Back then my friend and I do crazy things which we do not normally do nowadays, such as sweating it out at a corner coffeeshop in Geylang for bowls of Ban Mian by the popular L32 Kopitiam Handmade Noodles. We thought having it at 5pm in the late afternoon would make it a breezier experience, but no. He realized I'm not joking when I said I'm super afraid of the heat and half the time I'm fighting the beads of perspiration that's engulfing me. Very "unglam". Very "cui". Possibly with some BO. But he did not run, so I "passed" him. Haha!
Sorry I digressed! Lol! Anyway that was not my first visit, so I know how perfectly delicious the ban mian is, and how I want to share the goodness of it with him.
L32 Kopitiam looks like very other humble coffeeshop at initial glance, until you noticed its drawing power anchored by the popular ban mian stall. A fast moving short queue in front of the stall deluded the fact that waiting time for food is usually much longer than it seems.
If you come hungry or with a craving, be prepared to hold it off for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Almost every table in the coffeeshop are waiting for their ban mian to be served. Okay lah, at least no need to stand in line.
We kept to the basic bowl of Pork Ban Mian ($3.50) for both our dry and soup version.
First thing first, the soup. For a broth that is considered clear in consistency compared to a lot of "cloudy" renditions, it was amazingly robust with sweet aftertaste of ikan bilis. The ribbons of broad noodle was thin and silky with just the right note of chewiness. Pork was nicely seasoned with the subtle aroma of sesame oil, and the toppings of anchovies were plump and crispy. What more can I ask for? Oh yes, that tangy chilli dip!
The hearty bowl of soup ban mian was altogether lovely.
The dry ban mian tossed in savory-sweet dark sauce has its addictive charm too, especially if you like your food to be heavier in flavor, and noodle to be of a more al dente bite. Just as slurpilicious as the soup version, the surprise came when my spoon went into the soup that was served by the side, and scooped out a runny egg. Yummy!
It can be quite difficult to fully explain the comforting allure of this simple dish, until you savor a bowl in its entirety.
The soup ban mian is what I would recommend you to order at L32, and if the dry version is more to your liking, there is another stall in Toa Payoh that I'd suggest you to try too. (Read: Must-Try! Dry Ban Mian (福州板面) At Toa Payoh Central)
A bowl of good noodles is sufficient to create happy memories. This is what I call life's simple pleasure.
L32 Kopitiam Handmade Noodles
Address: 558 Geylang Road, Singapore 389509
Contact: +65 9770 2829
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11am-9pm / Closed on Mon
- Tampines 1, Level 5 Foodcourt
Blk 304, Ubi Ave 1, #01-95