Ban Mian is the kind of food that would send you loads of comfort and warmth in the belly, especially when taken during the rainy days.
I remember during growing up years, Ban Mian stalls were less commonly seen, though I think you should be able to find one stall in most hawker centres now.
It is considered a fairly simple dish, of handmade noodles (usually rolled over a pasta maker), cooked in soup typically, and added with ingredients such as minced pork, anchovies, mushrooms and spinach.
There are You Mian and Mee Hoon Kway fans – one’s thinner, while the other is squarish and flat.
The dry versions are gaining popularity. To be honest, I think a reason why is people can get ‘tired’ of generic-tasting noodles, and dry Ban Mian reminds many of us of pasta, yet come at a fraction of its price. (Name me one hand-made pasta place that sells it below $10.)
To come out with this list, I did a poll on IG Stories and visited the top 12 most recommended places. (There are usually people who would go ”Why you never include this, this, this…?” I may PERHAPS do that in my next run. I just ate more than 15 bowls, I need a break from all these carbs.)
Here are 12 places where you can enjoy hearty bowls of Ban Mian:
China Whampoa Home Made Noodles
Blk #01-24, 91 Whampoa Dr, Singapore 320091
Tel: +65 9625 6692
Opening Hours: 8am – 2pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
This Whampoa Ban Mian came up most highly recommended among many DFD’s readers.
The signature bowl is the Home-Made Noodles with Prawns ($4, $5), but if you are lazy to pluck off the shells, there are choices of abalone clams, sliced fish, fish maw, and pig’s kidneys.
The wait is said to be long, but fortunately you do not have to wait in line under the mad-heat as a buzzer would be provided. The wait wasn’t longer than 20 minutes when I visited them early afternoon, and they were quite efficient in getting orders out.
The hawkers make their noodles within the stall in little batches, with a range of delicious ingredients like fish slices, clams, abalone or prawns.
It is then added to the light and clear broth with mani cai to give it a tangible sweetness. I tried the Abalone Clams Hand Made You Mian ($4) and enjoyed how “qing” (light and sweet) the soup base was.
Egg lovers may be disappointed as it came without it, but I reckon that is about the style so that you can appreciate the soup better.
L32 Hand Made Noodles
558 Geylang Road (Lor 32), Singapore 389509
Tel: +65 9770 2829
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 9:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
In terms of Dry Ban Mian, I think this famous stall at Geylang can easily be ranked as Top 3 in Singapore (1st for many, I would assume.)
This little stall is owned by a couple who make Ban Mian out of their love for cooking and excellent culinary skills. One of their ‘formulas’ is to leave the soup to simmer for over 10 hours a night before.
Coupled with their handmade noodles and star ingredients of anchovies and meat or seafood ingredients, the Ban Mian is a considered a bowl of heaven to many. There are choices of pork, chicken, fishball, meatballs, prawn, sliced fish, abalone clam, fish head, and prawn with sliced fish.
A bowl is priced from $4 to $7.
It was the Dry Bee Hoon Kway, tossed in a sweetish black sauce that stole my heart. I would recommend adding some of the chilli sauce in to balance out the sweetness. All their ingredients are said to be fresh and soup MSG free.
Qiu Lian Ban Mian
100 Beach Road #01-38/39/40 Shaw Tower, Singapore 189702
Opening Hours: 8am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Maybe I am impartial towards Qiu Lian, because theirs was the very FIRST Ban Mian I ever eaten (and I remember having it at Bishan, Marina Square and Changi Airport.)
Of course, they are very famous now and even have their own packets of ready-to-cook noodles sold in super markets.
The signature is the Qiu Lian Ban Mee of freshly made handmade noodles in rich soup. There are also other options such as Ban Mee with Prawns, Fried Fish Fillets, Tom Yam Ban Mee, Ah Ma Mee Hoon Kuay, Wa Wa Clam-shells Soup, Dry Braised Pork Ban Mee, Dry Pork Balls Ban Mee and Qiu Lian Dumplings Soup.
There are three elements which I thought made it work – the handmade noodles with the right thickness and springy texture, soup that is very flavourful on its own without any toppings, and the crispy anchovies. Though I wish they could be more generous with their serving of crispy ikan billis. Their Mee Hoon Kway is also usually towards the thicker side.
