What’s so special about soup noodles, you ask? Sure, we’ve got a huge variety of those in Singapore, but perhaps none so meticulous and precise about the ingredients as Chuan Hung. The casual new Sichuan eatery, which only serves noodles and an array of small bites, takes up a snug corner in a side alley of Telok Ayer Street, in a space furnished with wood and bamboo.
As if the cozy ambience isn’t enough, the broths arrive at your table piping hot and laden with spice, giving you the warm fuzzies inside and out.
In the kitchen, the Sichuan chefs have been through a year-long training process, from hand-grinding glutinous rice for dessert to making the drinks from scratch, and their attention to detail shows. Just like how the rice noodles aren’t hastily picked from any common, commercial manufacturer.
After months of research delving into 50 Sichuan noodle shops, the team found one with the style of Mian Yang noodles that met their specifications, only to be rejected by the owners. Finally, following almost a year of appeals made in person, signatures were doodled on the dotted line, and the village artisan started the work customizing a precise type of noodle, right down to the millimeter. Apparently, these strands found in Chuan Hung can’t be attained anywhere else in Southeast Asia.
Each order comes with a choice of clear, red, or mixed soup, as well as a chicken broth infused with Sichuan vine pepper and another dry-tossed option. If you don’t take to fiery flavors well, you’re probably better off going for the collagen-rich clear one made from simmering pork bones and lard, then adding spoonfuls of chili to your desired taste.
On the other hand, those obsessed with spice can make a beeline for the red broth, set ablaze with Sichuan peppers, pickled chillies, and dried chillies, and sweat it out with each slurp.
Once you’ve decided on the base, the small menu makes it easy for you to pick the type of noodle bowls you’re after. Braised beef ($13.50) or chicken and mushroom ($12.50) are easy comfort food choices, or you could be adventurous and sample the ox tongue with vine pepper ($14.50), chicken innards with vine pepper ($12.50), or pig intestines ($13.50).
Fret not if you’re indecisive though, you can always add on extras and other items like minced meat chili ($3.50) or fried egg ($2) to your order. Plus, small plates to share between you and your dining partner include dishes such as braised gizzard ($5.50) and pickled radish ($3.50).
We’d recommend the deceptively simple-looking but piquant braised eggplant ($4.50) topped with mounds of burnt and peeled bell pepper and green chillies ($4.50) to cut through the richness of the broth, as well as the plate of deliciously crispy pig intestines ($5.50) that you can dip in spice powder.
Braised for four hours in a blend of soy sauce, star anise, Sichuan peppers, cinnamon, and nutmeg, each bite-sized chunk is stuffed with Japanese leeks and fried. We’re no fans of innards, but these ones we’d happily chomp on all meal long.
To ease the onslaught of spice, guzzle down house-made beverages like Tea Garden ($5), a refreshing concoction of zhu ye qing green tea, grapefruit, apple, white fungus, and jujube, or try Grains Dream ($5), a thick blend of barley, watermelon, chia seeds, red dates, pandan, and rock sugar.
For dessert, let your tastebuds cool down with glutinous rice balls in a cup of sweet fermented rice liquid ($3.50) or glutinous rice curd served with black sugar syrup ($3.50).
Chuan Hung is at #01-01, 51 Telok Ayer St.
9755-1058. Mon-Fri 10am-3pm & 5pm-9pm; Sat-Sun 10am-9pm.
MRT: Telok Ayer