Who gets excited about Liver besides Hannibal Lecter ?
Yes when one thinks of Silence of the Lambs, one thinks of Dr Hannibal Lecter smacking his lips while feasting on his Victim’s fatty liver.
When I think of liver nowadays, I think only of Mui Siong.
Ever since I discovered Mui Siong Minced meat noodles with some friends, that has been pretty much the gold standard for us in terms of Mee pok where they serve liver in their dish.
Mui Siong has clearly hired Hannibal Lecter as their consultant in picking the most luscious, soft and powdery lip smacking liver every day, and cutting it surgically into thick slices so that you have a firm bite with every mouthful.
It really wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that they have perfected it into an art form.
I must confess that I stumbled on to Mui Siong out of sheer providence one fine day.
I was introduced to the famous Johore road porridge which was next to Mui Siong in the Coffeeshop at Veerasamy Road.
The wait for that porridge averaged 30 mins to an hour.
While impatiently waiting for the porridge on a particularly bad queue day, I noticed that there was a Mee pok stall next to it.
And out of sheer starvation, I just ordered a bowl of mee pok without even bothering what the ingredients were.
Their signboard was interesting to say the very least.
There were no pictures. It was cheery yellow but with their name written in an interesting font.
Almost like saying “….there is no need for pictures. You will remember my name ……”
When I picked up my order of dry mee pok after a 15 minutes wait (they had a number electronic tag beeping system), I almost yelped in delight when I saw the thick pieces of liver languishing lazily and seductively in the soup.
What manner of voodoo is this ?
How does the stall owner know what my favourite ingredient is and how sexily fat are those slices ?
It was the thickest cut I have seen anywhere in my wretched life at any commercial stall.
The moment of epiphany
I bit into the liver and there was an epiphany moment.
This was no ordinary liver.
It was firm to the bite but yet soft and powdery at the same time. There was no strong porky smell, just a gentle hint of porcine goodness.
You could never get a decent slice of liver at other places – they were usually thin, dry and sometimes flavour-less. But here I was, chomping through a mouthful of delectable, delicious liver.
I felt like Hannibal Lecter.
But I had no Chianti and had to make do with my Heaven and Earth Ayatoka drink.
And that soup was delicious. Tasty minced pork was making the rounds in the soup.
I picked up a piece of the sliced pork – looked like pork loin, and bit into it. Surprisingly tender.
I moved on to the slices of fish cake and the fishballs. Ok it did not wow me and it was ordinary. The fishballs felt a little floury.
The noodles ? Done well and al dente. Chilli was fragrant and umami.
But nothing else really mattered.
This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
That liver and I exchanged numbers and I promised to call.
Then Covid struck.
The Love Affair
I went back the moment Lockdown was lifted.
I was to visit that liver almost once a week. Every time I felt that I had enough, I went back for more.
Like an affair that you couldn’t end.
I tell you what that liver did to me. I stopped eating that famous porridge completely and switched to Mui Siong.
I had to choose.
The Cult Following
A growing group of us have become worshippers of the liver.
My doctor friends CY and YL have struck up a friendship with the stall owners when CY, who is Foochow, discovered that the stall owners were Foochow as well.
My food guru Benny See Teo went there and proclaimed it to be “life changing”.
It was like the Liver Universe and it’s followers have been summoned to unite and congregate.
Ce La Vi
It looks like our hope that Mui Siong remains our small deep dark secret amongst a small select group of friends is not going to happen.
The Universe has other ideas.
Just last week , Ce La Vi (previously Ku De Ta restaurant) at Marina Bay Sands held a weekend Hawker Event and guess who they showcased ?
It’s like God saying to us don’t be selfish – Good things must share.
I was contacted by CY and YL today to say would I like to meet them at Mui Siong with 2 other friends.
We met there after the lunch hour and got our food at Mui Siong about 2pm.
Someone brought sliced abalone which would make Mui Siong even more decadent.
We also ordered the Victor Chicken wings ( formerly Carona Chicken) at another stall nearby.
But it was still the liver that was the star of the show.
The Chef owner at Mui Siong was kind enough to swing by to speak to us after the stall had closed about 230 pm.
Justin Tan now runs the stall with his two sisters. Justin, an affable man and obviously passionate and proud of their food, told us that they had taken over the stall from their mother who had opened up the business years ago.
He shared that they were grateful for the support from their regulars, especially during this covid period when they were intially anxious but pleasantly surprised to see their business being quite stable during the covid period.
After our salutations about the high quality of their liver in particular and the delicious offerings overall from their food, I asked him point blank what made his liver so special.
It’s basically HMT.
First, it’s the fact that they painstakingly Hand cut their liver as well as their pork slices. Justin believes that if they resorted to machine cutting their liver to save time, it would completely change the taste of their liver and the pork.
M stands for marinade. I cheekily asked Justin if he would share how he marinated his liver to render it odourless and so tasty. He smiled and said its their trade secret. But he confirmed that yes, the marinade plays a significant part in how the liver turns out.
Finally, it is the timing in which he cooks the liver, the sliced and minced pork that made the world of difference. This explains the texture and consistency of his dish.
Justin shared that in recent times, he was lucky to have a few people blog about his food and this has seen an increase in his business and new customers coming to his stall.
That’s what I was afraid of.
There’s a Cantonese saying about scoring an own goal or doing something to spite yourself.
All I can say is that it involves more colourful language and has three components – catching a worm, insertion and the gluteus maximus.
Which is probably why it took me 9 months to blog about this liver affair. But I have enjoyed Mui Siong for 9 months now and it is time to share.
But remember, if you are going to extend my queue after reading this blog and stand in front of me, I am going to lean forward and whisper the code word “HMT”.
When you hear that, please stand aside and let me through.
Or I could always rip off my mask and cough violently.
Don’t get in the way of Hannibal Lecter and his fatty liver.
Mui Siong Minced Meat Noodles
Address: Block 638 Veerasamy Road, Singapore 200638
Phone: 9114 3731
Opening Hours: 7.30am to 2.30pm daily.