Do you know that one of the most underrated yet most loved, most sought-after made-in-Singapore comfort dish is bak chor mee?
Bak chor mee, like the way it is prepared and eaten in Singapore, is not found elsewhere in the world, not even in neighboring Malaysia. Bak chor mee truly earns its place as being a uniquely Singapore dish.
Mee pok = bak chor mee?
Strictly-speaking, the term, mee pok simply refers to the noodle type: a yellow flat noodle made from wheat floor. [insert pic]. In Singapore, it is common to hear people say, this is the famous mee pok stall (literally this is the famous noodle stall). Bak chor mee refers to a type of noodle dish that is served with pork. Bak chor mee literally means minced meat noodles in Hokkien. Sometimes, the English name is mushroom minced meat noodles. The other popular version of noodles served is the fishball variety. The traditional noodle type used in bak chor mee is the thin variety, also known as mee kia. In most stalls in Singapore, you can ask for the type of noodles you prefer.
It is said that the origin of bak chor mee started as a soup-based noodle: thin yellow noodles served in a hearty pork-based soup. While the soup version of bak chor mee remains a top favorite among the locals, the newer “dry” version has rightfully earned its own reputation as one of Singapore’s unique dishes.
The ingredients used in bak chor mee are simple yet the combination is so satisfying. The noodles are made from wheat flour. The noodles are tossed in a vinegar/chili base sauce, and served with minced meat, pork and liver slices, fish and meat balls, and garnished with pork lard, spring onions and lettuce. Some variations come with prawns, dumplings (her jiao), and dried solefish (tee po).
Enjoyed in So Many Differing Ways
Ask any local in Singapore and they will be happy to share with you their favorite version of bak chor mee. Some prefer the soup versions, some prefer rice-based noodles like kway teow or mee tai mak. Others debate passionately whether the addition of chili masks or enhances the taste of bak chor mee (yes lots of it; no, none of it, or just a bit of it).Then there are those who just love the bak chor mee varieties as it means they can enjoy bak chor mee on different days in different ways.
Hence for the uninitiated, the “standard” order for a bowl of bak chor mee the way you want it has a certain formula to follow. Miss out specifying one of the components, and you might end up with the “default” bak chor mee that the person preparing it has in mind for you. Your order would go something like this:
- Dish type: bak chor (or fishball)
- Ta or Teng (dry or soup)
- If dry – hiam or tampo hiam or mai hiam (chili or less chili or no chili)
- Noodle type (mee pok, mee kia, mee sua, kway teow, mee tai mak).
- Special requests (no pork lard or oil, more vinegar, no spring onions, etc)
With so many ways to enjoy bak chor mee – which and where to find the best bak chor mee?
The best kind of bak chor mee is one that achieves the right balance and proportion of the ingredients: the noodles, the sauce, the meat component, the fish and meat balls, the pork lard and garnishing such as spring onions and lettuce.
It is not difficult to find a stall serving bak chor mee in a hawker centre or a coffee shop in Singapore. But it is another thing altogether to find a bak chor mee that you will have cravings that will make you go back (repeatedly) for more of, queue up for, and travel distances to get to…
The Story of Ming Fa Bak Chor Mee
Ming Fa’s history goes back to 1946, where fishballs were sold from a pushcart along the streets of Chinatown. Ming Fa’s founder, Lim Chye Kang, insisted that fishballs were to be made from 100% fish meat, and that they were to be made and sold fresh on the spot. His handmade fishballs were extremely popular, and Ming Fa’s business grew from strength to strength. In 1974, his son, Lim Gek Meng, took over the business. In keeping to his father’s traditions, Ming Fa opened its own fish and meat ball factory plant in 1994 so that more customers can enjoy consistently fresh and quality fish and meat balls.
In 2004, Ming Fa started their first eating house in Thomson, serving up much loved Singapore dishes such as bak chor mee, laksa and fishball noodles that features their signature daily-made fish and meat balls. Since then, thanks to the strong support of their regulars and an ever-growing customer base, Ming Fa has expanded to 11 outlets located throughout Singapore. Their business is now run by three generation of the Lim family.
