Published on Thursday, 12 January 2017 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
Marrying old traditions with new trends has never been an easy feat. However, WANTON, a noodle bar on Amoy Street, has managed to find that perfect balance of old-time deliciousness with a new superior spin.
When it comes to food, the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", goes right out the window. Chefs build their careers on reinventing and enhancing recipes for the ultimate transcendence of gastronomical pleasure.
Incorporating old and new elements to the classic and well-loved wanton noodles, WANTON has its humble origins as Seng’s Wanton Mee of Dunman Food Centre that started up in 1968. With almost five decades worth of experience under its belt, the home-grown recipe is constantly under development, keeping up with time and the constantly evolving Singaporean tastebuds in the pursuit of the perfect bowl of wanton mee.
Since its conceptualization back in the late 60s, WANTON has moved on and up into a chic little shophouse along Amoy Street. Sophisticatedly decked out in black and white hues with a long wooden bar countertop spanning across almost the entire length of the petite restaurant that comfortably seats 28.
Diners seated at the bar get to view the preparation of their dishes as the chefs demonstrate their culinary techniques. This open concept and fully transparent dining experience is a nod to its hawker roots where customers lining up get to watch the hawker cook up their favorite bowl of wanton noodles in his tiny little booth.
WANTON believes that a humble bowl of noodles when crafted with pride can stand up to today’s ever-fickle trends. Every bowl is touted to be filled with the assurance of comfort and satisfaction, tried-and-tested through decades of hard work and artistry. Every strand signals generations of altruism with a hint of defiance on the side. WANTON makes noodles for the people.
A bowl of handmade springy egg noodles stretched fine and thin is dressed in oil and fried scallions. This deconstructed bowl of noodles is served only at $1 on its night-time menu. Season your noodles the way you like it with the sauces, chili and deep-fried pork lard thoughtfully situated along the bar. The noodles are extremely bouncy with a nice al-dente bite that gives it some texture. A serving of noodles tends to lean towards the smaller side, but then again at just $1, you could always afford to order more should you possess a heartier appetite. While this bowl of noodles is good on its own, of course it is better if paired with some of WANTON's signature side dishes.
Gangster Baby Kailan, $10
Baby kailan is first boiled and quickly blanched in ice water before being sautéed with oyster sauce, chicken stock and WANTON's signature gangster sauce which is a slow-cooked braising sauce that consists of scallops, mushrooms and pork bones. The vegetables are buttery, garlicky, savory and subtly sweet with a fresh green taste and a crunchy bite.
Aburi Pork Belly, $13
The aburi pork belly is definitely a must try along with your bowl of wanton noodles. This dish is WANTON's version of char siew with a delicious atas twist. Premium pork belly is simmered for 18 hours at a consistent temperature of 70 degrees celsius in a secret char siew marination, it is then coated with a syrupy char siew glaze and blowtorched so that the meat and its sauces caramelize and meld together. Your teeth will cut through the pork as easily as a knife to butter thanks to its high fat content and the long arduous cooking process. The tender and succulent meat melts to a viscous consistency in your mouth imbued with the sweet sauce, perfectly balanced out by the smoky flavor of the slightly charred parts.
Almost Drunk Pork Belly, $13
Braised for over 12 hours in a herbal broth with Asian spices and herbs, it is then refrigerated and served chilled, drenched with a light and savory sauce made of ginger, soy sauce, garlic and Chinese wine. The dish is light and refreshing and perfect for a hot and humid day. The pork is savory from being infused in the delicate sauce and tender and juicy with a springy texture.
Stir Fried Dry Bak Kut Teh, $16
The flavors of this dry bak kut teh has been condensed together and is more pronounced and big on taste. Baby-back pork ribs are slow cooked for at least 18 hours with the common herbs used in the traditional bak kut teh – peppers, garlic, and various Asian spices. The ribs are then sautéed in dark soy sauce with lady fingers, dried cuttlefish and dried szechuan chili. The meat falls right off the bone with a simple tug and is sticky, sweet and slightly spicy which aids in profiling the umami goodness of all its combined flavors.
Batalong Eggs, $10
WANTON revamped scotch eggs, naming them after a local road in Singapore – Jalan Batalong. A half boiled egg is enveloped within oriental spiced minced pork, coated in egg and flour before it is rolled in Japanese breadcrumbs and carefully lowered into a deep-fryer. It is then cut lengthwise into quarters and laid out in full bloom for you to ascertain that the yolk is in its intended golden molten perfection. The exterior of the porky crust is crispy and deliciously seasoned, wonderfully contrasting with the rich and runny yolk.
Crispy Soft Poached Eggs, $10
This has got to be one of the most innovative egg cooking techniques we have ever come across! Two eggs are poached in a vat of vegetable oil so that the edge of the egg white crisps up while the outer layer of the yolk forms a thin membrane encapsulating the molten, gooey liquid within. The yolk bursts forth like a river through a breaking dam with a light prick, oozing its thick, luscious yolk juices everywhere, adding a touch of richness. A small pile of mango salad is served on top of the egg which gives a refreshing sweet zing and a hint of spice to the dish.
Salted Duck Egg Chicken Wings, $10
Though they are drenched in a thick, sumptuous and gooey salted egg yolk sauce, the deep-fried chicken wings still remain crispy yet juicy on the inside. The chili padi is infused with the sauce which gives it just a little kick without being too spicy, and each wing is thorough coated with the eggy sauce for maximum creamy pleasure with a crunch.
Address: 52 Amoy Street, Singapore 069878
Opening Hours: Lunch Menu: 11.30am – 2.30pm Weekdays (Walk-in Only), Dinner: 6.00pm - 10.00pm (Mon - Thu), 6pm - 11pm (Fri & Sat)
Tel. No.: +65 6221 1336