Today we stopped for lunch at the hawker center at the Chinatown MRT station. It’s Sunday, so all the locals were out for lunch with their families. As far as I could tell we were the only farangs (that’s Thai for tourist) in the place. The hawker centers in Singapore are nice for new arrivals like me because each hawker has big photos of what’s cookin’, so you have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for when you finally choose a dish. After a lot of wandering we came to a hawker serving various hot soups with udon noodles, pork wantons and long bao (soup dumplings). Their photos won me over, but the long line of people was proof we had made a good choice. While waiting to order the crowd cleared a little and I could see one of the reasons why this place was so popular — udon noodles handmade to order.
In the span of 20 minutes the udon maker probably made 15 servings. He started with the lump of dough, rolled it into a long skinny rope, picked it up and twisted it, smacked it on the counter and then started pulling it apart into noodles, doubling or tripling the number each time he pulled, until he had the perfect amount of perfectly shaped udon for one bowl of soup. Flour, repeat.
We shared a table with a local family — the only language in common being smiles and a thumbs up. The soup was great and the pork wantons and udon noodles were very tasty. I look forward to going back but I’ll have to look for the udon maker. There was no name to take away.