(lol ok I know the title reads funny but meh)
Hey there, fellow foodaholics! Since my semester is coming to an end (which also means that I have lesser things to do now ) I shall do a short entry about FOOD. Today’s review is gonna be on one of my favourite local delicacies – Wanton Mee. Now, I know there are NUMEROUS famous Wanton Mee stores in Singapore but I just wanna feature two of them.
Sometimes it’s really great to have a taxi driver dad because no one knows where to find good food better than people in this line. Being a cabbie, there would be times when my dad has to work night shift. He’s one who is constantly looking for places to eat because he’s always hungry. According to my dad, it’s not that difficult to find good food in the wee hours.. as long as you’ve got a car since most of these places are in the more remote, eastern side of Singapore.
Long story short, I was introduced to Koka Wanton Mee just a few weeks ago when I ended work late and hadn’t have my dinner yet. Koka Wanton Mee is located at Lavender (a very short distance from ICA Building) and just like many other famous food stalls, it only starts operating at night.
It is run by an elderly couple and occasionally assisted by a helper. A small plate of wanton mee costs $3, while a medium one $4 and a large one $5.
I ordered the smallest one on my first visit and got the biggest food shock in my life LOL (see picture below). The amount was SO MISERABLE and I swear I could finish everything with just 3 spoonfuls. Sorry, no picture of that because I was terribly famished that I just gobbled down whatever edibles right in front of me. I have no idea who this measly amount of noodles is intended for. Perhaps kids? Or people who just want to try it first? Anyway I learnt my lesson and only ordered the largest portion on my subsequent visits, which is nowhere near “large”. Also, be sure to order the largest one even if you’re not very hungry because the LONG WAIT (approximately half an hour and it doesn’t help one bit even with the assistant’s presence) is enough to digest every single piece of food in your stomach.
Complaints aside, I do enjoy their wanton noodles which is why I keep going back for more. I love how they also add mushrooms to the dish! The gravy and soup are also to die for. It has the right amount of saltiness and thickness! They seeeeeriously need to work on their speed though because they only start preparing the vegetables, char siew etc. when they get orders -_- Their tardiness has pissed quite a number of hungry patrons off lol. But yeah, as long as your food is good, who cares right? (Psst, if you can’t wait, there’s always Lor Mee beside it. My parents love the Lor Mee there as well)
Apologies for the low quality images as these were taken directly on my phone!
Koka Wanton Mee
North Bridge Road Market & Food Centre
861 North Bridge Road
Operating Hours: 7.30pm – 1.00am
Closed on Mondays
* * *
Moving on to Kok Kee, I’ve been a regular patron of its daytime outlet at Jurong West for close to 5 years now. I was introduced to this by the president of the co-curriculum activity (Food Connoisseurs Club) I was in during my Poly days and through me, my parents also got to know about this stall (if not for me, they would have easily dismissed this as another wanton mee stall). With 505 Jurong West Food Centre, you won’t have to fret about where to eat for lunch because this place offers a wide variety of good food at very affordable prices; you will be spoilt for choice when you’re there! We have our lunch there almost every morning before I was driven to school, which is a 10-minute drive away due to the massive number of traffic lights along the way.
In terms of preparation, Kok Kee is definitely faster and more efficient. You can literally get your wanton mee within 3 minutes of ordering. They only come in 2 sizes: small ($2.50) and large ($3.50).
There is also a night-time outlet (of the same name and origin) at Lavender. There, you’ll expect longer queue and waiting time (still shorter than Koka’s) and of course, a pricier plate of wanton mee ($4 for small and $5 for large).
Even though both Jurong West and Lavender outlets share the same name, they do taste slightly different. I for one prefer the Lavender one because it’s wetter and more flavourful. The one at Jurong West can be a little bland sometimes (but it’s waaaay cheaper so that makes up for it).
Menu wise, both also offer separate items. At the Jurong West stall, you can opt for hor fun if you don’t want the egg noodles which can be a good change especially when you find yourself growing tired of the usual style. Although this option is not available in the Lavender outlet, it has no doubt more variety of food items their menu. One of the items not offered at the Jurong West outlet would be the fried wanton which I reckon is one of their very popular side dishes albeit the very expensive price tag (If I remember correctly it’s $7 for 7 pieces). One similarity I know for sure between both outlets is their substandard char siew. I have seen some people ordering and requested for no char siew.. perhaps that’s the reason?
(Will update again with pictures of the Lavender stall but food appearance is 95% similar to the Jurong West one, just more gravy and moist)
However, be warned. If you’re going to either outlets for the first time, you may feel intimidated by the hostility of their 小老板娘 (young lady boss). There is one at each outlet taking orders from customers and they are the daughter of the respective stall owners. They exude different kind of hostility. To me, the lady boss at Jurong West talks with hint of belittlement. I dislike her attitude but through the years I’ve grown so accustomed to her behaviour that I don’t care anymore lol. Moreover she rarely takes order now because she has a very friendly and cheery assistant to help her with that. The lady boss at Lavender on the other hand… I don’t know how to describe her hostility (or not?). Talking to her still sends chill down my spine although I don’t show it. I wouldn’t say she’s unfriendly because she IS friendly albeit overdoing it at times. She’s both friendly and confrontational, you geddit?