Qiu Rong Ban Mian
51 Old Airport Rd, #01-30, Singapore 390051
Tel: +65 9739 8618
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Surprisingly, their soup base turned out to be one of my favourites – quite under-rated I thought.
Qiu Rong Ban Mian has changed locations over the years (previously from Roxy Square), but the stall still has the same friendly couple serving their piping hot bowls.
Uncle and auntie have been successfully running the stall for over 20 years now.
However, a first-time customer may just miss out on their Ban Mian offerings, as the signage is more prominently featuring their Pork Ribs Soup and Chicken Mee Suah in Red Wine ($4.00).
Offerings include Sliced Fish Ban Mian ($4.50), Tom Yam Seafood Noodles ($5.00), Mee Hoon Kway + Prawn ($3, $5) or You Mian ($3.00).
While I thought that their Mee Hoon Kway’s texture was pretty ‘standard’ and decent, it was their rich, flavourful soup with fried ikan bilis that gave a salty kick and crunch that made a difference.
Comforting homemade noodles to warm you up and satiate your cravings.
Top One Handmade Noodles
Beauty World Food Centre #04-44, 144 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588177
Tel: +65 98576126
Opening Hours: 11am – 7pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Sun), Closed Wed
This handmade Ban Mian which has been around since 1989, the stall is located at a corner unit of the top floor food centre of Beauty World.
This is one of the few stalls where you can have rather varied permutations, to have your own personalized bowl by picking out the type of noodles and soup with a choice from many delectable ingredients.
Noodles wise, choose from mee hoon kway, you mian (thin noodles), ban mian (flat noodles), mee suah, bee hoon, Hong Kong mee, and cintan mee (egg noodles).
Four choices of bases are available – soup, tom yum, hot & spicy, and dry; to be paired with ingredients of fresh prawn, meat balls, sliced fish, fish maw or abalone. A bowl without the luxurious ingredients is priced at $4 or $5.
Most people would opt for the dry version which is dribbled with a generous serving of dark sauce.
I had the soup version, which I found to be in between – not too rich or mild, but still flavourful. BUT, the real magic to me, is that killer chilli sauce which is very shiok to have. Just a little can make a whole lot of difference.
Poon Nah City Home Made Noodles
810 Geylang Road, #05-02 City Plaza, Singapore 409286
Tel: +65 6741 4221
Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm (Mon – Sat), 10am – 7pm (Sun)
City Plaza is known for their clothing stores, Arnold’s Fried Chicken and Poon Nah City Home Made Noodles.
Finding this place may be tricky for first timers, especially if the escalator is down and you would feel like you are caught in 1990s Singapore.
Located at City Plaza’s food center on the 5th level, they have over 8 different varieties of noodles ranging from mee sua, mian and ban mian, bean flour and egg noodle.
You can pair it with your choice of ingredients such as abalone clams, kidney, sliced fish, fish maw, or prawns ($3.50, $4.50).
They add wolfberry leaves for that earthy-mellow taste in the soup. Noodles were on the soft side, so views can be divided as some of prefer something chewier.
Of all the stalls I tried, I would say I am quite indifferent to this as I thought it didn’t have that one distinctive factor that stood out – whether it was the noodles or soup or ingredients. But overall, a not-too-bad bowl.
Madam Leong Ban Mian
7 Maxwell Road #02-109 Amoy Street Food Centre Singapore 069111
Tel: +65 9221 7303
Opening Hours: 8am – 3pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Where you can relish Hakka-style ban mian made with love.
The business was set up when single-mum Vivian (Madam Leong) needed to find a means to support her teenage daughter. So this is a stall with both heart and soul.
Other than Mee Hoon Kway ($4, $5), Ban Mian ($4, $5) and Tom Yum Ban Mian ($5.50, $6.50), the dish that came highly recommended was the Dry Chilli Ban Mian ($4.50, $5.50).
The eggy Ban Mian came with an agreeable, almost al-dente-like bite that it reminded me of pasta.
The sauce tasted like the typical sweet-savoury type similar to many stalls, but it was when the dry chilli part was mixed in when it lifted the overall taste. The mushrooms, cooked soft as though it was in a bowl of tasty Bak Chor Mee, were a worthy accompaniment.
Note: The stall has moved from Holland Close to Amoy Street Food Centre.
456 Mian Fen Guo
59 Food Court, 59 Upper Changi Road Singapore 461059
Opening Hours: 9am – 3pm (Fri – Tues), Closed Wed, Thur
(Google stated it is “permanently closed” but I just went last week!) Those who stay Bedok told me this is a ”die die must try” Ban Mian.
