Bak chor mee is a dish many locals hold dear. Just about everyone has a go-to stall, favourite type of noodle and strong opinions about the perfect mix of condiments (extra chilli and more black vinegar, please!).
So, even though we know full well that owner-chef Han Li Guang is known for reinterpreting local classics, one is still taken aback when served Restaurant Labyrinth’s version of this national dish.
First impressions count, and the colourful bowl of noodles doesn’t look any different from what one would expect. But tuck into it and familiar yet unusual flavours start to develop in the mouth. Instead of regular mee pok, Han uses saffron-infused sliced squid to mimic flat egg noodles in his seafood-inspired version. “Minced pork” is replaced with olive powder and anchovies, and sliced Hokkaido scallops take the place of fishcakes. To tie the moreish goodness together, there’s of course dried shrimp sambal and a good dash of black vinegar.
This standout dish is just one of many during our three-hour dinner. Other memorable ones include a modernised Hainanese curry rice that has potato cooked in edible grey clay, chicken mousseline coloured black with squid ink accompanied with a curried quinoa, beef hor fun that is made with A4 Ohmi beef and turnip strips in place of noodles, and century egg porridge that is turned into a dessert with soya beancurd, grass jelly and salted egg custard. Mind-tripping at its best, we’d say.
#02-23 Esplanade Mall