I love success stories of hawker legacies. Especially those rooted in humble backalley beginnings.
One of these stories is Hock Lam Beef Noodle, a beef noodle specialist that's managed to stay relevant and popular through the adage of time, despite the baton having been handed over four generations. That's no mean feat, considering that when most famed hawkers retire their wok and spatula, their food
consequently dies off. If the trade is passed onto the younger set,
whether by franchising or inheritance, the food that's made the hawker
much beloved goes down a notch. Or more.
Through the years and in spite the odds, Hock Lam Beef Noodle has grown from a little hawker setup to a proper restaurant outfit, albeit a low-frills one. And now that they've branched out to the south at Alexandra Retail Centre, apart from the original in the CBD, they've also diversified their menu to include a bunch of beef-centric cze char items. Smart move, I think, expanding their customer base and reach like this.
The Sliced Beef Kway Teow Dry ($8.80) was slathered with a thick gooey gravy rich with the essence of beef and accented with herbal elements. I liked that while it was intensely flavourful, it didn't get cloyingly so, and the herbal elements accentuated rather than overwhelmed. The beef was done sukiyaki style, so it was tender without reeking of artificial tenderiser.
The soupy version, Sliced Beef Kway Teow ($8.80) was pure comfort in the current wet weather spell we've been experiencing. The beansprouts lent a refreshing lift while julienned salted vegetables provided a sour zing.
The Beef Balls Egg Noodles Dry ($8.50) was topped off with 5 springy juicy spheres of fine mince.
The Chunky and Sliced Beef Egg Noodles Dry ($8.90) mixed up thicker cuts of beef with thinner ones. Both were just as meltingly tender as the other.
The chilli, bright and moderately punchy, was served alongside with complimentary braised peanuts.
Very much attuned to the locals' love for the Japanese-style soft boiled egg, Hock Lam now offers Lava Egg ($1.50), which has quickly become a popular add-on option. This had a more robust and distinctively Chinese seasoning than its Japanese counterpart, but the texture was just perfect.
Hock Lam Beef
Alexandra Retail Centre #02-24
Tel: 6272 9945
Open weekdays from 10am to 9pm; weekends from 11am to 9pm