The Hawker Series THE WANTON AFFAIR – steamy, saucy, sticky and QQ

Wanton.

Mention this word and both Caucasians and Asians go into a bit of a frenzy.

The Western Shame

123rf.com

For the Caucasian, that word provokes a Pavlovian response making their faces flush, their nether regions heave and their hearts race as they remember that steamy one night stand or forbidden fling against their better judgment.

Wanton

  1. sexually unrestrained or having many casual sexual relationships (typically used of a woman).
  2. “her cheeks burned as she recalled how forward she had been, how wanton
noun
  1. a sexually unrestrained woman.
  2. “she’d behaved like a wanton

verb

ARCHAICLITERARY
  1. play; frolic.
  2. “they sat gazing at the white-flecked pure blue sea and the various gulls that wantoned in the wake”
  3. behave in a sexually unrestrained way.
  4. “women who have wantoned with suitors”

Kobo.com

Imagine this setting.

One day at the water cooler in downtown Detroit:

Brad : Dude you look like shit ! Heavy night ?

Pitts: I can’t begin to tell you bro ! You know Mandy from accounting ?

Brad: That hot and saucy babe with the sassy hair ? You dog !!

Pitts: We went out last nite. Had a few drinks too many and Boom!

Brad: Dang !!! She wantoned with you ??!!!

Pitts: Hot saucy wanton !

Brad : Player !! Got QQ or not ???

QQ: Do the nasty

 

The Eastern Shame

http://www.timeout.com

Flickr

The Bonding Tool

For the Asian, that word provokes a Pavlovian response making their faces flush, their nether regions heave and their hearts race as they remember binging and slurping on that steamy bowl of wanton and having a second bowl against their better judgment.

Wonton

Wonton noodles (sometimes called wanton mee (“wanton” is a Cantonese word for dumpling while noodles in Hokkien is “mee” or in Cantonese, “min”) is a Cantonese dish.

The dish is popular in southern China, Hong Kong , Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

The dish is usually served in a hot broth, garnished with leafy vegetables, and wanton dumplings

Wikipedia

behance

One day at the water cooler in downtown Ang Mo Kio Singapore :

Jackson : Brudder (literally “Brother”) you looked damn stoned ! Heavy lunch ?

Beng: We went to chiong (literally we went for it )! You know Da Jie Wanton mee ?

Jackson : Bo Jio ( bitch ! why never invite ?)!! That hot and saucy wanton mee with the poon fey sow (literally half fat thin pork) blackish Malaysian Style char siew ? Wah Steady (right on)!!

Beng : Abuden (loosely translated “bookashaka“) !! Went with Ah Ter and Ah Kow (traditional delightful Singapore Chinese names ). Chiak Ka Peng (literally eat until collapse).

Jackson: Wah lao eh (Hot damn)!!! Got add extra wanton or not ?

Beng : Hot saucy wantons everywhere!

Jackson: Swee! (Dude!very nice!). Got QQ or not?

QQ: Springy and Al Dente

 

My Wanton expert witness

My knowledge of wanton mee is rather rudimentary so I enlisted the help of my good friend Doc (Adrian Tan but we call him Doc cos he is a doctor Duh), who is a wanton mee monster and extraordinaire.

Doc is the nicest and most popular guy on this earth – people gravitate towards him because of his gregarious and larger than life personality, his humility and kindness.

As a doctor, he has the most incredible bedside manners, knowledgeable and reassuring.

Hand on heart he is the only other guy ( the first one is dead the police are still talking to me ) I would allow to give me a rectal examination.

Doc promised me he wouldn’t giggle and wouldn’t try to be funny and say “so who’s your daddy, bitch” when I’m in the position and he’s got the finger up his subject.

Or crack lame jokes like

“Wait don’t move. I can feel two nodules which might be tumours. Oh, heh heh paiseh, I have gone too far up and was tickling your tonsils. Is that why you are coughing ?”

Hmm maybe on reflection better not.

Muffy is his 5th child .

He is the most needy, slobbering, adorable creature in the world . He is the type of dog who will plonk his huge behind on his owners when they are trying to have sex or trying to pray (both equally important).

Whenever anyone enters their house, Muffy would gallop over to get his hugs and won’t go away until he’s happy. Muffy will help the robber to pack the family silver and tie up grandma as long as he gets his hugs.

He is one of my favourite muse for thought provoking profound life hacks that needs to be articulated.

 

The Method

Doc and I resolved to do intensive research to give some profound insight about what makes a good wanton mee.

