When it comes to the Katong/Joo Chiat area, there are a couple of local favourites that you should try when in the hood. The best part is, if you come with an empty stomach, you can try all of them in one afternoon – they’re all within a 10-minute walk from each other.
Unlike many wanton noodles we’re used to, the ones in the East are paler than most, but don’t let their lack of colour deter you because they’re super flavourful.
Other than their unique noodle presentations, East Coast wantan noodle stores have a long history… of feuds. You can read about the rivalries between siblings and business partners of some of these beloved institutions online. So basically, if you’re in the East, come for the noodles, stay for the saga!
Eng’s Wantan Noodle
For the uninitiated, there are actually TWO Eng’s shops along Tanjong Katong Road, and they’re practically across the road from each other. There’s reason for that – they share a history, and they’re both related to the original founder, Ng Ba Eng, in different ways. This shop is run by chefs that were previously the late Ng’s proteges. Here, you’ll find the original offerings of noodles (which are thicker than most other wantan noodles), wantan dumplings, and poached vegetables. Another thing that made Eng’s famous: the blow-your-mind spicy chilli sauce.
287 Tanjong Katong Road | Price: $4.50 (S), $5.50 (L)
Eng’s Char Siew Wantan Mee
The Eng’s across the road is also related to the late founder – this time it’s his children. Six years after the first Eng’s shop opened on Tanjong Katong Road, Eng’s kids set up ENG’s Char Siew Wantan Noodles shop as a rival (and started a campaign boasting their heritage) – unlike the other store, this one has air-conditioning and more seating space. Unsurprisingly, the menu is the same as the other Eng’s, so you’ll also get the same runny, spicy chilli sauce that regulars love.
248/250 Tanjong Katong Road | Price: $4.50 (S), $5.50 (L)
Dunman Road Char Siew Wan Ton Mee
Located on the second floor of Dunman Food Centre, this stall is also related to Eng’s! Originally, there were two partners of Dunman Road, but they split up, and one of them eventually became Eng’s Wantan Mee and moved to Tanjong Katong Road. This original stall with the original partner still offers the style of wantan noodles it started with – and has the same runny but super spicy chilli sauce. The selling point of this stall is their wantan dumplings, which are consistent and flavourful.
02-19 Dunman Road Food Centre (closed Thursdays) | Price: $3.50 (S), $4 (L)
Fei Fei Wanton Mee
Fei Fei is an institution in Joo Chiat, and started off being two units, each run by a different brother. Now only one store in Joo Chiat remains, and while their specialty is the light-coloured version, you can also have it with dark sauce and chilli. As it’s not related to Dunman/Eng, the chilli sauce here is more like a paste. Fei Fei has always been known for its thick noodles, and each bowl also comes with a serving of deep-fried dumplings. The place also serves a wide variety of dishes, from fried chicken to yong tau foo.
72 Joo Chiat Place | Price: $4.50
All of these stores are institutions in the East, and while their tastes vary sometimes (due to the weather, chef’s mood, etc), they’re definitely worth trying if you’re in the neighbourhood.