Helming the stall is the young Dickson Ng who took over the stall from this grandmother. The draw is in the handmade noodles, prepared using Australian imported flour which would provide a springier texture.
You would notice that the helpers only start churning out the noodles fresh upon ordering.
Business is always brisk, and most are there for the Mian Fen Guo ($3.50, $4) available in both dry and soup versions.
While the soup looked light, it actually packed in quite a bit of flavours with sweetness coming from corns and ikan billis. The type of rainy weather food.
Seletar Sheng Mian
210 Lor 8 Toa Payoh Singapore 310210
Opening Hours: 6am – 2pm (Mon – Tues, Fri – Sun), Closed Wed, Thurs
(Another outlet at Blk 226H Ang Mo Kio Street 22, Kebun Baru Food Centre)
Compared with other stalls with various combinations of topping, this stall came with more straight-forward choice of Mee Hoon Kway ($3.50, $4, $5) and Sheng Mian ($3.50, $4, $5), both available in soup and dry versions.
While you can supposedly add anchovies or vegetables, I was told ”not enough” even though I was there early in the morning.
Honestly, I think part of the reason why the stall attracts a constant queue is due to its affordability – a $3.50 bowl with prawns.
The Mee Hoon Kway had moderate ‘thinness’ with good bite; while the soup might not be as rich and flavourful as some would have expected. Slightly above the average bowl in terms of taste, but generous for its price.
Far East Plaza #04-06 14 Scotts Road Singapore 228213
Tel: +65 6734 2312
Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Located at one other end of Orchard Road, Level 4 of Far East Plaza has a lot to offer in terms of inexpensive fuss-free eateries, but this particular food stall tucked on corner is the food fix you need.
It has limited seating so you may consider taking-away.
In terms of noodles alone, there are choices of Minced Pork Mee Hoon Kuey ($4.50), Herbal Soup Mee Hoon Kway ($5.50), Fried Mee Hoon Kuey ($5.00), Prawn Mee Hoon Kuey ($4.50), Fishball Mee Hoon Kuey ($4.50), Sliced Fish Mee Hoon Kuey ($5.00), and Tom Yum Mee Hoon Kuey ($5.50).
Their Mee Hoon Kueh ($4.50) is probably the version that came with the most irregularly shaped pieces – confirmed hand-made. The soup that came without egg, was slightly on the mild side for me.
Shall have the dry version next time, as most every other table had a bowl with it.
Grandma Ban Mee 老妈子板面
Amoy Street Food Centre #01-07, 7 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069111
Opening Hours: 10.30am – 2pm (Mon – Fri), Closed Sat – Sun
This relatively popular stall at Amoy Street Food Centre serves up both soup and dry versions of Ban Mian ($4, $5), but it is the Ban Mee Dry that most customers seem to be ordering.
It reminded me of a dry bowl of La Mian, with thin long you mian, topped with minced pork, braised mushrooms, black fungus, deep fried anchovies, runny egg and the highlight of it all… the chilli.
Toss your noodles well, and the relatively fiery-spiciness of the chilli is quite shiok, enticing enough to make you want to finish the bowl; while the mushrooms were soft and flavoursome.
There is an accompanying bowl of spinach soup, which was to the plainer side.
He Jia Huan Ban Mian Mee Hoon Kway
75 Lorong 5 Toa Payoh #01-14 Singapore 310075
Opening Hours: 3pm – 3am (Mon – Sat), 2pm – 2am (Sun), Or till sold out
The one main reason I took note of this stall is that it opens up to 3am every day. I don’t think there are many place in Singapore serving up Ban Mian beyond midnight.
This stall at Toa Payoh serves up Mee Hoon Kway, Ban Mee with Meatballs, U-Mee with Abalone Clams, Mee Hoon Kway Prawns, Sliced Clams Ban Mian and E-Mee, all in both dry and soup versions. Each bowl is priced at $4.
If you are feeling indulgent, there is an all-in signature bowl at $12.
The soup was moderately flavoursome, not the super rich and tasty type, and I did wish there was slightly more pork and fried ikan billis. The Mee Hoon Kway had a pleasant, chewy bite though.
Looking at what the other customers were ordering, I reckon that the dry version is more popular, which I will order next time I pay them a visit.