If you have heard of LAIFABA, you may have heard of them operating out of the snazzy Scarlet Hotel wine bar in Erskine Road, Ann Siang Hill last year.
They sell Wanton Noodles, roast meats and an assortment of other small bites.
Since the beginning of this year, however, they have found new premises.
Laifaba is now located at the foot of an industrial building in Bukit Batok called Prestige Centre.
I decided to pay a visit at their new premises.
There is ample parking at the basement of the building.
From the basement car park, take the lift to storey 2 although this is really the ground floor where LAIFABA is located.
A nice bright red signage greeted me. It’s like a blend of pop decor with nostalgia wielded in.
I walked in and was greeted with a blast of very cool air conditioning.
It was a spacious space housing about 15 tables quite well spaced out.
Well lit by some recessed white lights and some pendant lights with orange glows. Dining tables and chairs were basic but clean.
It felt welcoming and comforting.
Nostalgic paraphernalia adorned the walls. A smattering of old school melamine tiffin carriers were displayed on rustic kitchen cupboards.
I chuckled when I saw old milo tins hanging on the walls, and old school table fans which I was surprised to see were functional and working.
There were also a few of the old school hair perm standing machines Lol. Am I going to get my hair permed while feasting on armpit char siew noodles 😆?
A touch of whimsical.
Modern and some nostalgic sounding Chinese ballads crooned from speakers.
The overall feeling was old school chic.
The char siew was hanging from a modern chic stainless steel display unit. I sighted their “Bu Jian Tian “ or armpit cut char siew gleaming with promise with charred caramelised edges.
My armpits tingled with excitement.
I ordered their large portion ($7) and upgraded it to Armpit char siew (additional $2). Not cheap by hawker standards but with nice air conditioned premises, it was not expensive either.
I noticed that the place was run by good looking young people. Well groomed and guys had modern slick haircuts.
And very pleasant customer service. They were nice and friendly.
Okay the pretty siao mei mei serving me lifted the customer service experience considerably I must confess.
It helped that she didn’t call me Uncle.
I asked her how was business since moving here and she said quite good, smiling ever so prettily.
My food arrived and I was beeped.
The bowl of wanton mee looked painstakingly and passionately plated, and looked artisanal and too beautiful to eat.
But I ate it anyway.
They are famed for their fiery chilli so I took a taste.
Wow fiery indeed but tasty. I think theirs was tastier than Eng’s chilli I have to say.
Gave quite a kick. They put it on the side of your bowl so taste it before you mix it all in, if you are not chilli warrior trained.
Proceed with caution but I enjoyed it. A formidable and ass kicking chilli.
Look how beautiful that is.
That Char Siew was what I came for and it was delicious. Tangy with honey, it tasted rich and succulent. A definite crowd pleaser.
The noodles were airy and was al dente with a little bite.
The lard sauces at the bottom of the bowl coated the strands agreeably.
I particularly liked the soup . It was perfectly well balanced. It has a subtle hint of anchovies but was not overpowering.
And the wantons in the soup I thought were of a nice size – you could manage it with one bite and chomp through. I thought the fillings, although simple, were tasty and not at all plain as some people have described it.
I didn’t warm up to the fried wantons. They were crispy but all I tasted were skin.
All in all, a very artisanal and attractive bowl cooked and plated with love, brilliant char siew, well balanced soup and nice wantons. Al dente noodles and a nice enough sauce assisted by crispy lard croutons.
I would happily pay LAIFABA repeated visits.
Who knows, one day I may even get my hair permed here.
Then my Bengster transformation will be complete.
LAIFABA 71 Bukit Batok Crescent Prestige Centre #02-02 Singapore 658071 Daily 8am-330pm