Everyone in Hong Lim knows this is the most contentious dish in the Hawker Centre - Curry Chicken Noodles. Who was first, who is better? Personally I believe they both have their own characters.
On the first floor is Heng Kee, older residents here tell me that they have the longer heritage of the two. And the queue is always longer here. But I have learnt that this is because the chef is more particular about the preparation of each bowl. I'm told that the ceramic pot which he mixes the ingredients together has not been washed for 30 years! Similar to those of braised pork stalls. Which means every time he tops up the pot, he needs to wait for the temperature to homogenise.
So meticulous he is, that even for each bowl, every step is carefully calculated - right down to the time he soaks the freshly chopped Chicken in the curry before plating, synchronised with the blanching of the noodles to prevent overcooking them.
He shared that the secret is in the chilli. (I keep this secret with me for now. ) This is what lends the bowl its deeper colour as opposed to Ah Heng upstairs. A richer deeper umami flavour - perhaps a reason why chef Ah Huat draws a fair share of Japanese fans.
Heng Kee Curry Chicken Noodles
Hong Lim Food Centre. #01-58
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat (11am to 3pm) Closed Sun & PH