook-Sing method traditionally uses a bamboo log to press eggs and flour into thin strands.
Modern machinery (along with human skills) is used within the Face To Face outlet to create noodles every single day. Fresh, no additional preservatives used.
Traditional Sarawak Noodles ($8.90)
To be fair, I have yet to try traditional-traditional Sarawak Noodles, so I won’t be able to vouch on its authenticity (Let me know if you have tried the ‘original’).
The homemade noodles served with minced pork, char siew, fried wanton and marinated spring onions reminded me of wanton noodles with more ingredients.
The noodles made were enjoyably thin, and not as curly as the other brands that I know about. The ‘bite’ was enjoyable – cooked al dente, with a chewy, springy, eggy texture.
Some might question about its blandness. This dish was interestingly not sauce-dependent, with light pork sauce and some aromatic pork lard oil coating the strands. Kept it clean, kept it simple.
I asked and learnt that this minimal-sauce recipe was how it was done back home in Sarawak. However, if you would like it to be more sauce-y (as this is what local Singaporeans are accustomed to), you can request upon ordering (some goes for the Pan Mee).
Hot & Spicy Pan Mee
I know the noodles is the star ingredient, but the ingredients that stole my heart were the anchovies and house special dry chill.
The ikan bilis were so crisp and addictive, adding that salty trace and faint crunch on every bite.
The specialty chili was power yet not over-fiery. It single-handedly lifted the taste of the noodles to another dimension. Add a dash, and test your tolerance level. If you could take it, add a spoonful – why not? For that extra kick.
Genki Herbal Chicken Soup Pan Mee ($12.90)
This is the kind of soupy dish to have when you require some comfort in your belly. The broth was light and clear, herbal, yet not tasting ‘medicinal’ and bu.
Spotted some angelica root (dang gui), cordyceps and gobi berries in the midst, nutritional to the body.
The chicken was added separately on the top. I wondered if the chunk could have been much tenderer and gelled better if it was cooked in the broth already.
Ah yes, I need to mention this. The mee sua lookalike strands were actually a thinner version of the same pan mee. It didn’t turn soggy even though we had subsequent bites after leaving it there for a while.
Curry Chicken Pan Mee ($11.90)
Limited bowls available. The curry gravy was closer to the Indian type (more than the Chinese) and therefore not so lemak
Loved the mini potatoes (inside of the typical large chunky ones) and tofu puffs, especially after they soaked up the spicy curry.
Black Pepper Pork Chop Pan Mee ($12.90)
This bowl had two pieces of pork chop with a base of savoury black pepper sauce.
I reckon that younger diners would prefer this version as it was more robust and flavourful contrasted to the other plainer tasting ones. Though I didn’t think the black pepper and noodles worked well together as well comparatively.
Hakka Yong Tau Foo – Five Treasures Set ($7.50)
This is the only dish not available in the Malaysian outlets, with five pieces of Yong Tau Foo filled with meat and fish paste and steamed in bamboo baskets.
For snacks, you should try the Bacon Cheese Balls ($5.50) and have them while they are hot and oozing with melted cheese.
Chef’s Special Fried Wantan ($4), Deep Fried Fish Cake ($1.50) and Fried Taucu Wings ($4.50) are also available. Taucu is preserved fermented yellow soybeans, commonly used in Chinese Indonesian cuisine, so you get this layer of marinate over the chicken’s outer later.
While drinks are often an afterthought in many casual eateries (the usual generic types or canned ones), the Iced Signature Organic Coffee ($5), Caramel 3 Layer Tea ($4.50) and Multigrain Soymilk ($3.50) all tasted refreshingly good, so much so that I would urge them to consider a takeaway drink kiosk on its own.
In case you missed the signage at the entrance, value sets with a drink are available a $9.90! Add $1 more for inclusion of a snack.
Business over at Face to Face Noodle House is brisk over weekday lunches and weekends. Be ready to wait a while for your hot piping noodles to arrive.
[Updated Aug 2016] Face to Face Noodle House has launched a Hot & Spicy Pan Mee Challenge from 12th August to 30th September 2016.
Face to Face’s Hot & Spicy Pan Mee is already a perennial favourite, largely due to the house speciality pan-fried dry chilli that provides a spicy and savoury crispness, contrasting with the smooth freshly homemade noodles.
This challenge offers customers a choice of 4 levels of spiciness, with the chance to earn bragging rights as well as entries into their lucky draw with a grand prize of a 4D3N trip for 2 to the land of many spicy dishes – Korea!
Are you UP for the challenge?
Face to Face Noodle House
180 Kitchener Road, City Square Mall Level 2 Singapore 208539 (Farrer Park MRT)
Tel: +65 6595 6595
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Face to Face Noodle House.