Chronicles of MPT: Opera

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I’ve been a regular at Bedok South Hawker Cenre’s Opera for a long time. The auntie who took order would take one look at me and tell me my order immediately. It’s too bad she’s not there anymore, but the auntie who makes the noodles is still there.

What I love about this stall is how healthy and clean everything tastes. It’s not your usual fishball noodle nor bak chor mee. It’s invariably full of fresh ingredients like baby romaine lettuce (which other stall uses baby romain?), sprightly beansprouts and incredibly fat free minced pork. Coupled with homemade fried shallots, good chilli sauce and excellent vinegar,  the dry version is heavenly. I could eat here every day. In fact, I see lots of old-timers order their daily fix from this stall. (For the record, it’s not the one with the queue, I personally can’t see why people like the famous fishball stall with the long queue.)

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I also ask for extra vegetables for $0.50 more and they give me a much bigger bowl of soup plus extra fishballs and other ingredients. This is worth my while because it’s the only accompanying soup worth drinking. At other places I invariably leave the soup untouched because it’s just msg and water. Here, things are quite different and I always finish every drop of the soup. It’s fantastic.

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What’s not so great about it? The meatballs are only a notch above run of the mill and the meepok can sometimes be soggy. Go for the meekia or meesua, both the dry version. Both are excellent.

Opera
#01-175
Blk 16 Bedok South Road Hawker Centre

Massive Portions at a Teenage Joint

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Iluma is one of those places that seems like such a good idea but once you go in, you get bored so fast 10 minutes seems like an age. Unsurprisingly for a teenage-oriented place, this place is teeming with kid-wallet-friendly places. Empire State is one of them. Surprisingly for a teenage-oriented joint, this place has decent value for money food!

I insisted on having salad, so this starter came along. I was pleasantly surprised to see the fairly sophisticated touch of pistachios and grape halves under the balsamic cream dressing. Of course the teenage touch was having way too much dressing so after a while I gave up trying to scrape the extra off. Can’t fault them for being generous though.

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I thought I’d have a change from burger (DC was on a bit of a burger roll), so I went for the completely different spaghetti meatball. If I was a teenager, I’d be in heaven: it was one hell of a plate of pasta. Think of a huge plate of spaghetti smothered in bolognaise sauce and then have a giant meatball on top of it all. It’s crazy mound of food and it took ages to get through.

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DC of course went for the Empire State Burger. In a rare moment of weakness, he declared it the best burger he’d had in a while. I felt that while it was incredibly juicy, there wasn’t a whole lot of taste to it aside from salt. It wasn’t a bad burger though, and was hardly asking to be gourmet.

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This is a great joint for having a lot of food at decent prices. The tagline is spot-on: they’re sure to stuff you till you’re full. It’s a great place to take a teenager (or a DC for that matter!).

Empire State
201 Victoria Street
#04-03 Iluma At Bugis
Tel: 6238 7076

Chronicles of MPT: Bestway Bak Chor Mee

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Finally made it to the Bak Chor Mee at Bestway Building. We got there for a lateish lunch on Saturday afternoon. I was glad that we were spared the mythical 40-minute wait as there wasn’t much of a crowd this time. Everything else bar the drink stall was closed. Even though there were only two people ahead of us, our order took a while to arrive. The uncle takes his time with the noodles.

First up, I liked the taste of the noodles ($4 up) very much. The chilli was quite fragrant and the vinegar was very mellow. A bit more chilli and vinegar would have made it much better. There was plenty of dried sole fish and they were also generous with the toppings: mince meat, liver, dumplings and meatballs. The meatballs were also spiked with dried sole bits, giving extra oomph. I wasn’t too keen on the noodles. The meepok was too soft for my liking. I could tell on first sight that it was soft, didn’t even need to bite in to know. Try ordering their dumpling soup instead, it’s got all the good stuff and none of the overcooked noodles stuff. For noodles, Seng Kee is probably better.

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Verdict: I liked the taste and the toppings, but the noodles were bad.

Tai Wah Pork Noodle
Meeting Point Food Court
12 Prince Edward Road
#01-16 Bestway Building (TV12)
Mon-Sat 9 am to 3 pm
Tel: 9163 6228