Restaurant-Quality La Mian, Guo Tie & Lu Rou Bun From $3.80 At Hawker Stall In Marine Parade - 8 Days Skip to main content

Restaurant-Quality La Mian, Guo Tie & Lu Rou Bun From $3.80 At Hawker Stall In Marine Parade

Wang’s Noodle & Dumpling House is helmed by a Henan-born millennial who used to work as sous chef at swish private diner Xi Yan in Singapore.

Restaurant-Quality La Mian, Guo Tie & Lu Rou Bun From $3.80 At Hawker Stall In Marine Parade

Wang Yi Guang may only be 27 years old, but the young chef has been honing his craft at several Chinese restaurants in Singapore for close to a decade. With no formal training, the Chinese native from Henan started as a kitchen assistant at Paradise Dynasty (which is under the popular Chinese restaurant chain Paradise Group), before rising the ranks at other kitchens.

He had a promising career as a sous chef at the upmarket modern Chinese private dining restaurant Xi Yan at Maxwell Road (where he worked for three years), but gave it up to open hawker stall Wang’s Noodle & Dumpling House, serving mainly northern Chinese dishes like la mian, guo tie and other dumplings in February.

“I wanted to start my own business. I knew that it would be tough but as long as I work hard, I’d be able to push through,” he tells 8days.sg in mandarin.

Now a Singaporean, he runs the kopitiam stall in Marine Parade Central with his parents.

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Family used to run chicken rice stall

Yi Guang, who first came to Singapore to study at 13, is no stranger to the hawker trade. He used to help out at his parents’ Hainanese chicken rice stall at the Kopitiam food court at IMM in his teens. Business was greatly affected during the pandemic and it shuttered in 2020 after nine years of operations.

Besides an interest in cooking, Yi Guang shares that his parents’ background as hawkers also influenced his decision to go into F&B when he quit school at 17.

“I used to study at MacPherson Secondary School but I dropped out in secondary three ’cos my grades weren’t good. My dad told me that to survive in Singapore I needed a skill, so he found me a teacher who was the head chef at Paradise Dynasty at Ion Orchard and I got a job there,” shares Yi Guang.

Despite trying his hand at other Chinese cuisines during his stints at various kitchens, Yi Guang decided to focus on northern Chinese food at his stall as it is something he is most familiar with.

“I have been cooking these dishes since I was young, and these are things we eat at home all the time. I also wanted to bring food from where I came from to Singapore. To see food from my hometown being accepted here is a happy thing,” he says.

“If I just offer dishes that I used to cook at restaurants, it feels like I am copying others. Since I am starting my own business, I should bring something new to the table. These are my family and hometown’s recipes,” he adds.

The menu

The stall offers 11 noodle dishes and four types of dumplings. Prices range from $3.80 for the Tomato with Egg La Mian to $5.50 for the Pork Intestine La Mian, while dumplings are priced at $5 for 10 pieces. There are also sides like Sour & Spicy Soup ($3) and Pork Bun ($4).

Their bestseller is the boiled Pork and Chives Dumplings, made with a recipe passed down from Yi Guang’s grandma.

“I have to prepare 1,000 dumplings a day and they tend to sell out on weekends. We make the dumplings and la mian by hand, so it’s very time consuming. My parents are busy making them all day. We sell around 100 bowls of noodles a day,” says Yi Guang.

As much as Yi Guang would like to offer an authentic taste of his hometown, he acknowledges that traditional northern Chinese cuisine is too heavy on the palate for most locals.

“Singaporeans prefer food to be less oily and salty, and a bit sweeter, so I had to tweak my dishes a little. I also toned down the spice level, if not locals will not be able to accept it. If I served the Dumplings with Red Chilli Oil the way we eat it at home, you will see a thick layer of oil in the bowl,” he shares.

When we ask why there’s a tub of orange chilli sauce that looks a lot like chicken rice chilli on his condiment tray, he tells us it was requested by customers.

“The older folks said that our chilli oil is too oily and requested for other types of chilli. Since my parents used to run a chicken rice stall, we made this for them. It tastes very similar to chicken rice chilli, but tangier so it complements our dishes better,” he says.

Business not as good as expected

When we visited on a weekday afternoon, we noticed a steady stream of customers coming to tapow food. While Yi Guang noted that business has been slowly picking up, “it isn’t as good as expected”.

It doesn’t help that Yi Guang is one of those rare millennials who isn’t familiar with social media, and is reluctant to use it to spread the word about his business online.

