Tai Wah Pork Noodle has Michelin-approved BCM
The tale of two bak chor mee (BCM) stalls in Singapore is a familiar one with most locals, and one that might confound others—Tai Wah Pork Noodle has 13 stalls across the island, while Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, even today, remains as a single stall on Crawford Lane, albeit with separate dine-in and takeaway counters.
Image credit: Tai Wah Pork Noodle
The story behind these two BCM stalls starts with Mr Tang Joon Teo, who settled down in Singapore after migrating to the region from Southern China. He started hawking his minced pork noodles from a cart in the 1930s, before he started Tai Wah Teochew Minced Pork Noodles in 1939—which could be found in Taiwah Coffee Shop on Hill Street.
Whether you eat the bak chor mee from one of the branches or the one-Michelin-starred stall on Crawford Lane, the essence of the recipe is the same one that the old Mr Tang came up with. This recipe was picked up by his sons, who had started helping out at his stall from the time they were kids.
Eventually, his second son took over his stall, while the youngest, Mr Tang Chai Chye, ran High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodle—his son, Gerald, eventually debuted Tai Wah Pork Noodle in Hong Lim Food Centre when his father retired in 2004. They then won Michelin recognition in the form of a Michelin Bib Gourmand award, which they’ve held on to date.
The bowls of BCM start from $5 for a bowl of Pork Noodle at any of the branches islandwide, though it’s recommended that you go for Signature Tai Wah Pork Noodle ($9) for the full experience. You can expect to find minced and sliced pork, meatballs, liver, wonton, crisp pork lard, and fried ti poh, AKA sole fish, which brings that extra oomph of umami. If you’re dining at the OG Hong Lim stall, there’s only one option in three sizes: $6, $8, or $10.
If you’ve never had the BCM from either of these spots, we definitely suggest getting it dry, with chilli, and your choice of noodles—the most common being mee pok, or flat egg noodles. We had the BCM from both Tai Wah and Tai Hwa one after the other when we ranked our top 10 bowls of bak chor mee in Singapore, and we found subtle but perceptible differences between the two—most particularly in the sauce mix that the noodles are tossed in.
There’s no doubt about it: Singaporeans love our hawker food and zi char. We polled Singaporeans to find out if they preferred steamed or roasted chicken rice, and discovered that chilli crab reigns supreme indeed in our hearts.
Feature image adapted from Tai Wah Pork Noodle