There are plenty of options when dining out. Even more so when you are at Orchard Road – steaks, sushi, dim sum, salads and what have you. And then there is your fine dining, buffet and all the extravagant choices. But where do you go to when you are craving an honest Chinese meal that is unpretentious, satisfying and affordable?
Our recent lunch at Noodle Stories by TungLok Group gave us an answer, and has earned a spot in our ever-popular guide to Inexpensive Restaurants in Singapore. And it is by no surprise, because this new outlet at Orchard Central is well-loved by executives and shoppers in the area who always swing by when they need an easy Chinese meal.
We had a feast, and we really did not know how to pick just one favourite. The use of fresh ingredients in every dish made it such a stupendous meal, and we left with very happy tummies. Today, we share with you some highlights of our lunch, and do not be surprised if you bump into us at Noodle Stories, because we will definitely return for more yum for the tum.
‘Biang Biang’ Noodles (S$10.80)
The most impressive dish is also the restaurant’s signature dish – the ‘Biang Biang’ Noodles. In case you are about to reach for your dictionary, the name is really just an expression for a loud bang. Nothing much, the chef just wants you to know he hand-makes every strip of noodles fresh from scratch, and you can watch how much power goes in flipping and shaping the dough. The end result is broad, flat noodles that comes with a chewy texture and the distinct aroma of fresh flour. This Shaanxi-originated dish is cooked with an ancient recipe, and served with blanched vegetables and an hanjuku egg, or better known as the Japanese ramen egg.
A little fun fact: the Chinese character ‘Biang’ is the most complicated one ever, made up of a grand total of 57 strokes. We tried writing, but would very much prefer eating another bowl of noodles.
‘Zhajiang’ Noodles (S$8)
This is definitely another crowd pleaser. We have been to many Asian countries, and they all have their own versions of this popular noodle dish. We still love the northern style, and this is exactly what Noodles Stories dishes out on its all-day dining menu. The next time you are in town and you need your Zhajiang Noodles fix, you can count on Noodle Stories for a hearty bowl of wheat noodles topped with stir-fried pork with ‘zhajiang’ – salty fermented soybean paste.
Noodles with Onion Oil and Pan-fried Shredded Duck (S$10.80)
When a dish is bestowed with the most normal of names, we do not think too much about it, neither do we expect it to be anything out of the universe. But you know what they say about ‘do not judge a book by its cover’, yes? Because exemptions do exist, like this dish. We love how the thin and toothsome noodles are tossed in fragrant onion oil, and lavishly topped with crisp onions and perfectly pan-fried shredded duck. Now, we understand why it does not even need a spectacular name.
Eight Treasures Seafood Crispy Noodle (S$11.90)
In other words, an abundance of goodness in a bowl. The Eight Treasures Seafood Crispy Noodle comes in a wholesome portion with eight different types of ingredients to make this dish a multi-dimensional one with a spectrum of textures to boast. The portion is so generous that we would suggest getting this to share between two people so that you have room for more appetisers.
Fried Rice with Shrimp and Egg (S$10.80)
Sometimes, the simplest dish touches the hearts most. And this is one of those dishes that we can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every grain of rice is plump, every shrimp has a crystal-like texture; and together, they are tossed over high heat with eggs. Just like a meal at Granny’s, savouring this dish in the casual Noodle Stories’ setting speaks of a comforting and unadulterated joy.
Pork and Cabbage Pan-fried ‘Jiaozi’ (S$6 for 4 pcs)
Better known as ‘guo tie’, Noodle Stories’ rendition of this highly popular Northern Chinese dish is sure to wow its crowd. Every dumpling is handmade fresh daily, and pan-fried to a lovely golden brown – crispy on the outside, warm and luscious on the inside. Fresh minced pork that bursts with sweetness, alongside finely chopped cabbage, this is a must-try dish.
Here’s letting you in on a secret – if you go on Mondays, you enjoy a serving of either the steamed or pan-fried dumplings at only S$2++ (promotion is ongoing from now till 30 September 2014). You are very welcome.
Pork and Cabbage Dumplings (S$8 for 10 pcs)
And this is the steamed version if you prefer something lighter on the tummy. We love the crystal skin and how the healthy cooking technique enhances the sweetness of the fresh ingredients.
Pan-fried Meat Buns (S$6 for 4 pcs)
Remember how we really couldn’t decide on just one favourite? Because everything we tried was memorable in its own way, and so are these Pan-fried Meat Buns. Neatly pleated buns that are usually dipped in black rice vinegar or chili sauce, this is yet another astounding pan-fried dish that you must not miss out on when dining at Noodle Stories. The buns came with a perfect crispy bottom, and before we knew it, the plate was emptied and everyone was sinking their teeth in to the soft and fluffy buns.
Wanton with Black Vinegar and Chilli Oil (S$6 for 6 pcs)
Its Sichuan origin explains the kick you get from this spicy dish. Big dumplings filled with chopped shoulder pork, minced fresh garlic and rice wine, tossed in a flavoursome sauce that combines black vinegar, chili oil, Sichuan peppercorn and finely sliced spring onions. This dish is more widely known as the ‘chao shou’, and Noodle Stories deserves an award for their version.
Red Bean Pancake (S$6)
Who says you cannot have the best of both worlds? If you are not able to decide between savoury and sweet, why not go for the Red Bean Pancake? Its popularity is derived from the lethal combination of sweet red bean paste enveloped in pan-fried dough sheets, topped with white sesame seeds. We love ours with just the right degree of oiliness that does not leave us feeling sick and thirsty, and this is exactly why when we next return to Noodle Stories, we will end our meal with this dish.
181 Orchard Road
#07-14/15 Orchard Central
Tel: +65 6509 1878
Mon to Fri: 10.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 10.30am – 10.30pm
Nearest Station: Somerset
This post is brought to you by TungLok Group.