History of Prawn Mee
Hokkien prawn mee is a popular dish in Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore and Malaysia. It is a noodle dish made with yellow noodles and rice vermicelli, served in a spicy and savoury broth made from prawns and pork bones. The dish is said to have originated from the Hokkien Chinese community in Southeast Asia. However, there are many versions of the origin story of Hokkien prawn mee.
According to one legend, the dish was first created by Hokkien immigrants who wanted to recreate the flavours of their hometown in Fujian, China, using ingredients that were readily available in Southeast Asia. Over time, the dish evolved and became a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Singapore and Malaysia, where it is now a beloved dish enjoyed by people of all ethnicities.
Some also say that it was originally known as Rochor Mee as it was first sold along Rochor Road. During post-war Singapore, Hokkien sailors who worked in noodle factories would gather along Rochor Road and made a dish with excess noodles from the factories over a charcoal fire. Eventually, one of the Hokkien sailors opened his own stall and started selling the dish.
Another rendition to the origins suggests that the dish was sold as early as 1880 by a Hokkien immigrant at Rochor. His Hokkien assistant parted ways and set up his own stall but eventually shared the recipe to his four Teo Chew friends, who made a pact not to sell their dish within 8km of one another. The stalls were then set up at Balestier Road, New World amusement park, Tanglin and Katong near Roxy Cinema.
The recipe for Hokkien prawn mee typically includes large prawns, sliced pork, bean sprouts, and bok choy, all simmered together in a flavourful broth made from prawn heads, pork bones, and a blend of spices. The noodles are then cooked separately and added to the broth just before serving, along with a generous squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.
Where & How is it Best Enjoyed
Hokkien prawn mee is best enjoyed as a hearty, comforting meal, particularly on a rainy day or when you are feeling under the weather. The savoury, spicy broth and the tender, juicy prawns are sure to warm you up and lift your spirits. It is also a popular breakfast dish in Southeast Asia, where it is often served with a side of fried wontons or dumplings.
The dish is typically served with a generous helping of noodles and a
generous ladle of broth, making it a filling and satisfying meal. To further compliment the dish with an added flavour, a sambal chilli and a piece of lime would be provided as it would help cut through the richness of the dish. For a truly authentic experience, it is best to eat Hokkien prawn mee at a hawker centre or food court, where you can enjoy the dish in a bustling, communal setting. Do bring cash when visiting hawker centres as not all food stalls accept card/cashless payments!
Due to its popularity, many people debate which stall has the best Hokkien mee in Singapore and whether the dry version or the wet version is better tasting. However, it all up to preferences, with each stall having their own special recipes of the dish. Here are 6 places famous for the Singapore Hokkien prawn mee for you to try and find one that you prefer! (Maybe you can join the debate after trying them out, hehe)
1. Swee Guan Hokkien Mee
First opening in 1968, this stall has been handed down to a second-generation
chef, by the predecessor, who is his father. Swee Guan Hokkien Mee is popular for cooking the Hokkien mee over a charcoal fire, giving it a rich, smoky flavour, or as we call it ‘wok hei’. However, we do have to warn you, their customer service isn’t the best- limiting interaction with customers.
Many do say that the flavour of the dish makes up for it despite not using much pork lard like other stalls usually do. There is constantly a long queue at this stall, so do expect at 30- 45 minute wait for your dish to be served and it may be even longer during peak hours.
Price: $6 (small), $8 (medium), $10 (large)
Address: 5 Lor Geylang 29, Singapore 388060
Opening Hours: 5pm – 10pm daily except Wednesdays
Buses: 2, 13, 21, 26, 40, 51, 67, 137, 853M (Walk 2 min from bus stop 81029)
Nearest MRT station: Aljunied MRT (EW9) (Walk 8 mins from Exit B)
2. Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Mee
Said to be one of the best Hokkien prawn mee stalls, the queues are never short and would cause an average 30 – 45 minutes waiting time. However, on peak hour weekends, the wait can get up to an hour or more.
Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Mee was opened in 1966 as Mr Ng Hock Chuan’s first solo venture as the 4th song of Ng Seng 黄成, one of the two brothers who started selling Hokkien mee along Rochor Road back in the 50’s.
Their Hokkien mee is closer to the original style, where they use thin Bee Hoon and fry them till all the flavours are absorbed, served with a powerful sambal chilli. Ah Hock Fried Hokkien Mee has also been listed on the “Michelin Plate” guide!
