The next time you order a bowl of wonton mee, don’t be surprised if it comes with sides like spicy whole quail and a chrysanthemum-tea cocktail to chase it down.

This is one possible future of hawker fare, as young chefs look for innovative ways to improve current versions. Take Wanton, for example. The new noodle bar at 52 Amoy Street, which opened at the end of June, is a joint venture between the famous Seng’s wonton noodle stall at Dunman Food Centre and The Establishment Group, which owns modern European restaurant Pluck and Gem Bar.

Batalong Egg 1
The Batalong Egg with spicy mayo on Wanton’s menu is a local derivative of the Scotch egg.
“We felt that there were many upscale restaurants doing this, and Wanton was created to be a more inviting environment,” says Ken Tan, creative director of The Establishment Group. Says Benson Ng, co-owner of Wanton: “The original owner did his part in providing good wonton mee for everyone, but I want to take it to the next level and make it even better.”

The 28-year-old shares that he uses finer dumpling skin for juicier wonton and imports premium cuts like Spanish pork belly for the char siew. He acquired Seng’s noodle stall two years ago.

Bowl of wanton bowl
Fill your bowl with plump wonton and Spanish char siew.

Ng is not alone in doing this. Tan Ken Loon, owner of The Naked Finn, uses a combination of wild-caught giant red shrimp and dried sakura shrimp to make the intensely flavoured broth for his hae mee tng (prawn noodle soup). He also serves up iberico pork lard and distilled prawn oil as condiments at his Gillman Barracks restaurant.

The Naked Finn‘s hae mee tng (prawn noodle soup).
 Meanwhile, at Grub Noodle Bar in Pickering Street, diners get to choose from choice cuts like grainfed angus ribeye or sirloin to accompany their bowl of beef noodles.
The beef noodles at Grub Noodle Bar sport high-grade beef options.

And where diners might once have closed their eyes to what exactly goes into their bowl of noodles, these new improved versions could afford them some relief at finally knowing the provenance of their beef or pork. Come to think of it, an idea worth exporting to China, then?