The key to perfecting prawn noodles – or hae mee, as most of us locals know it – is undoubtedly its broth. The richer and more robust the broth is, the better. Sometimes, the ante is upped with a unique take on the classic dish. Case in point? Ebi Bar’s Signature “Chao Da” Ebi Noodles.
A homegrown concept helmed by Head Chef Jeff Tong, Ebi Bar is a new modern Singaporean noodle bar that’s tucked away in Cuppage Plaza’s basement. It aims to elevate local cuisine while staying true to our heritage, and it has really hit the nail on the head with its contemporary take on everyone’s favourite prawn noodles.
AVENUE ONE had the privilege of trying Ebi Bar’s signature dish, a new item on the menu, as well as delicious sides at a recent media tasting session. Keep reading to find out which our favourites were.
Signature dishes at Ebi Bar
The noodle bar’s Signature “Chao Da” (Charred) Ebi Noodles (S$14.90) are served in a dim sum basket, with a pair of tiger prawns sitting atop a bed of noodles. Working with the simplest of ingredients, the springy ramen soaked up the sweet yet savoury prawn broth beautifully. The tiger prawns were also charred to perfection, which packs a punch of flavour on the palate. You’re getting a generous helping of noodles here, so if you’re famished, this dish will fill your belly up nicely.
Little did we know, the rich and flavourful broth takes eight to 10 hours to prepare, using approximately 40 kilograms of prawn shells and heads. They’re fried and boiled down to release their umami flavour, so you’ll be able to taste the labour of love. This broth is a base of every noodle dish served at Ebi Bar, including the Ebi & Vege-Crispy Fritter Noodles (S$12.90) and the Pan Seared Chicken Noodles (S$10.90).
If you want to feel like a food scientist, elevate your broth with Truffle, Mala, and Miso-flavoured Broth Booster Shots. Served in test tube vials, these doses of flavour can intensify your soup base depending on your preference.
Of the trio, our personal favourite was the Truffle Booster (S$2.50), the most popular choice among customers. While it doesn’t sound like a good idea to whisk truffle into an already rich prawn broth, the subtle but deep aroma of the Truffle Booster actually turns the dish into a gourmet taste experience. The trick is to not go overboard – only drizzle a tiny amount at a time.
We also enjoyed the Mala Booster Shot (S$1.90), which adds a hint of spice to the broth and noodles. Don’t expect a tongue-numbing experience, though – the flavour is really subtle.
Finally, we have the Miso Broth Booster (S$1.90). As we had predicted, the strong umami flavour of miso overwhelmed the prawn broth, so it’s an option we’ll skip the next time we head down to Ebi Bar for a meal.
An exciting new addition to Ebi Bar’s menu is the Signature “Chao Da” (Charred) Ebi Pao Fan (S$18.90). Unlike traditional “pao fan” (poached rice), chef Jeff drew inspiration from days of old, where food was cooked over charcoal. This lends a nice, smokey finish to the prawn broth.
The dish features a bowl of poached rice, a pair of their signature charred prawns, and pan-seared chicken surrounded by a delicious broth. It’s topped with Ebi Bar’s crispy “pao fan poppin’ toppings” too, made of homemade fried puffed rice and fried dried shrimps (hae bee), which adds a lovely crunch to every bite.
To up the umami factor and take your meal to luxurious heights, try the Soul-Good Luxe Noodles (S$39.90). It comes served with a lobster and prawn that are also charred to perfection, as well as scallops and lightly pan-seared chicken – all drenched in a rich, flavourful broth.
Savoury sides you have to try
No bar experience is complete without a serving of sides. Order the Salted Mackerel Fried Chicken (S$6.90), which is a nod to the traditional har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken). The crispy golden fried chicken that’s marinated with salted mackerel has the same signature crunch, but it’s much more palatable. We couldn’t get enough of this one.
Another savoury side we tried was the Ah Ma’s Achar Gone Fancy (S$4.90). True to its name, the tangy Nonya achar is topped with jellyfish for a slippery, chewy texture.
Where to find Ebi Bar