“Instead of trying to figure out how to do it, I would rather focus my time and energy on my food,” he says.

“I don’t want people to say I am hyping up my food. Whether or not the food is good, when people come, they can taste it for themselves. We are not on Instagram, only on Facebook, and even then, I don’t update it. I did create a business profile on Google, though. I am very happy that we have a 4.9 rating from 11 customers.”

Pork and Chives Dumplings, $5 for 10 pcs

These generously-sized boiled parcels stuffed with minced pork and chive filling are juicy, meaty, and instantly gratifying. We like that the flavour of the chives isn’t too overpowering so we can still taste the savouriness of the pork. The dumpling skin boasts the right thickness and is chewy with a good bite. Yi Guang tells us that his dumplings are “on another level” as they are plumper than most and taste great on their own. “Usually, dumplings are around 20g to 25g, but we make ours 30g so it gives a better mouthfeel and customers will feel it is more value for money,” he says. Comes with a ginger and black vinegar dip.

Fresh Pork Pan-Fried Dumplings, $5 for 10 pcs (8 DAYS Pick!)

We prefer the guo tie which also uses pork and chive dumplings. Pan-fried to golden-brown, the potstickers are extra crispy thanks to the thin, crunchy layer that forms at the bottom when cooked. 

To create this crust, Yi Guang adds a slurry of flour and water around the dumplings when they are frying, then covers the pan to cook them for a few more minutes. To make the dumplings even more crisp, he flips the dumplings over to brown the tops slightly before serving. Best eaten with the house-made chilli oil.

Dumplings with Red Chilli Oil Sauce, $5 for 10 pcs

Instead of chives, these pork dumplings are studded with cabbage and wrapped in a thin skin from a supplier. They are juicy with a silky mouthfeel. The filling is less heavily seasoned to complement the savoury chilli oil, which is made with dried chilli and scallion oil “infused with a variety of herbs and spices”. The spicy kick from this is pretty strong, but also quite shiok. 

Pork Bun, $4 (8 DAYS Pick!)

Think of this as Taiwanese lu rou fan in burger form. The pork bun or rou jia mo, as it’s traditionally called, is a street food that originated in Xi'an, China. Yi Guang’s is a fusion version starring shredded Taiwan-style braised pork belly heaped between flaky flatbread, the latter like a cross between prata and pita bread. Braised using seven different spices, the tender and flavourful lu rou is nicely juxtaposed with the crispy pan-grilled bread. Very yummy, if a tad salty.

Shanghai Wonton La Mian, $4.50

The Shanghai Wonton La Mian, which comes with four pork and cabbage dumplings, is the most popular of the noodle dishes. The cloudy broth, simmered with pork and chicken bones for six hours, is mild and wholesome, and the noodles, kneaded by hand, then machine-cut into thin strands, are springy. Compared to the other dishes, it’s a little light on the palate. We recommend adding some chilli oil for extra oomph.

Sichuan Dan Dan Mian, $4.50 (8 DAYS Pick!)

Slurp-worthy la main is smothered with umami, spicy sauce made with peanut butter, sesame oil, sesame sauce, chilli oil, and topped with stir-fried minced pork and crushed peanuts. Rather than the usual thick, creamy sauce, the Dan Dan Mian here is soupier and less nutty. According to Yi Guang, this is how it’s traditionally done in Sichuan. “It usually comes with half a bowl of soup. I added pork and chicken broth to the sauce to tone down the nuttiness,” he says.

Cold Rice Noodles, $4

This vegetarian dish topped with cucumber strips and doused with a sour, savoury and spicy blend of chilli oil, vinaigrette and a moreish peanut and sesame dressing, will only be available from next week and we had a preview taste of it. We can’t get enough of the texture of the thick kway teow-like noodles, which are delightfully chewy, and spongy gluten cubes, or mian jin. Perfect for soaking up the addictive sauce.

Bottom line

Wang’s tasty noodles and dumplings are almost comparable to those from casual Chinese restaurant chains — but for a cheaper price. Not surprising, given this young hawker’s restaurant experience. Our favourite dish here is the fun-to-eat fusion crispy pork bun filled with yummy lu rou. The stall is worth a visit if you’re in the east.

The details

Wang’s Noodle & Dumpling House is at #01-770, 80 Marine Parade Central, S440080. Open daily 10am-10pm. Facebook

All photos cannot be reproduced without permission from 8days.sg

Photos: Kelvin Chia

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