Big Prawn Noodles at Loyang Way Food Village has been on my to-do list for… maybe a year now. I first learned of it from Willin Low, chef-owner of the Wild Rocket Group. He’s raved about this far-flung stall repeatedly on his IG stories. (Side note: Never check his Instagram on an empty stomach!) How far-flung? Well, it took us a full 20 minutes just to drive over from East Coast!
Yet, in spite of that ulu, industrial estate location, the business was great. We went on a Saturday around lunchtime, and the queue was long, with 15 to 20 people patiently waiting (more on that later) for their prawn noodle fix.
Prawn Noodles: What We Loved
First up, the soup. It’s such an intense wallop of crustacean flavours, that you know they’ve really invested in a lot of prawn heads and shells for this! We ordered both a bowl of the XL Prawn Noodles ($13.80) – the highest tier listed on the menu – and a bowl of Big Prawn Noodles ($5/7/9) for comparison. The soup for the XL bowl turned out a bit more gau, with a slightly thicker mouthfeel that’s borderline tonkotsu-like. Both were good. I personally found the soup for the Big Prawn Noodles a little easier drinking and no less shiok.
For those who like to pile on the ingredients, you’ll be pleased to know that the options are bountiful. They offer pork ribs ($2), pig intestines ($2/3), prawns ($2 apiece), abalone ($3), lava egg ($1, displayed as “quick-sand egg”), pig’s skin ($1) and sliced pork ($1).
Prawn Noodles: What We Didn’t Love So Much
Unfortunately for us, they ran out of pork ribs and sliced pork when we arrived. We only managed to add the pig intestines. The intestines were incredibly plump and sweet, but at $2 for five pieces, it’s mighty steep. We ordered the lava eggs out of greediness. They didn’t really compliment the dish, but they were indeed molten-centred, so props for that.
What I’m in two minds about are the prawns. At first glance, the portions looked ridiculously generous – five whole prawns in the XL bowl, and eight halves for the Big Prawn bowl. But I felt let down because the prawns were really dry, such that the meat had barely any sweetness to offer. I’d noticed, while I was queuing, that the XL prawns were already pink (read: cooked) before they were blanched in the soup for serving. Perhaps that’s their way of trying to speed things up when queues get long – there were maybe 10 people ahead of me and I waited 50 minutes at lunchtime! But it’s such a shame because the prawns were nice and big, and reasonably fresh. That was a real downer for what would have been a superb value-for-money find.
You Can’t Go Wrong with Real Heart and Great Service
In spite of that, I think I would still like to go back though. For one, the hawkers were friendly and patient. You can see that they’ve really put a lot of care into their food. I noticed them wiping down oily smears from the edges of the bowl, and arranging each piece of prawn properly. There’s something about chefs who take pride in their food that makes you want to support them. And there’s no denying that they’re generous for the prices they charge. I felt that the prawns for the Big Prawn Noodles were a teeny bit less dry, so I might go for that next time. Along with the $3 option for the intestines.
Also, major kudos to the cleaning crew at this hawker centre! They were super on the ball and they really made the effort to wipe down tables and trays properly. Around the CBD, most cleaners just do a cursory swipe, but the cleaning lady near this prawn noodle stall was just so meticulous! Yes, the high turnover is an issue in those other places, but it doesn’t take away her hard work and dedication. Plus, it’s always worth acknowledging good effort when we see it.
Big Prawn Noodles. 64 Loyang Way, Loyang Way Food Village. Tel: 9083-3320. Open Mon-Sat, 7am-3pm. Pre-order your takeaways before 10am.
Image by Mia Chenyze