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May 12, 2010

Singapore noodles

dead fishIn this week's Shallow Thought Wednesday post, John Lindner gives mixed reviews to local Singapore noodles offerings. Here's John. LV

Last week I “discovered” Singapore noodles and since that first taste, ordered them two more times at two other places.
 
Most of the American Chinese joints convenient to me specialize in blah. I feel really good if I can find one decent dish on the menu. To avoid disappointment, I don’t stray much from my one selection. When I do, I’m usually disappointed.
 
Last week, I strayed. Checking out the Forbidden City menu online, I saw the Singapore noodles, did a little more checking online, and decided to risk it. And I’m glad I did: I liked them. Not love, just like. But that beats the heck out of disappointment.
 
Disappointment, however, was lurking.

I liked the Forbidden City variety so much that I tried the Peking House (11 E. Baltimore) offering. Not as good, to my taste, as the FC stuff. FC’s have a more pronounced curry presence. They throw lots of stuff in with the noodles: pork, onions, chicken, probably some “parts.” Peking House’s noodles were drier and had fewer “parts” tossed in with the noodles. Blah. Then, after long having meant to try a place whose menu was tacked up on a workplace corkboard, and on a quest for even better Singapore noodles, I hit Zhanshong.
 
As RoCK mentioned, the place gives off initial good vibe. Ducks hang (dead, cooked) from hooks. Big, live, silvery fish in tanks. (One of the fish was “resting” – laying on its side at the bottom of the tank, its mouth only very occasionally oh-ing. Its tank mate was hanging out at the opposite end of their cage, clearly wanting no part of the mojo visiting his neighbor. Me, I’d have scooped the loser out so’s not to raise in customers’ minds the same series of questions that flowed through my head while I watched the poor devil checking out. But the wonderful women who waited on me didn’t give the dying fish a second thought. You want? I give you half price. Not so hard to catch. Hahahahahaha.)
 
Anyway, I waited no more than ten minutes for my carryout. I was really looking forward to it. But when I got back to my desk and dug in it was … about what I got at Peking House. Dry, even less curry-ish.
 
The upshot is, I have a new pick when I want Chinese in Westminster. But when in Baltimore, I’m probably not going back to Singapore noodles anytime soon. I will check out Zhongshan again. I’d like to explore its menu further, maybe wait for a deal on sushi.
 
Photo by Fran Gambín, courtesy of Stock Xchng
Posted by Laura Vozzella at 10:30 AM | | Comments (27)
        

Comments

Good post jl!
I've never heard of Singapore noodles before and would like to try them. I just checked the local Chinese carryout menu and they don't have it listed.

I hear Ding How has good Singapore Noodles. I like Friend Kitchen in Hampden and actually Blu Bambu next to the downtown Inner Harbor Chipotle does a good job as well. I was turned on to the noodles when I lived a little further south. The City Lights of China on Connecticut Ave. has (hopefully not "had") the gold standard.

I worked with several Chinese people last decade and we would often dine in Chinatown, DC. They introduced me to Singapore Noodles (now a personal favorite) alongside some more exotic flavors of dim sum (chicken feet, for instance). They did give me one caveat about Singapore Noodles-- never order them for take out because the noodles lose their finer qualities....

I've had Singapore Mei Fun with the same "parts" you've described.
Is this dish also made with rice noodles?

Singapore Noodles are one of my long-time favorites and Sam's Kid in Fells Point has some of the best I've ever had.

Singapore Noodles are one of my long-time favorites and Sam's Kid in Fells Point has some of the best I've ever had.

We love the Singapore Noodles from First Wok in Westminster. Like you, I've stopped ordering them from other places but none of the others compare to their offering.

Never heard of it, what's Singapore noodles?

You'll never find Singapore noodles in Singapore, that's for sure! It's totally a foreign invention.

Camemberu - It's as hard as finding a cannoli in Italy.

Another vote for the Singapore Noodles at Sam's Kid. I've never had them before, so I can't compare to other versions, but I thought they were fantastic.

Camemberu, it's ok with me that they're not "authentic". I'm of an age that ALL the "Chinese" food that I grew up with was pretty much American inventions. I still like chicken chow mein and chopped suey, even if they only exist on American take out menus.

JL, I've heard good stuff about Forbidden City before but haven't been there yet. Now, I have a reason to get there & give them a try.

Hey! You're back! I thought maybe you had flown the coop.

Yes, you will not get the type of Singapore noodles in Singapore. This North American creation simply piled on mild curry paste on the noodles. To a real Singapore food connoisseur, the Singapore noodle is a blasphemy.

There are so many types of noodles dishes in Singapore that are truly tasty. Go to Singapore and find out and you will find your Singapore noodles truly cheated on you.

Wow, thanks for an entire story on Singapore noodles (that you had to look up online) that doesn't tell us what the hell they are. Nice work.

TheTeeto,

Here's a link that might answer your question:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_noodles

Like jl said, noodles with lots of stuff on them.

No Singapore Noodles in Singapore? Hmmm, not sure about that, but I believe Singapore (chicken) Rice is the national dish of Singapore. I made it once. It was ok, but then again I'm not at my culinary best making Asian foods.

As to Forbidden City, I've never been there, but I have heard good things. First Wok is ok, but I wouldn't suggest anyone drive up to Westminster just for it.

Ding How in Cockeysville has very good Singapore Rice Noodles. They could use a spicier curry, however.

Robert of Cross Keys - as a Singaporean transplanted to Bmore, trust me : there are no Singapore Noodles in Singapore. As someone mentioned, it's kind of blasphemy to us.

Chicken rice we have - and that comes with a whole bunch of condiments, including ginger, black soy sauce and a fantastic chilli sauce (like Siracha but spicier). The rice has to be boiled for ages to get the taste right as well.

There's a Ding How in Cockeysville? Is it related to the Ding How in Fells Point?

and you never hear people in China say,
"Hey, let's go out for Chinese food tonight"
"Nah, I had that for lunch"

Hal, there's a Ding How in Woodmoor too, on Liberty Road. It's where we used to get our Chinese take out when I was a kid living in Randallstown, & it's still there.

Noodles Corner in Columbia used to have awesome Singapore noodles but they have changed ownership and the quality has gone down hill. It is hard to find good ones though they are on my family schedule to make next week for Wednesday night dinner.

Noodles Corner in Columbia used to have awesome Singapore noodles but they have changed ownership and the quality has gone down hill. It is hard to find good ones though they are on my family schedule to make next week for Wednesday night dinner.

First Wok in Westminster OK? I'm with you RoCK: I wouldn't recommend you drive up there for it, even if you lived in Finksburg, or, say, Fowblesburg.
Also, more soundings from Zhongshan visitors: OK, but not worth a drive from, say, Little Italy.

"Like jl said, noodles with lots of stuff on them."

Oh, STUFF. That clears things up. Guess I'm just lazy that I think that explaining the item in question (that the author just discovered a week ago) might be a somewhat useful thing to include. Luckily, we did get a photo of them to help out...oh, wait...

Are Singapore Noodles as rare in Singapore as native Singaporians?

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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