November 30, 2014
Fishball Story @ Golden Mile Centre, Beach Road ~ Handmade Goodness In A Bowl
I have a soft spot for young hawkers, not because they can cook (会煮饭的男人很帅!) or are usually affable people such as Douglas Ng of Fishball Story, but because I can totally understand the sacrificial efforts behind the food they serve. To most of us, food may be a tummy filler, but to these new generation of culinary heroes, it represents their dream and the passion they are living at this very moment.
(Read: Sentimental Sundays: Being A Hawker. I Know How It Feels Like. I Was Once A Young Singapore Hawker.)
In Douglas' case, he also has a fishball story to tell. The taste of his grandmother's handmade fishballs is one which accompanied him through the years. Adapting her recipe which is simple, the emphasis is on using the best of ingredients, freshness of the 100% pure yellowtail fish paste, and the no-flour-added texture which differentiates it from the generic commercially-made ones.
Keen to preserve and share this traditional food heritage, 23-years-young Douglas set up a stall at Golden Mile Food Centre selling fishball noodles.
The challenges he faces are not unlike the many which I've heard before: Rent and operational costs, locational disadvantages, tough working conditions, daily long hours with hardly any work-life balance. Passion aside, Douglas also has to be realistic about making enough money to sustain the business and keep his motivation going.
Still, his love for community service also saw him forgoing a day of profit and instead, doing his part for charity by participating in the recent Ultimate Hawker Fest.
Despite all the struggles, the young lad derives his satisfaction from seeing his customers enjoying his dish. "It gives me a tremendously 'shiok' feeling when customers are happy and tell me good things about my dish", he said.
After trying the fishball noodles at Fishball Story myself, it's not hard to understand why customers are happy. The handmade fishballs are definitely above average, firm with a slight bouncy bite though our table thought it could do with a tad more seasoning to bring out the flavors better. We love the fishcakes slices which delighted us with its heavier taste, speckled with bits of chilli and scallions.
All these are freshly made daily by Douglas himself, who comes in at 5am each morning to start blending the fish paste and hand-pressing them into shape, before preparing the other ingredients like sambal chilli, lard and shallot oil.
We can choose to have just the Fishball Soup alone, or pair it with our preferred type of noodles and have it soup or dry, everything is priced at a very reasonable $3.50 (add 20cents for takeaway) across the board. While the Kway Teow Soup makes a light meal and is perfect when weather gets cooler, the Dry Mee Pok with Chilli is the one bowl you should really go go go for.
There's nothing to fault of the thin flat noodles which were perfectly cooked to a lovely al-dente texture. I would prefer the chilli to be spicier, but its robust hae bee (dried shrimps) flavor gave it an umami kick which was utterly addictive! Even with the fried pork lard and shallot oil added to further accentuate the flavors, there was none of the expected greasy or surfeit mouthfeel. The entire combination was delish!
A truly commendable effort by Douglas who deserves our support!
Address: Golden Mile Food Centre, #01-85, 505 Beach Road, Singapore 199583
Contact: +65 9800 5036
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm / Sat 9am-7pm / Sun 9am-3pm