Just before we go into today’s post, I’d like to apologise for the huge time gap since the last post. I won’t make up excuses and will just leave it as a bump in the road. Now it’s time to move forward and resume my sharing of value food joints in Singapore.
So I’m glad to share that I’ve made a couple of new foodie friends and one of them comes from across the globe. A fast adopter of technology and lifestyle apps, he’s already an expert in navigating the small roads here, constantly on the lookout for tasty hot spots. I look forward to sharing our newfound food adventures with you guys.
Today’s entry was more of an inspired, spontaneous visit for us. The idea of this visit surfaced when I made up my mind to get back into pursuing my passion for value food joints, and decided to get our visitor friend involved. J.B. Ah Meng was one of the places he bookmarked and while it wasn’t exactly a meat joint, we agreed that it’s best to get started first then refine future visits towards the direction of beefier / meatier options.
From what I’ve gathered, this place serves dishes that have been inspired by our closest neighbouring city JB, hence the naming. So it’s really an opportunity for Singaporeans to get a taste of authentic JB hawker food without having to join the congested traffic over on the causeway. Tasty JB food without the traffic jam? Consider me sold.
Now I know this isn’t a “meaty” entry, but because of the decent value I enjoyed here, I think it’s worth a spot here. The first dish that came up was the Salted Egg Prawn Roll ($20), which isn’t what some of you might think it is. Firstly, it’s not served ngor hiang style, and it’s more of a dry dish with salted egg flavours worked into the batter. So none of that one-batter-just-different-sauce stuff here. And I loved how the salted egg flavours hit me when biting into each prawn “roll”. Of all salted egg prawn dishes I’ve tried, I can proclaim that this one is the most authentic. It really feels like I’m biting into actual salted egg. No diluted gravy with a faint flavour…just tongue-delighting awesome flavours. I’m also pleased with the size of the prawns and if I’m not mistaken, these little buggers have been de-veined, which is a massive plus for me. Have to admit though, that after a couple of prawns, it started to feel a little heavy and jaded. The accompanying corn covered in the same batter didn’t seem to break the onslaught of salted egg flavours. I give it a 9/10.
Next that arrived was the San Lou Bee Hoon ($11). The first impression was this mono-coloured dish of bee hoon, prawns, egg and squid all projecting the same shade of brown. As someone who doesn’t like his greens, it was an inviting sight. There was a twist though because there were vegetables (gasp!) and they were simply kept at the bottom, for diners who you know…actually eat them. Despite the “boring” appearance, the flavours were really good. It was fragrant and the noodles really soaked up all the seasoning and tied the ingredients together. They were soft and had the right level of saltiness. The egg was cooked well, without being too dry. I did find the squid slightly too chewy and the dish was a smidge too oily for my taste. It’s definitely comfort food which will not disappoint. 8/10.
When I first laid eyes on the place and its decor, a bit of nostalgia came over me. I remember going to similar ‘Zi Char’ places with my family in the past. They used to be noisy gatherings during special occasions where I always found myself wolfing down the food while piling on the carbohydrates. Naturally as age and sloth caught up with me, I had to hold back a little if I didn’t want to constantly buy bigger clothes every quarter. These images of previous family meet-ups definitely came into mind when I joined the queue before getting a table.
I loved the plain, white-painted walls that only contained pictures of the founder with various people (celebrities included). It’s sort of tacky but in a local, familiar kind of way. Personally, I think it’s got a spacious feel despite having only a couple of feet space between tables.
The service is fairly prompt and they don’t blatantly ignore you just because they’re busy. I didn’t get service with a smile, but that’s not really expected in a no-frills place like this. All in all, a good feel.
Should You Try It?
If you’re a fan of hawker style, comfort food from JB then yes. I highly recommend at least trying this place once, and starting with the fried bee hoon.
J.B. Ah Meng
534 Geylang Rd,
Mon – Sun: 5:30 pm – 2:30 am
Tel: +65 6741 2418
Are you a fellow meater? Subscribe to my mailing list and
join my hunt for the best steak in Singapore.