Updated: May 31
The history of this dish started back in the 1930s by a Fujian (Hokkien) seaman. It was called Rochor Mee simply because he sold the dish along Rochor Road...so says the record in National Library Board of Singapore (Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodles). I don't think anyone will dispute it.
A good plate of Fried Hokkien Mee cannot be rushed. This is because the noodles need time to braise in the prawn and pork broth. This is where the skill of the chef comes in. He will need to know how to char the noodles to get the wok hei, mixed it well with garlic and egg. The last step of cooking the noodle is to drench it with the broth and give enough time for the noodles to soak up the seafood favour. Timing and experience are key here as one will need to know how not to overcook or undercook the noodle.
There is also a debate on which type of stove will make better noodles. Personally, I always give extra points for stalls using a charcoal stove. A charcoal stove will give the char and smokiness you simply cannot get from a gas stove.
Swee Guan Hokkien Mee
It has everything that makes a good Hokkien Mee. Tucked at the corner of Geylang Road and Geylang Lor 29. You can constantly see a long queue. You will see mountains of peeled prawns waiting to be added into wok after wok of noodles. Everyone waited patiently for their noodles even though it is not cheap. This is a stall that I am willing to part with $20 just to get a good enough potion for myself.
Geylang Lorong 29 Charcoal Fried Hokkien Mee
I have a love-hate relationship with this stall. On the one hand, they got popular because they serve a mean plate of Hokkien Mee. On the other, they seem to have inconsistency in the way they cooked it. Each time I went there, there is a different chef. Don't get me wrong, and it is still a good plate of noodles.
Chia Keng Hokkien Mee vs Hainan Hokkien Mee
The debate continues...Everyone seems to have their own take on this. There are 2 subtypes of Hokkien Mee. The wetter version and the dry version...but hey, whatever floats your boat :D
Kim Keat Hokkien Mee
To differentiate themselves, stall starts to be creative in the ingredients they used. There are the luxury versions which include lobster or crab, but I think the best is when they have crispy pork belly in the dish...LOL
YouFu Fried Hokkein Prawn Mee & 后港六条石 Hokkien Prawn Mee
Newcomers like YouFu Hokkien mee and new discovery like 后港六条石 Hokkien Prawn Mee pose serious competition to the old established stalls.
And, of course, to make the gastronomic journey complete, there will be a fusion version - Hokkien Vongole.