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'Something is missing': YouTube duo from BenRanAway try the 'best reviewed ban mian in Singapore'

'Something is missing': YouTube duo from BenRanAway try the 'best reviewed ban mian in Singapore'
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/BenRanAway

Ban mian is an underrated dish in Singapore. While it might not be as popular as, let’s say, chicken rice or chilli crab, this dish can stand on its own merit. 

On that note, YouTubers Ben Toh and Randy Toh, accompanied by the channel's producer Rachel, were on the hunt for the "best reviewed ban mian in Singapore".

In a YouTube video posted last Sunday (Dec 24), the trio researched and settled for Prince Noodles at Jalan Besar, which has a rating of 4.6 stars with more than 160 Google reviews.

Before ordering, Ben spoke to the owner who mentioned that he was from Kuala Lumpur (KL) and that the stall specialised in KL-style ban mian. 

The menu was pretty straightforward, offering the dry and soup versions with three types of noodles (ban mian, you mian and mee hoon kueh), alongside add-ons like onsen egg, fishball, razor clam, Taiwanese meatball and more. 

The trio got both variations to try, which were made fresh upon ordering. 

Right off the bat, Randy mentioned that both dishes didn’t come with egg, which he noted was a typical ingredient found in ban mian. 

That said, he did highlight that you can choose to add the egg from the aforementioned list of add-on ingredients. 

Both versions offered noodles, minced meat, vegetables, ikan bilis and fried shallots. 

"For $5.50, I feel this is a decent size," Randy mentioned, before diving into the soup bowl. 

The verdict? 

Randy found the soup run-of-the-mill and mentioned that "something is missing", which was the egg.

As for the handmade noodles, he found it bouncy and chewy compared to other places where the noodles tend to clump together. 

"This ban mian is not very salty," Ben added, noting that sometimes the dish can be salty with ingredients like ikan bilis in the mix. 

Rachel also praised the ban mian, especially the minced pork, for being well seasoned. 

However, she mentioned that the dish was missing a creaminess to the soup, which the egg would've provided. 

Up next was the dry ban mian. 

As they were mixing all the ingredients, they noticed that the dish didn’t come with chilli.

Randy mentioned that the most important aspect of dry ban mian was the chilli, mentioning that that was what KL-style ban mian was known for.

After confirming with the owner that there was no chilli, they managed to get chilli padi and garlic chilli on the side.

They decided to try it first without the chilli, and Randy found the flavours to be good and he loved the black sauce. But he did mention that the dish was missing the chill and the egg as well. 

Rachel praised the bowl of noodles for its "QQ texture" despite it being left out for a while. On top of that, she appreciated the generous portion of vegetables as well. 

Her only gripe was the lack of egg, which she noted would've given the “noodles a creamy texture”.

Overall Rachel, who was not a fan of spicy food, mentioned that the dry ban mian tasted good even without the chilli.

Randy then added a generous amount of chilli to the half-eaten bowl despite Ben cautioning him. 

"Chilli ban mian must be spicy then nice what [sic]," Randy mentioned. 

After trying the spicy version, Randy liked it but Ben found it too spicy. 

Despite the heat, Ben found the chilli to be fragrant and mentioned how it elevated the whole dish. 

For Rachel, after taking a bite from one strand of noodle, she started to cough. Despite finding it extremely spicy, she mentioned the chilli was good. 

In the video, Randy and Ben shared a little fun fact about ban mian: "The current style is a mix between the traditional methods of Hakka and Hokkien."

For the uninitiated, ban mian means 'board noodle' or 'block noodle', according to a quick search online. 

The name references the original way of creating the noodles from dough, "which involved tearing off a piece and rolling it out, leaving an irregularly shaped rectangle or square noodle".

ALSO READ: It may not be the end: Son of retired Ah Ma who owned Maxwell Teochew Rice & Porridge might take over stall

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