I twice rejected the invitation by TamJai SamGor Mixian at Chinatown Point and chose to pay an anonymous visit to write a fair and honest review.
Truthfully, I wasn’t interested at it at all despite that it was recognised by Michelin Bib Gourmand for three years. (I don’t care for accolades.) It was established in 1996 and has over 60 outlets in Hong Kong. But my Hong Kong friends living in Singapore recommended it highly, saying that there is no difference in taste between the Singapore’s outlet and the Hong Kong’s. It reminds them of home in a time when they cannot fly.
The first visit can be disorientating to customers as it was to us. There are two ways to order:
- Customisation: You can choose your toppings, your soup base (Ma la, charred pepper, Chongqing hot & sour, hot & sour, tomato, clear, vegetarian) and your spicy level (10 levels to choose from)! For the spicy levels, please take note that their 1/2 mild (2小辣, Level 6) is equivalent to the medium spicy 中辣 at ma la xiang guo stalls. Adjust to your spice level according.
- Be lazy like us. Just order the cross-bridge mixian (过桥米线, $12.80) which includes pork, beef, chicken, fishcake, fishball, cuttlefish ball, pork belly, pork liver, beansprouts, beancurd skin, tau pok, chives, bamboo, lettuce, pickled cabbaged, and minced pork. You can then choose your soup base and your spice level.
As you may have noticed, there are no options for types of noodles (or at least we didn’t see any options). But hey they have “mixian” (Yunnan rice noodles) in their shop name, so why bother going for other types?
We kinda got tricked by the server. One bowl of cross-bridge mixian is quite huge, and can easily feed two grown men like us. But the server said we should order two bowls. One bowl, we had the ma la broth, and the other, we had the charred pepper broth.
The ma la broth is one-dimensional and boring, spicy but not numbing. Without depth. The charred pepper broth, which tastes like cumin and pepper, is choking and earthy, hard to swallow.
The mixian is nothing special but the ingredients are fresh and ample.
My eating companion said it best, “The ingredients and broth are not as good as Yang Guo Fu Mala Tang, the noodles aren’t not as memorable and unique as Chuan Hung. There is really no reason to come here.”
Besides the mains, they are also known for their side, Tu Fei chicken ($4.80, 3 wings / $6.80, 5 wings). Tu Fei chicken to Hong Kongers is like har jeong gai (prawn-paste chicken) to Singaporeans. The basic ingredient is cumin. It is okay. Not a must-order for us.
I think Hong Kongers like the restaurant for sentimental reasons, but we cannot appreciate the taste. It’s not awful, and if I walk by and see that it’s empty when other restaurants are packed, I would walk in. But I won’t queue or purposefully pay it a visit. Including drinks, we paid $40 for two persons.
TamJai SamGor Singapore
Chinatown Point #01-01, 133 New Bridge Rd, Singapore 059413
t: +6223 1167
11am – 10pm daily
You may be interested in…
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–Jeh O Chula, Bangkok: 2-hour Queue for Michelin Bib Gourmand Instant Noodles
–Quan Ji 權記, Amoy Street Food Centre: Decent Cze Char Best Known for their “Yellow Cloth” Noodles
–Ka Soh, College Road: Michelin Bib Gourmand Cze Char & Fish Soup Noodles
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.
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