Bak Chor Mee, or minced meat noodles for the anglicised reader, is a popular hawker noodle dish that is found almost exclusively in Singapore, Malaysia and several regions in the Guangdong province in China.
The origins of the humble bowl likely stemmed from the Teochew community, and stripped to its bare minimum, it is quite literally bak chor (minced meat) and mee (noodles). The dish is a little different depending on which country you’re dining in, but in Singapore, bak chor mee can be categorised into two versions: soup or dry.
The soup variant is a test of the chef’s skill in broth-making: the clear, light-tasting soup is littered with a cloudy mix of minced pork and fats, the perfect accompaniment to the thin eggy yellow noodles. Meatballs and a healthy scoop of chopped chilli slices garnish the noodles for a warm, spicy bowl that’s great for chilly, rainy days.
As for dry bak chor mee, the secret ingredient lies in the chilli-vinegar sauce. Thick, wavy mee pok noodles are tossed this special sauce, laying the foundation for juicy slices of stewed mushroom, minced pork and glorious pieces of deep-fried lard. Other additional ingredients like pork liver, wontons, and fish balls vary from stall to stall.
8 places for the best bak chor mee in Singapore:
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East-siders will definitely be familiar with this stall, located at the beloved Bedok 85 Fengshan Market & Food Centre. These delightful bowls come with springy noodles and a flavoursome broth, and the aromatic fried garlic bits on top make the dining experience a mouthwatering one for sure. Make sure to stop by during non-peak hours, otherwise, expect a snaking queue.
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If you’re craving for a bowl of Bak Chor Mee in the CBD, get your fix at Soon Heng Pork Noodles in Tanjong Pagar. The broth here is pleasantly light and easy on the palate while staying true to the meaty flavour of the pork, and they’ve also added a couple of silky meat wontons in the soup as an extra ingredient as well. Soon Heng Pork Noodles has another outlet in Ang Mo Kio as well.
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Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle has always been popular amongst those in the know, but after consistently earning a Michelin Star from 2016 to 2022, the fanbase of the humble stall has definitely multiplied. Here, find vinegary bowls of dry mee pok perfectly complemented by perfectly cooked slices of pork and liver. The crunchy pieces of fried sole fish give the dish a lot more texture than other stalls out there, and the dumplings also add a distinctive bite to the dish. Be warned: the queue here can be as long as 90 minutes during peak periods.
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Although often mistaken for its Michelin-starred competitor above, Tai Wah Pork Noodle is just as commendable when it comes to bak chor mee, especially when it’s also been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand. Here, expect a base laced with a delicious mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, and chilli, all of which coat the springy noodles and minced meat, tender pork slices, and liver. The soup is just as flavoursome here; expect a hearty serving dumplings, meatballs and seaweed to come with.
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More fondly referred to as Taman Jurong BCM, 58 Minced Meat Noodle is famous for their thick, robust pork broth that’s full of garlicky goodness. Apart from springy noodles cooked al dente, find a generous serving of pork lard sprinkled on top for an aromatic experience unlike any other. Similar to other stalls, 58 Minced Meat Noodle will serve a bowl of the warm, meaty soup on the side if you order the dry variant so that you won’t miss out on its mouthwatering broth.
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Nothing says comfort food like a steaming bowl of bak chor mee soup, and the one at Seng Kee Bak Chor Mee proves to be one of the best ones in Singapore. The thick, almost gelatinous soup is laden with generous servings of minced pork, tender pork liver and silky smooth fish maw. Even their sliced mushrooms are full of flavour: they are braised for at least four hours to a perfect savoury-sweetness that cannot be recreated elsewhere.
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You’ll always find thick, bouncy noodles at Lai Heng Mushroom Minced Meat Noodles if you order the dry version of the dish here. While some may prefer their noodles to absorb every lick of gravy in the bowl, we prefer this dish on days when we’re not looking for something overly rich. The soup version is equally delightful, as each ingredient in the dish comes together to create a balanced, delicate flavour that you won’t forget.
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The dry bak chor mee here at Macpherson Minced Meat Noodles is a beautiful blend of spicy-vinegary goodness, elevated by the springy noodles, tender pork slices and juicy mushroom pieces. The soup version is pretty good too if you’re looking for something to cheer you up on a cold day, but the dry version is the one we recommend first-timers to get. Besides their bowls of delicious Minced Meat Noodles, the stall also has a following amongst fans for their fish ball noodles, chicken feet noodles, and Xiao Wan Mian.
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This story was first published on Lifestyle Asia Singapore