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  • Writer's pictureAlan Ho

Must-try Wanton Mee and Claypot Rice at Deng Wen Ji at East Village

SINGAPORE: Wanton Mee is one of the top favourites for anyone in Singapore. We started searching for the best wanton mee in Singapore and it led us to discover Eng's wanton mee. Any wanton mee lover will know the colourful back story of Eng's and its link with Dunman Road Char Siew Wanton Mee. So, this is when we discovered Eng's Wanton Mee and Claypot Rice located in East Village at Simpang Bedok that specialises i Wanton Noodles and Claypot Rice.

A few months back, Eng's Wanton Mee and Claypot Rice rebranded to Deng Wen Ji, making it more like a Zi Char stall than a noodles stall. Critics might ask what is so special about this place. I would reply when is the last time you see a Zi Char stall that sells wanton mee and claypot rice, not to mention it is Eng's Wanton Mee.

After speaking to the owner, we understand they used to franchise from the "White" Eng's. However, they have dropped the name due to the legal tussle between the "white" Eng's and the "green" Eng's. However, they still serve similar noodles and the bombastic chilli sauce with their own enhancements. At Deng Wen Ji, their Wanton Mee (S$4.5) comes with in-house made char siew, smokey and sweet; plump wanton, meaty and juicy; and crispy pork lard which they made themselves too. If you like Eng's, you will like this enhanced version.

You can also get the boiled wanton separately at S$4/S$5. It is tossed in fragrant sauce and served with char siew and some greens.

The other dish you got to try is the Claypot Rice (S$13/S$23). The guy, Ah Ching, behind this excellent dish is the ex-chef for Geylang Claypot Rice for two decades! Despite cooking this dish for so long, he keeps improving on it. I still recall when I first had this more than a year ago, broken rice was used. We did give feedback and when we went back last month, we were surprised by how much it has improved. Now they use full grain rice for the dish. This is comparable to claypot from Chinatown, Holland Drive and Serangoon.

To our surprise, we found out that a friend of ours has been helping out at Deng Wen Ji. Even though we have seen the prawn noodles listed on the menu, we were never compelled to try it until our friend insisted we try the soup. He brought us a tasting bowl and the rest is history! The Prawn Mee with Pork Ribs (S$6) comes with a bowl of thick umami soup. In fact, it was so good that we got distracted from the noodles and we requested for more. The noodle comes with succulent prawns, sliced lean pork and pork ribs. This is not the usual bland tasting pork ribs. Judging from the colour, we guess this is braised in soy. To top this off, the noodle is covered with a lot of fried shallot and pork lard. This is a gem in this Zi Char Restaurant.

Prawn Mee with Pork Ribs
Prawn Mee with Pork Ribs

The other dish our friend recommended is the Bitter Gourd Bee Hoon (S$18). The mention of the bitter gourd will put a lot of people off, but trust us, this is nowhere near what you would imagine how it will taste like. There is no bitterness in the bee hoon at all. The wok hei is completely soaked and absorbed into the bee hoon. It is gooey, yet not too wet. This plate of fried bee hoon comes with three mid-size succulent prawns and five or six scallops.

We also had the Pig Stomach Soup (S$20). It is good, but we do this is ordinary.

Pig Stomach Soup
Pig Stomach Soup

We have been back a few times and we will be back to try other noodles and dishes.

Address: 430 Upper Changi Rd, #01-09 East Village, Singapore 487048


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