Monday, March 17, 2008

An Old Flame Surfaces

There lies a powerful taste that is deeply embedded within the human psyche. One that lies dormant till struck by a familiar scent, sight, sound or taste. It varies from individual to individual.

Oh yes, the taste of nostalgia.

I chanced upon this beef noodle stall in Tanglin Shopping Centre and its name just captured my heart. Not known to many, my love relationship with beef noodles began eons ago (when I was 1/3 my current height) at Orchard Emerald Food Court. It was there that I first fell in love with springy flour noodles drenched in a thick brown sauce topped with beef and beef balls.

Oh man. I guess first love is kinda hard to forget. And devastated I might have been when the food court went for a renovation and my beloved beef noodle stall went missing, I was glad to have found the one at Lavender.

Now would this stall which has been operating at Tanglin for the past three years be my first love?

For about $4 (sorry, the exact price slipped my mind), one gets the beef and beef ball option. As a personal preference, I opted for chor bee hoon and had it 'dry'. The gravy was nothing robust. Instead, it was not as gooey as some places and tasted rather light. Perhaps after years of eating the version at Lavender, my taste buds had gotten accustomed to the heavier, darker, gooe-ier and more intense tasting gravy.

But nonetheless, I found this bowl of beef noodles more than decent. The slices of beef were tender and the shredded salted vegetables added flavour to the light-tasting gravy. A pity the beef balls were pretty much just flour though.

What I felt was excellent here was the chili sauce. The balance of spiciness, acidity and tanginess made this so comforting to eat with the slices of beef. Add a bit of the chinchalok (fermented shrimp sauce) for that slight fermented punch.

So I think the Orchard Emerald Beef Noodle of old still beats this one. The name and, to a certain extent, the taste did give me a nostalgic shot but it fell short of the one embedded in my memory. Perhaps one thing cruel about nostalgia is that no matter how good the current one is, nothing seems like the good ol' version.

Orchard Emerald Beef Noodle
Tanglin Mall Food Court

Chew On This: The other one of my old flames that I am seeking is the beef noodle stall that used to be in Changi Airport canteen. Think the stall name was Sing Chew or something along that line. Anyone?


Yi Ling said...

heyhey, i dunno about the one at chngi airport, but the one at china square's very good! the beef balls have the right amt of chewiness and the meat's tender... but if u're keen, think u should quickly go though, the place is gonna close at the end of the month!! =S

Anonymous said...

Yes.. i remember Emerald..! i go there .. all the time.. just for beef noodles.. ;)

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, I remember the Orchard Emerald Food Court beef noodles...i ate many bowls of beef noodles there as a teenager because my school was just round the corner back then! Used to go there either before/after school.

Sonicstarburst said...


Could I make a quick correction on the address? It's actually in the Tanglin Mall Food Court.I used to eat only that when I worked in the building.

The Hungry Cow said...

yiLIng: China sq? Thought that place has become a desert! Haha. I'll try to squeeze time to try it before they close. Thanks for the tip.

mama bok: Cool! Another fan!

dimsumdolly: Wow, lucky you. Such a gem near your school. I would abandon the canteen if it was me.

Sonicstarburst: Hello! Thanks for visiting and for the correction. I've edited accordingly.

Peishan Y. said...

Re: china square, is it hock lam beef noodles? (:

Anonymous said...

If not wrong, the one in emarald have moved to somewhere near Queenstown.