Mention Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee to anyone and you will be sure to receive many hearty compliments across the generations. Since its roots in the 40s, the recipe behind Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee has been passed down through the generations. Now Albert Ng, the family’s third generation, has taken up the mantle and will be expanding the business with Nam Sing’s first West-side stall at Blk 177 Bukit Batok West Ave 8, Get Together Coffee Shop.
Albert explains, “As the third generation, I want to keep my family’s legacy alive and to keep it growing, while maintaining the same recipe, quality, and consistency our customers know and love.”
It is rare for a family business to be able to trace their roots to the beginning but Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee is able to do just that. Patriarchs Ng Tong and Ng Seng started the business in the 40s as street hawkers, feeding coolies who wanted something comforting and hearty after a long backbreaking word day. Those days, the noodles were fried over a charcoal stove and after rounds of trial and error, the brothers settled on the family recipe and started selling the noodles for 10 – 50 cents.
When Albert’s father, Ng Hock Wah, turned 18, his grandfather gave him his blessing to open his own stall and he opened a street stall outside a coffee house called Nam Sing Coffee House. When the authorities required all hawkers to be moved to hawker centres, he named his stall after the old coffee shop and moved to Simon Road. He was there from 1963 to 1990 before moving to Old Airport Road Hawker Centre on 8 August 1991.
Albert elaborates, “We have such a rich family history; we feel like we are ingrained in Singapore’s hawker culture and have seen the many changes hawkers have faced throughout the years. It is this that keeps me going, and is the driving force behind what I do. Opening in the West has been something we wanted to do for a while as it is one of the top requests from our regulars living here. I’m glad we are able to do so, and hope to open more in the future to bring Nam Sing across the island and beyond.”
Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee still uses the same techniques created by the first generation, following a very specific recipe set by Ng Tong and Ng Seng. Firstly, instead of using yellow noodles and thick bee hoon, Nam Sing uses thin bee hoon from the same supplier they used from the 1940s. The noodles easily absorb the bold flavours of the prawn and meat broth the noodles are stir-fried in, while lending the entire dish a subtle wok hei fragrance without masking the broth flavours.
Secondly, Nam Sing soaks the noodles in the broth for a few minutes for absorption, and then fried to get the wok hei texture. Broth is then added again to give it that beloved texture. The key to creating the perfect dish of Hokkien Fried Mee is in the mastery in controlling the fire and the cooking of the noodles. It is a process that cannot be rushed to allow the flavours to fully develop. The whole process takes 20 mins, but the result is so worth it! A plate of Nam Sing’s signature Hokkien Fried Mee is priced from $5 onwards.
To ensure the same quality as the original, the ingredients are checked by Albert and his father and 90% of the preparation will be at the respective outlets. Albert adds, “It is very important to us that the quality stays the same across our outlets. We have taken all the learnings, feedback and experience gathered from our years in the business, to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes again.”
Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee (Bukit Batok)
Where: Blk 177 Bukit Batok West Ave 8 Get Together Coffee Shop Singapore 650177
When: Monday to Sunday, 11am to 9pm
Facebook: Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee
Accepts cash only. Also available on Deliveroo, Foodpanda and GrabFood (to be launched)