Local hawker stalwart Song Kee Fishball Noodle broke hearts when they abruptly shuttered last July, leaving many high, dry and herh keow-less. The owners — three brothers who share the job of hand-making the fishballs and herh keow as well as cooking the noodles — had cited their ailing health from the backbreaking work, their involvement in a separate car business and the shop’s expiring lease at 532 Upper Serangoon Road as reasons for the closure of their family business. Even though at the time of closing, crowds at their shop have not abated, averaging a 30-minute wait on a good day — we once waited about an hour-and-a-half for our bowl of noodles. We developed stomach cramps in the process, but it was worth it... we think.
Pro tip: only order the dry mee pok topped with herh keow and Teochew meatballs (a mix of fish and pork). The chilli is extremely umami and the fish dumplings slippery and slimy — in the best possible way.
Now you can enjoy the shiok dish again at the shop’s new location at 128 Tembeling Road in Joo Chiat. While the owners are keeping the details of their comeback hush-hush, we heard from the towkay neo (Candy, wife of Chua Poh Seng, one of the brothers) that the store will boast "the same chef, of course”. Which means you will get to see the same beloved hawker Chua Soo Chai, with his hair slicked back with copious amounts of gel as he deftly whips up precious bowls of lard, chilli and shallot-kissed noodles crowned with bouncy fishballs and succulent yellowtail herh keow with ethereally gooey fish-and-flour skins cradling minced pork and fragrant flat fish bits.
Mod sin celeb chef Willin Low declares it "the best herh keow in Singapore". He adds: “I'm happy and over the herh keow moon about the reopening". He used to visit the eatery twice a week back when the three brothers still manned the Serangoon Road space.
News of Song Kee’s comeback is as surprising and sudden as its closure last year, considering that a fishball noodle shop called Finest Songkee’s Fishball Noodles opened shortly after in the same Upper Serangoon spot serving an almost identical menu. It is run by a cousin of Song Kee’s owners, though we spied quite a few empty tables there when we passed by the area recently. To add to the confusion, there is another similar shop serving the dish in Toa Payoh too, helmed by their relatives. But none are as delicious and well-loved as the noodles by these three siblings. Let's hope the grub at their new outlet in Joo Chiat will be as divine and the wait less agonisingly long. Watch this space.
Song Kee Fishball Noodle opens mid-March at 128 Tembeling Rd.