Best la mian in Singapore

We salute these restaurants, where noodles are still laboriously pulled by hand.
By epicure
Published on Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012

ZI YEAN RESTAURANT
Zi Yean offers a variety of different flavoured la mian but the one that tickled our taste buds the most is their stewed beef la mian. The gnao lam is fork-tender, well-marinated, and come in generous huge chunks. The noodles are smooth, delicate and each strand delectably coated with flavourful spice-rich beef stew sauce. Blk 56 Lengkok Bahru, #01-443. Tel: 6474 0911

SHANGHAI REN JIA
At Shanghai Ren Jia, the noodles have an artisanal character to them and are made fresh daily. Any leftovers are discarded because no preservatives are used so the noodles can’t keep for long. Not that they have to worry about that; their la mian sell out every day. Lightly tossed with shallot oil, the noodles are springy, chewy and like the owner Mr Zhang says, taste full of ‘xin’ (heart), as every bowl has been prepared with meticulous care and passion. Blk 151 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5, #01-3046. Tel: 6368 6927

JING HUA RESTAURANT
Most will probably remember Jing Hua Restaurant as Qun Zhong Eating House. Greeted by a snaking queue, we waited a good half an hour before being seated but it was well worth it. The noodles have thicker strands than your typical la mian, but this also meant a more robust and firm bite. The zha jiang mian sauce has a fermented soybean flavour that lends a nice boost of umami, and the accompanying shredded cucumber and bean sprouts also give a refreshing crunch. 21 Neil Road, Tel: 6221 3060

SWEE CHOON TIM SUM RESTAURANT
Don’t be put off by the layer of spicy peanut oil on first glance; it renders heat to the dish and also serves to bind all the ingredients in Swee Choon’s Sichuan Dan Dan la mian together. The peanuts that form the base of the sauce have been tediously fried over a high fire, resulting in a nutty roasted fragrance. The noodles are chewy and smooth, and together with the delicious sauce, it was no surprise that we slurped the bowl clean. 191 Jalan Besar, Tel: 6294 5292. Book a table at Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant with Chope.

IMPERIAL TREASURE LA MIAN XIAO LONG BAO
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We are glad that the chefs have kept the La Mian with Stewed Beef Brisket among the la mian items on its menu after so many years: a simple, almost unembellished, serving of al dente hand-pulled noodles in an aromatic broth with gelatinous strips of beef brisket. For a little extra kick, douse some chilli oil and let the juicy, stewed meat soak up the spicy touches.  #02-138J Marina Square. Tel: 6338 2212

LAN ZHOU LA MIAN
Sure, it could do something about the corny décor—a flamboyant pastiche of photographs showing diners stretching a sinewy dough with the shop’s owner— but this narrow little eatery in Smith Street still makes one of the best la mian dishes in town. The noodles, which are pulled fresh after your orders, are thick and springy. The bestsellers here are the pork rib la mian and the minced pork la mian. The latter is drenched in a sticky bean sauce, which clings to every delicious strand of the noodles. 19 Smith Street. Tel: 6327 1286

CRYSTAL JADE LA MIAN XIAO LONG BAO
Hand pulled noodles play such a starring role here that there are eight different types of la mian offered, from the thin threads of ‘dragon beard’ and thicker ‘broad face’, to the coarser squares of ‘hand teared’ dough. Our favourite is still the traditional, chilled and served on the side of poached spicy Sichuan chicken to calm the building burn on your tongue. 241/241A Holland Avenue, Holland Village. Tel: 6463 0968

LAO BEIJING
Here’s when you know the la mian at Lao Beijing is up to the mark: when it’s dry tossed with nothing else but scallion-infused oil and still packs a tasty, textural bite. It’s just the dish to enjoy with a basket of steaming dumplings, but if you prefer a one-dish meal, pick the lu mian, which comes with a savoury braised sauce and pieces of flattened beancurd. #02-11/12 Velocity@Novena Square, 238 Thomson Road. Tel: 6358 4466

SAVOR REY LA MIAN XIAO LONG BAO RESTAURANT [CLOSED]
The hole in the wall spot is brimming with office workers at lunch time who come in for the eatery’s artisanal hand pulled noodles. Each strand is not exactly the same thickness as it is after all handmade and the texture is springy and soft without being too soggy. The dandan mian, a slightly peppery dish with bits of minced pork, beans and carrots, hits the spot if you are craving something simple; top up with more soy sauce if you don’t find it salty enough. We also liked the flavourful Hebei noodle spiced up with chilli oil, lamb and Indian caraway seeds. 3 Kampong Bahru Road. Tel: 6223 5038

SHOU LA SHOU BEIJING RESTAURANT
A strong wave of vinegary aroma hits you the moment you step into Shou La Shou Beijing Restaurant.  But after your senses acclimatise, you won’t even notice it. The ja jiang noodles were dressed sparsely with salty minced meat sauce, julienned cucumbers and bean sprouts but the noodles had a good chew and bounce to it. 141/143 Jalan Besar Road. Tel: 6297 1398