What makes people keep coming back for Ming Fa bak chor mee?
The secret lies in the careful preparation and combination of each the ingredients.
The fish and meat balls served in our bak chor mee comes from our own factory. We use fresh pork and fish to make our fish and meat balls daily. We use a special technique to braise our mushrooms, and toss our noodles in a special secret recipe sauce that gives our bak chor mee the “kick”. Our sliced pork and liver are delivered fresh to each of our outlets, together with our in-house sauce and noodles.
We select and work with trained chefs to recreate this mouthwatering dish for our customers day after day, bowl after bowl.
It starts with the careful preparation of the noodles – springy, al dente noodle texture that is free from the smell of kee (the alkali in the noodles). The al dente noodles are important as when prepared correctly, they pick up the right amount of sauce. The noodles is then tossed with our fragrant sauce, and layered with carefully-minced pork bits and just-cooked pork and liver slices. We pay close attention to the preparation time for the “bak” in bak chor mee. Perfectly-cooked liver needs to be totally cooked on the outside but a little pink on the inside for that perfectly tender texture). Next comes the laying of finely-sliced braised unmami mushrooms that releases its woody flavor slowly in your mouth. Finally, the addition of crispy bits of pork lard for that crunchy burst of flavor, to balance the chopped fresh spring onion and lettuce leaves. Lining the bowl are our signature meatballs. Served with a bowl of steaming robust minced meat soup topped with seaweed and spring onions, it is no surprise Ming Fa’s bak chor mee is recognized as one of Singapore’s best.
As featured in the Straits Times, Lianhe Wanbao and on famous food blogs like Hungry Go Where, So Shiok and Seth Lui
Available Night and Day, Everyday
Good news for the bak chor mee lovers!
The Ming Fa at our flagship outlet at Thomson is open daily for practically 24 hours (operating hours is 9am to 5am). This is where it all began. 3pm or 3am, people from all over come to this stall for our famous bak chor mee.
For the early morning bak chor mee lovers, the Ming Fa at Jalan Rumah Tinggi opens at 730am. And for those looking for a meal after 9pm, the Ming Fa at Simpang Bedok closes at 11pm.
In the tradition of our founder, we believe that great bak chor mee can be enjoyed night and day, every day, and you don’t have to be restricted to just one location to enjoy our loved bak chor mee! Office workers in Chinatown can head down to our outlet in People’s Park, and those closer to the CDB area can enjoy our bak chor mee in Golden Shoe (Market Street Food Centre). Head down to the Ming Fa closest to you now to enjoy your bak chor mee!
MING FA @ CHAI CHEE
Blk 26A Chai Chee Road
MING FA @ CHINATOWN
Blk 335 Smith Street
MING FA @ GOLDEN SHOE
50 Market Street #03-34
Market Street Food Centre
MING FA @ HOLLAND VILLAGE
Holland Road Market
1 Lorong Mambong, #01-14
MING FA @ JALAN RUMAH TINGGI
Blk 37 Jalan Rumah Tinggi
MING FA @ PEOPLE’S PARK
Blk 32 New Market Road
MING FA @ SIMPANG BEDOK
328 Bedok Road
Bedok Shopping Complex
MING FA @ RAFFLES PLACE FOOD COURT
MING FA @ TEKKA CENTRE
665 Buffalo Road
MING FA @ UPPER BOON KENG MARKET
17 Upper Boon Keng Road
MING FA @ UPPER THOMSON ROAD
246b Upper Thomson Road
Thomson Garden Estate
As a heritage brand offering Chinese traditional food to the world, we know what it takes to run a successful franchise to offer the best to our customers. We seek to grow Ming Fa internationally by offering franchisee opportunity to like-minded entrepreneurs. We are looking for ethical business partners who are passionate and who can demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment in being part of our business expansion in local and overseas markets. Contact us here for more information about the franchising opportunities available.