For this we needed to do diligent field studies.

One fine Saturday morning, we went to whack (literally consume with unashamed and wild abandoned gusto) a few plates of different wanton mee each.

As Doc says ” taste test mah” (literally the word mah means nothing it’s a singaporean sing song thing).

“Good things must share hor” (literally good things must share. The hor is superfluous. Sing song thingy)

The idea was to have this in depth and intensive culinary investigation. Then we would immediately congregate at his house to pen down our expert views and deep thoughts about the intricacies of this beloved dish.

And exchange unbridled and tense views no holds barred.

Friendships were going to be put to the test. Boundaries tested. There may be a whole lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But honest views and integrity will prevail over everything else :

” Let justice prevail though heavens may fall “

 

We went back to nap.

We tried again the next week.

And the same napping thing happened.

Ok we need to find a new method.

The New improved method

We whacked on Saturday.

Went back to nap.

Then met on Sunday to exchange views.

Only a doctor and a lawyer could think of such a brilliant solution.

The four things to look out for in a good wanton mee

 

Location. Location. Location. Location.

I jest.

We think it is

1. The char siew

2. The noodles

3. The sauce (including chilli)

4. The wanton

Wait – what about the green leafy vegetables? Don’t they matter in some way ?

Adrian: Bah!

Me: Bah!

Muffy: Woof! I mean Bah!

The Charsiew

misstamchiak.com

There are those who says that the char siew must be slightly dry and reddish to be considered for good wanton mee. These people will go to stalls like Engs and Nam Seng to get this style of Char Siew.

God will punish them.

Burpple

Ieatishootipost

 

The more right minded (ie not insane) and enlightened ones will look for slightly charred juicy and succulent char siew. These geniuses will go to places like Foong Kee, Lucky, Fei Fei, Koung’s.

 

Ieatishootipost

Ieatishootipost

Others will go to the extreme and join long queues at places like Zhong yu yuan Wei wonton noodle at Tiong Bahru Market because they serve their wanton noodles with the famous Bu Jian Tian (literally never see the sky) armpit cut of the pig, which is supposed to be most juicy and succulent.

Dude you had me at armpit.

The Noodles

For some reason, wanton mee connoisseurs pay close intimate attention to the noodles and for some, the noodles make or break the dish for them.

These connoisseurs are, and I mean it in the nicest and most respectful way possible, blithering idiots.

Why do I say that ? I have no idea – I’m just getting bored writing this article.

The texture of the noodles then becomes all important. And right off the block, how you rate the dish is skewed by whether you like a particular style of the noodles in the first place.

ieatishootipost

If you like the airy kind of noodles Hongkong style (which I do), you will like stalls like Hong Ji Mian Shi Jia which has thin, airy almost translucent noodles.

Burpple

Another stall I grew up with which boasts of producing the most airy springy noodles is called Joo Heng at Toa Payoh West Market & Food Center Blk 127 Lor 1 Toa Payoh#02-12 S310127.

I remember eating as a child and staring at the old man’s technique which produced truly airy noodles. And his noodles were green and he called it jade noodles.

It may just have been yesterday’s noodles that attracted fungus and turned green, and in a stroke of marketing genius, he called it jade noodles.

But I think the old man has passed on and the noodles are not quite as before. But this stall is still popular because of the QQness of its noodles.

Sethlui.com

Sethlui.com

The other type of noodles are the slightly chewy and thicker sort. I think the thickest I have seen in the market are those made by the two Eng’s noodles as shown in the pictures above.

I must confess I am not enamoured with this style of noodles but some people are.

Most stalls are in between these two extremes.

But whatever style the noodles, everyone is in agreement they have to be QQ.

What is QQ?

quickmeme

Amazingly, did you know that QQ is defined in the Michelin Guide as ” that delightful toothsome bounce “?

The guide goes on to explain how to achieve QQness in making the noodles.

So don’t play play (literally don’t f*%#* around ), our Asian penchant for QQness has some credible basis.

So how does one achieve QQness ?

My guess is first in the quality of the noodles supplied. And the second would be the skills in cooking the noodles.

You see the chefs blanching the noodles in hot water then transferring it to cold water then back to hot again?

And flicking their wrists such that the noodles gets tossed? I am guessing all that and the timing makes a difference.

Or the flicking of the wrist could just be him checking his watch to see when his relief worker is coming, cos he needs to pee.

