Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mee Tarik!

Lan Zhou La Mian
No 19, Smith Street, Singapore 058933
Tel: 6327 1286
Opened Everyday

Ever since the last time I ate a really good Zha Jiang Mian (Chinese Version of Spaghetti Bolognese) at the old Marina Square food court, I have not been able to find one that matches in terms of taste and authenticity. Not until I was recommended to try Lan Zhou La Mian for its fresh noodles and great taste. The opportunity came when a visiting chef colleague from Italy was in town. After his presentation on making fresh pasta; we took him down to this place to show him our Chinese equivalent. Lan Zhou La Mian is run by Chef Wong Seng Wai,whom some of you may recognized him as the chef in some local ads for credit cards dinning privileges. I was impressed with not only by his demo skills on hand pulling the noodles, I was also captivated by two noodle dishes that he provided for sampling. Chef Wong also explain how the noodles had to be pulled with equal amounts of strengths onboth shoulder and arm muscles. I took my wife, N, down on the following Saturday to checkout more items on Chef Wong’s menu. This time round we had two kinds of noodles, Zha Jiang Mian and Hokkien Fried Prawn Mee, both using freshly made wheat noodles, Potstickers and Chicken Chop with Plum Chili Sauce.

There are many versions of Zha Jiang Mian available in Singapore and most are crappy with no idea what an original should be. Some horror stories include using mixed frozen vegetables to bulk up the volume of the sauce in order to offset the cost of using more minced pork. Other times, there was no character in the sauce, no pungency of fermented beans and chilies, just colour. When Chef Wong’s version came out, I recognized it instantly as similar to the one I had at the old Marina Square food court. The sauce had the right colour and a nice glossy shine. With the freshly made noodles cooked to perfection and a good sauce made with fermented beans, minced pork and chilies, the simple topping of finely shredded cucumber completed the whole picture.

A whiff of “wok hei” greeted us when the Hokkien Fried Prawn Noodles came. N was totally floored by this dish especially when she ate fried prawn noodles with “wok hei” for the first time. The dish was well executed with precise handling of the noodles in the wok and the accompanying ingredients. Fresh prawns, lots of scrambled eggs and garlic chives made this dish really wonderful that N was tempting to order a second round if we weren't going to have desserts later. The potstickers were slightly smaller than the regular ones but the quality was in terms not any less good. The pastry was nicely done with a juicy filling and a fragrance of garlic chives. In fact they were one of the juiciest potstickers that I have had.

The Chicken Chops with Plum Chili Sauce was nothing to shout about and was over fried too. Nevertheless, the first three items had already won us over and next time we will know better what to order. I have heard that their Xiao Long Baos are excellent too!

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