Dumpling Soup in a White Color Bowl


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Just off Serangoon Road in Singapore, on the 4th floor City Square Mall’s Food Republic is a small hawker stall that serves the best cure-all soup I’ve ever tasted. If you’re feeling blue, homesick, or just under the weather, find your way to Qiu Lian Ban Mian and order the #5 Dumpling Ban Mee Soup. I realize this may be a tad out of the way for many of you, but should you find yourself nearby, it’s well worth a visit.

Ban Mian is a handmade Chinese thick noodle served in an addictive Asian chicken broth that I’ve been trying to replicate for years. (If any of my old Singaporean pals have a good recipe, please send it my way!).

First the noodles go in the bottom of the bowl, the broth is added, and then some xiao bai cai (little white cabbage). Next, two or three enormous pork wontons are gingerly placed on top of the noodles. The wontons alone would be enough for any meal. A common accompaniment in many Asian dishes is a raw egg. It is cracked on top, cooked by the heat of the broth and adds a richness and depth to the soup. And finally, the bowl is garnished with small anchovies, fried shallots, and a few drops of chili oil.

I first discovered this dish while in the midst of a horrible head cold. The steaming broth and kick from the chili oil opened my nasal passages enough to allow my tastebuds to luxuriate in this heavenly dish. I am convinced that it has healing properties and I would return for more whenever I had a bad day or wasn’t feeling 100%.

Although I’ve bombed out on all of my attempts to make this dish, I have hope that one day it will all come together. If not, I’ll just have to save up those frequent flyer miles and return. I don’t think traveling half way around the globe for a bowl of soup is too excessive, do you?

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