Price: $3 (small), $4 (medium), $5 (large)
Address: 20 Kensington Road, Chomp Chomp Food Centre, Stall 27, Singapore 557269
Opening Hours: 5:30pm – 12am daily except Mondays
Buses: 73, 73T, 136, 315, 317 (Walk 1 min from bus stop 66271)
Nearest MRT station: Serangoon MRT (NE12/CC13) (Take bus 315 from Exit E)
3. Come Daily Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee
First timers may get excited when they see the empty queue, but don’t be fooled, the stall will pass you a buzzer so you can take a seat while waiting for your noodles to be done! The average waiting time is around 15-30 minutes and may get longer during peak periods.
Come Daily Fried Hokkien Mee, also known as Tian Tian Lai Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee, was first opened in 1968. It’s famously known for its creamy broth, which may be caused by their generous dosage of pork lard used. Another reason for its popularity would be over the running joke where it doesn’t open daily despite the stall’s name.
Price: $5 (small), $8 (medium), $10 (large)
Address: 127 Lor 1 Toa Payoh $02-27, Singapore (310127)
Opening Hours: 8am – 2:30pm daily except Mondays & Tuesdays
Buses: 59, 141, 231 (Walk 1 min from bus stop 52159)
Nearest MRT station: Braddell MRT (NS18) (Walk 6 mins from Exit B)
4. Hainan Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee
Hainan Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee was already popular for its drier version of Hokkien Mee & its rivalry to a stall in the same food centre. However, a recent mention on the now-disbanded NOC Food King series had blown this place up, drawing even more attention to the store. This stall has stayed consistent for more than 30 years, satisfying both their original and newer customers.
Despite them frying their noodles with the stock longer, the noodles remain springy, perfectly encapsulating the flavours and wok hei. Again, famous Hokkien prawn mee stalls have very long queues- so do expect to wait around 30 minutes or even up to an hour during peak hour!
Price: $5 per plate
Address: 505 Beach Road, Golden Mile Food Centre #B1-34, Singapore (199583)
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm daily except Mondays
Buses: 100, 961, 961M, 980 (Walk 1 min from bus stop 01421)
Nearest MRT station: Nicoll Highway MRT (CC5) (Walk 7 mins from Exit A)
5. Bedok Corner Hokkien Fried Squid & Prawn Mee
Hokkien fried prawn mee is usually cooked with pork lard, making it not halal for our Muslim Friends to eat. However, this stall manages to make the one of the best halal Hokkien fried prawn mee that tastes authentic!
Their version of the dish comes with generous amounts of squid and prawn mee, giving it a rich seafood flavour on top of the wok hei. If you’re looking for a kick of spice, the sambal belacan- made with chillies & fermented shrimp paste - compliments the dish beautifully.
Price: $4.50 (Small), $6.50 (Medium), $8.50 (Large), $10.50 (Extra Large)
Address: 1 Bedok Road, Bedok Corner Food Stall #29, Singapore 469356
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 7pm daily except Tuesday
Buses: 10, 10e, 14, 45 (Walk 2 min from bus stop 94071)
Nearest MRT station: Tanah Merah MRT (EW4) (Take bus 14, 45 from Exit B)
6. Xiao Di Fried Prawn Noodle
This stall is relatively new compared to the other stalls dating back to the 1960s, having been in the business for less than 10 years now. Despite that, they managed to earn the hearts of many with their wet version of Hokkien mee.
The chef of the stall, Terence, has been featured many times in Singaporean media as one of the up-and-coming hawker stars. He previously was working at his friend’s stall cooking Hokkien mee, carrot cake and oyster omelettes, building and perfecting his skills before venturing out alone.
Their Hokkien mee is well-known to have fresh prawns from Thailand, which have more roe for extra flavour, with cuttlefish slices, strips of tender pork belly and crispy pork lard to complete the dish. Upon ordering, you will be given a buzzer with an average waiting time of 20 minutes and above.
Price: $4.50 (Small), $5.50 (Medium)
Address: 153 Serangoon North Ave 1 #01-512, Singapore 550153
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 3pm daily except Mondays
Buses: 315 (Walk 3 min from bus stop 66301)
Nearest MRT station: Kovan MRT (NE13) (Take bus 107, 112,113, 82 from Exit B, alight after 3 stops and change to bus 55)
Fun Fact About Hokkien Prawn Mee
Hokkien prawn mee is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Some people like to add a dollop of chili paste to the broth to make it even spicier, while others like to add a squeeze of lime juice to brighten up the flavours. No matter how you like your Hokkien prawn mee, one thing is for sure – it is a delicious, comforting dish that is sure to satisfy your cravings!
Want to find out more about Singapore's food?
If you would like to learn more about the different food that Singapore offers, do consider checking out our small group tours, possibly booking and customising private tours with us or reading our mega-zine to discover where to visit next or what other interesting foods to try out!