Newton Food Centre is probably one of the last places that Singaporean foodies would head to for good food.
So when a friend suggested it, admittedly, I scoffed but met her there anyway.
Last Thursday night, the one stall that I didn't mind (it sells popiah) was closed. Just my luck.
Then I remembered a prawn noodle stall I used to frequent from time to time, back when the hawker centre was a smoky maze of rows with low ceilings.
Whenever I ordered the prawn noodles there, I would ask the boss nicely if he could shell the prawns for me. He would invariably let out a grunt then ignore me or say no and tell me to do it myself.
Maybe I was younger then and could probably get away with a lot more, but whenever the bowl arrived, the prawns would always be shelled, with the head and tail still intact.
I am almost certain that Newton Tian Xiang Big Prawn Noodle is that same stall, but now run by the second generation.
I didn't ask for the prawns to be shelled this time but, to my delight, they came shelled, head and tail intact.
For $4, you get a bowl of springy noodles with three fresh prawns, intestinal tracts removed. It also has cubes of lard which are small and crisp and melt in the mouth.
The mildly spicy but exceedingly aromatic sambal is the one component that truly brings the dish together. It adds more texture and is just salty enough. But the prawn soup is clear and not exactly rich in umami flavour.
Still, there is certainly some good food on offer at the hawker centre, despite its reputation as a tourist trap.
I'm not sure if I've become a Newton Food Centre convert, but I'll be back for popiah and prawn noodles again soon.
NEWTON TIAN XIANG BIG PRAWN NOODLE
Where: Newton Food Centre, Newton Circus, 01-60
Open: 5.30pm to 2am (Sunday to Thursday), 5.30pm to 3am (Friday and Saturday)
This article was first published on July 27, 2014.
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