Doc and I had the pleasure of dining with Ms Dajie herself Linda Heng recently, and she told us an interesting thing. She says the noodles need to be aired properly after delivery from the supplier for quite a few days and that this affects the texture of the noodles cooked.

When she cooks it, she will feel something is not right if it has not been aired properly. That’s skill and experience for you.

Exactly how many days does the noodles need to be aired and what day will the noodles be at its optimum to be cooked?

If we tell you she will kill us, and we would then need to rise from the dead and kill you.

It takes effort and we will be covered in mud.

So no.

The Sauce (including chilli)

 

Daniel’s food diary

Some of the the old school stalls tend to be devoid of sauce.

I just feel that if I eat the above dish I will turn into this guy.

 

So give me a good robust but balanced sauce – slightly syrupy with a hint of soy, oyster sauce and a whiff of sesame.

And don’t drown my wanton mee such that I have to bring my own straw.

And the chilli ? There are so many variations out there.

Funnily enough I do like my chilli old school style like Engs. But not it’s intensity.

I have no idea why Engs make their chilli the way they do when 97% of their patrons can’t heck it, and have to go for gastro colonoscopy after the meal.

Also, it makes your gonads retract and that is not normal.

No wonder so many men in Singapore are gonastically deficient. We used to think it was a Vitamin B deficiency but now we know better.

They either marry aggressive Cantonese women or go to Engs.

The Wantons

 

We think most stalls don’t get the wantons too wrong so we don’t think it usually makes or breaks the dish.

And really, we know you are getting all exacting and profound because you want to brag about having eaten at all the Kees in Wellington street HongKong in one sitting one afternoon (we have), but the point is those HK wantons are different and they take the centrestage of the dish

resituate.com

The singaporean version doesn’t.

I eat I shoot I post

Feel free to disagree though.

But we don’t intend to go too much into it because we are good looking and have a life.

Actually it’s more because food coma is setting in.

It’s Saturday and we need to nap.

The final assessment

So how do you decide whether the wanton mee you have tried is worthy ?

And what should you do based on the assessment?

Doc and I think that when you go try wanton mee, you should use this super developed taste barometer (patent pending) but we will let you have it for $3888 and a box of biscuits (for Muffy).

There are four elements above.

You ask yourself how many of the four elements are satisfied by the wanton mee you have just eaten.

1. Only one – unacceptable. Throw a hissy fit and overturn a few tables before you leave.

2. Two satisfied – ok be cool. Finish your meal calmly. Try to find some redeeming features. Look around for chio bu (literally hot girl) to feast your eyes and improve your mood.

3. Three satisfied – pose, take selfie and instagram immediately showing that you have permed your hair and had good wanton mee.

Pose with a cute kawaii sign and special effects hearts to signify how happy you are.

Order a second bowl to be sure of the results. Pose and selfie again and this time change your hairstyle.

4. Four elements Satisfied – Find the stall owner and have his baby. Immediately.

Do NOT post anything on social media.

Then quietly PM Doc and I the address of this location.

 

Suggested places for Wanton mee in Singapore

You know the drill.

Don’t go into a hissy fit if you disagree with this list.

Write your own article or send enough money to persuade us to include your suggested names in our list.

It’s $ 119.97 ie $39.99 x 3 (Muffy wants a cut too to buy biscuits)

In no particular order and no order of merit :

1. Koung’s Wan Tan Mee

205 Geylang Lorong 21A ( Sims Avenue)

2. Fei Fei Roasted Noodle

Yuhua Village Food Center stall 28, 254 Jurong East Street 24 S 600254

3. Tanjong Rhu Wanton Noodle

4 Jalan Batu, S432004

4. Foong Kee

6 Keong Saik road S 089114

5. 6th Ave Wanton Mee

24 Sixth Ave, Good Good Eating House S 276481

6. Eng’s Char Siew Wantan Mee

248 Tanjong Katong Tzi Road Singapore

7. Lucky wanton noodle

Blk 6 Tanjong Pagar road, Tanjong Pagar plaza market &!food Center #02-32

8. Kok Kee wanton mee (Ex Lavender)

30 Foch Road S209276

 9. Lok Ji Roasted Delight

Blk 18 Toh Yi Drive S 590018

10. (Doc and I are leaving this space empty to mourn the closure of his favourite wanton mee stall Da jie wanton mee which used to be at 209 Jalan Besar. And waiting with bated breath to fill in this space should they ever reopen)

Do tell us which stall you like after you have read this article.

I lied.

Doc and I have no life.

But don’t write to us on Sat .

Cos we nap duh.

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