Oh and a word of caution: NO GREEN CHILLI
Kok Kee Wanton Mee (Jurong West)
Jurong West Food Centre
505 Jurong West Street 52
Operating Hours: 7.00 am until it’s fully sold out. Usually at around 12.30pm
Closed on alternate Wednesdays
Kok Kee Wanton Mee (Lavender)
Lavender Food Square
380 Jalan Besar
Operating Hours: 11.00 pm – 2.00 am
Closed every 3 weeks on Wednesday & Thursday
Yup, that’s all from me. I hope to do one on fried carrot cake too. Maybe another time!
8 thoughts on “Wanton Mee: Battle of the Koks”
Chanced upon your post and just wanted to let you know that Kok Kee Wanton Mee at Jurong West operating hours are from 7am onwards! (I’ve been there that early before… Haha). Anyway, thanks for the great post! I grew up eating Kok Kee and I haven’t been able to find any other wanton mee that could rival it! I don’t mind too much about char siew or wanton, I only love the noodles and broth haha.
Hey Kai Ting!
Thanks for the correction! Have amended the operating hours 🙂 Kok Kee is indeed one of the best wanton mees I’ve had as I remember going for my second plate during my very first visit. I think what makes it addictive is the gravy. I get quite upset when they don’t pour enough gravy, making the noodles really dry on the plate.
You should really try Koka if you haven’t! I’m sure you’d love it as much as Kok Kee haha.
Thanks for reading 😉
It kinda puzzled me why would you still want to go Kok Kee since young lady boss at Jurong West who “talks with hint of belittlement. I used to hate her attitude (still do)”. I don’t get why would any one like you whom can be so funny, like, you know, complaining, but yet, still going back all the time?
I’ve been Kok Kee customer since 12 years back, both the young lady boss is isn’t as what you’ve mentioned above, I guess, the problem lies in you thus she “talk with hint of belittlement” with you? For my case, she’s smiley (not all the time, because she is busy taking orders, having to remembered at least 30 orders at one go, is no joke, but not as worst as you’ve mentioned. Oh wait, have you even seen her work during the weekend IN THE MORNING instead of after 11am? If no, you should!!!) and we do chat from time to time.
I feel it is so unfair both of the young lady boss for your post here.
By the way Fiona, if you don’t already know, people can sue you for the below statement :
“But she tends to be more friendly towards the middle-aged adults so if you’re in your fifties”
I hope you can be a kind blogger and talk no shits although you are trying to be “honest” here 🙂
I am wondering how both the young lady boss if ever happens to come across your blog, that would be…. hmmm.. I don’t know how to put it.. hope they never see it since you are their long time customer too!
Hey Grazel B!
To be fair, I went through that blog post again objectively and I do agree I shouldn’t blatantly pen my observations here about the conduct of the lady boss at Lavender. Thanks for pointing that out. I’ll amend that pronto.
But in summary, your entire comment just reeks of anger because I warned about the lady boss at Jurong outlet (only a sidenote, nothing important really)? Why no input about the quality of the food, which is basically the main point of this entry? Are you a relative of the Kok Kee clan?
To answer your question, I go back because I love their wanton mee – something which I have explicitly elaborated on the post. I don’t go there to witness her attitude. If bad service is the main factor in ensuring my return, I would have shunned good food stalls with long queues (read Koka). Furthermore, I did mention that her assistant is the one taking orders now and she is always friendly towards me and asking about my well being unlike the person you’re referring to.
I have no idea where you got the idea that I only patronise the stall after 11am. I do eat there when I have early morning classes so yes, I know what I am talking about. She is unfriendly and hostile throughout. Maybe not to you, as you’ve been buying from them since 12 years ago. She once waved my change rudely in front of me while giving me that glare when she could just tell me nicely to get my money (I don’t even mind a simple “找钱”). Tell me, how is that NOT rude? I have never once stepped on her toes as all I do as a customer is order, collect my food and go. So that does not justify her attitude.
Yup having to remember numerous orders at one go is not easy. But did you realise that ever since the construction of the multi-story carpark directly in front of them started, their queue has shortened drastically? What long queue are you talking about? Do you even eat there now to notice the change? And if she doesn’t like remembering orders, it’s really none of my concern. Please don’t vent it on me.
Thanks for your comment anyways, and I apologise for this slightly defensive reply. But I have to. Because your comment isn’t very nice either.
Hi Fiona, thank you for your time to read.my comment and also replied me.
First of all, I’ve to be honest, I’m no relative to the Kok Kee’s.. just a supporter since 12 years back.
I’ve nothing against you, just felt your comment about a stranger is really rude.
You mentioned that the queue has dropped drastically due to the car park renovation. And since because it’s a renovation is going on for going about a year, surely people will stop going to the market, not just the Kok Kee queue has shorten and you should really make a trip down during the weekends to witness the queue (if weather is good! Humans knows raining weather = stay indoor)
I’m sorry if I sounds harsh, like I’ve mentioned, perhaps because I know her by being their customer, and also understood the assistant is nice as well but I feel you’re just being judgemetal towards her. (Which I feel it’s an all boo-boo).
2 cents worth, dear.
Nothing against anyone.
Hey Grazel B!
There are people who would go to there specially for the food (eg office people having their lunch breaks) and not for the wet market, like my family, so I think that’s a rather unfair comparison. The queue for Kok Kee has definitely shortened cos of the construction and this was told personally to me by the assistant. We could have gone there at very different times cos no one was queueing up when I was there during a heavy downpour.
I definitely do not have anything against her as well. I’m just voicing out my opinion like what you did.
Anyway no offence taken. To each his own. I respect your opinion as well. 🙂
I do not see any wrong in Fiona. 🙂 Cheers. Everyone has their own opinion and thoughts 🙂
Thanks so much 🙂