There are two camps when it comes to lor mee: you’re either the biggest fan of it, or you’re really quite indifferent about it.
Those who stand on the side of the latter can’t get used to the spices used, but for the former, it’s precisely the fragrant blend of Chinese aromatics (think five-spice powder, cinnamon sticks, star anise) with dark soy sauce, soy sauce, and oyster sauce that keeps them coming back for more.
Lor Mee is a Hokkien dialect term for ‘lu mian’ in Mandarin, which translates to ‘braised noodles’ in English. The aromatics and sauces mentioned above are used for the braised pork belly, which sets the tone as the base of the gravy. The thick, gooey gravy is then typically served with thick flat yellow noodles, a hard-boiled/braised egg, sliced fish cakes, chunky fried battered fish flakes, and five-spice pork rolls. Those who like their dishes a little stronger in flavour can add more garlic paste, chili, and Chinese black vinegar to taste.
Read on our list of favourites.
Where to find the best lor mee in Singapore:
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Feng Zhen Lor Mee, who earned their first Michelin plate last year, has opened a second outlet in Yishun this year. Here, expect bowls of luscious, flavourful gravy, studded with handmade pork meatballs, yellow noodles, batang fish (Spanish mackerel), and half a hard-boiled egg. If you’re one for fish, they have a Fish Lor Mee dish on the menu as well.
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Ah Ma Lor Mee and Feng Zheng Lor Mee might seem to have nothing in common besides the food they make, but you’re sorely mistaken. Ah Ma Lor Mee is actually run by the third generation owners from Feng Zhen themselves, so you can be sure to find the same delicious, quality bowls of noodles here too.
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Lor Mee 178 is one of the more popular stalls in Tiong Bahru Market, serving a mean bowl of noodles with interesting toppings like shark meat nuggets, tender fried pork, and fried crisps. Compared to other stalls, the gravy is relatively lighter and milder in flavour, but that can be enhanced with the garlic, chilli and black vinegar if you prefer something that packs a punch.
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Jue Dai Lor Mee is home to four variations of Lor Mee: Yam Roll Lor Mee, Chicken Cutlet Lor Mee, Tradition Lor Mee and Cod Fish Lor Mee, but you really don’t have to rack your brains too hard if you’re not sure which one to pick. The various toppings are available as add-ons so you can have the best of all worlds. As for the gravy here, think brown, starchy goodness that clings on to your noodles and ingredients with ease but isn’t overwhelming on the palate.
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We’ve shared our love for Xin Mei Xiang Zheng Zong Lor Mee over on our Old Airport Road food guide here, but did you know the famed stall also has outlets over in Balestier and Holland Drive? Prices vary across the locales, so be sure to take note of that before you head down.
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While most stalls use mackerel in their lor mee, what makes Lorong Ah Soo Lor Mee different than most is the addition of delightfully tender, braised duck meat in place of the fish. Here, the gravy has maintained its rich and flavourful taste without being too cloying or overly starchy, which is perhaps why they often sell out even before the end of their daily operational hours (that’s less than fours a day, mind you!).
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Heng Kee Lor Mee, which has been running for more than 40 years to date, is one of our favourites for sure. They start serving out these addictive bowls from as early as five in the morning, and are usually sold out by noon, so it’d be good to drop by early. While ngoh hiang isn’t on the cards here, you won’t even miss it — in is place is a generous portion of beansprouts, braised pork belly, fried wanton, and crispy fried pork belly that’ll more than make up for it. Did we mention it’s only S$3? Definitely a great value-for-money bowl right here.
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For a taste of old-school flavour, you’d want to head to Soon Lee Lor Mee Stall. As you savour the dish, the thick gravy slowly transforms into a delicious soup like consistency that’ll have you slurping up every last spoon. Pro tip: the homemade ngoh hiang is actually made from yam, and best had after a little soak in the gravy, so don’t be too eager to have them as soon as you’re served your bowl.
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