You've heard of the East Coast meepok wars for sure. There's an old thread in Makansutra forum discussing who's who and what happened. But to cut a long confusing story short, 132 Meepok is the original family whose patriarch took a break and passed on the skills and recipes to a protege/godson who ran Jalan Tua Kong Lau Lim. Then the 132 folks started business again. And there's been a rivalry since, much complicated by others who cashed in on the name. I hope I got it right.
But ultimately what matters most is whose meepok tastes better, regardless of how long they've been around.
Here is 132 Meepok's fishball noodles. This is the kind of meepok I have been looking for - thin, almost translucent, and definitely less starchy than say, Hill Street Tai Hwa's bak chor mee's meepok. A S$3 portion comes with calculated toppings - a deveined prawn, one fish dumpling, two fishballs, a few slices of fish cake, some minced pork and a small handful of crunchy bean-sprouts. And oh yes, pieces of crispy pork lard!
However, the sambal chili is a bit one-dimensional - it's mainly just spicy chili-heat. It could do so much better with more ikan bilis or dried shrimp, something umami. Apparently they use shallots, buah keluak and whatnot, but it still seems to be missing something.
This is the 132 stall when it was still at 53 Upper East Coast Road - it infamously drew BMWs that would be parked illegally around the narrow road.
They have since moved to .... my neighbourhood! They are now nestled within a coffeeshop at Block 59 Marine Terrace. Look out for them at MP 59 Food House (near the wet market). You'll only catch them for breakfast and lunch (they operate from 7am to 4pm). And make sure you have flexible lunch hours, as you may need to wait more than hour after taking a queue number. Well, we tried waiting once, and it was less than an hour, despite the stallowner's estimate.
Now for the offshoot that's Jalan Tua Kong Lau Lim, the self-dubbed "Art of Mee Pok"...they look like a big, busy franchise with lots of uniformed staff bustling around.
Well, the noodles were almost similar, maybe just a bit starchier and slightly more soggy here. And the toppings seem to be exactly the same (the chili padi I added for some colour). However, the fishballs don't seem as fresh, the soup not as tasty, and the whole bowl was pretty oily. It coats your mouth with oil from the very first bite. Even a big, gruff guy who had finished his meal commented to himself as he passed our table, "Too oily!"
I don't know if we were just unlucky that day, or if this is the usual fare.
So ultimately, for me, 132 Meepok still gets my vote. Even though the chili is more balanced at Jalan Tua Kong's, the oiliness of the whole thing is a deal-breaker.
After tasting two meepoks in one sitting on a very hot day, we needed to calm our tummies down with an ice-cold dessert! The cendol from a sub-unit at the Jalan Tua Kong mee pok shophouse was not too bad. Well, it had a whole lot more ingredients than the cheng tng! There's a yong tau foo sub-unit that's quite popular too.
132 MEE POK
Block 59 Marine Terrace
#01-105 MP 59 Food House
Open 7am - 4pm
Closed Mondays and 3rd Sundays of the month
JALAN TUA KONG LAU LIM MEE POK
308 Bedok Road, Bedok Shopping Centre
Open 7.30am – 5pm
Closed Alt Mondays