I was supposed to be in the Midwest this week but a confluence of events (incl. weather) nixed those plans.
So I was sort of left to my own devices and as it would happen I had the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your perspective of things) of sampling alot of Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles (or 星洲炒米粉).
What is Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles, you ask? Well, first, despite its nomenclature, it is not fried rice. The "rice" -- you see -- is an adjective and not a noun in that tongue-twister of a name.
Thus, Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles is really a Singaporean take on that delectable and perhaps more well known version of stir-fried rice noodles popularized by Taiwanese joints, i.e. "tsao mi fun" if you speak Mandarin, or "tsa bi whun" if you are OG and speak in Taiwanese, or if you are hardcore and read/write Chinese ... 炒米粉.
But, wait, there's more. Here in the States the versions of Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles is not really Singaporean. Huh, you ask? Well, in Singapore (or most of SE Asia) from what I understand this dish is made with ketchup and chili sauce.
But having traversed the Pacific to make it here, the Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles you find here in SGV is made with (get this!) curry -- and not even real Indian curry powder, but that packaged curry paste stuff you find in the dry goods aisle in your favorite Ranch 99 Market, Hong Kong Market, etc..
Ok, enough with the pointless history lesson.
Here's a very limited rundown on some of the Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles you can find in SGV.
HARBOUR KITCHEN -- Best in show and taste
1411 S Garfield Ave, Alhambra
Noodles are cooked just right, not chewy but still tender. Vegetables are al dente, meaning they are crunchy and not greasy at all. In fact, the whole dish is not greasy. The meats -- pork, shrimp, chicken and scallops (?), are all well-seasoned. A nice touch. Good spicy flavor overall.
BACCALI CAFE & ROTISSERIE - The raison d'être of Baccali
245 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra
Baccali's been around for so long they probably pre-date when Hillary Rodham's mother was a student at Alhambra H.S. (yes, did you know she was an alum?), and the food here -- while passable -- has never been very good. But one thing it does well is the Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles. Good curry flavor, not very greasy and the biggest portions you'll find on this list.
LITZ -- It's why Sriracha makes so many bottles every year
201 E Garvey Ave, Monterey Park
The Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles here is, to put it bluntly, very very bland. And it's dry. If you take big mouthfuls you run the risk of a choking hazard -- it's like swallowing mouthfuls of dry haystacks run through the dryer. How do you cope? Play Etch A Sketch® on the plate of noodles with Sriracha.
SAM WOO BBQ -- The Honda Accord of the group
140 W Valley Blvd, San Gabriel
It'll never awards for the Singapore Style Fried Rice Noodles, but then it'll never lose customers because of it either. Solid rendition of this dish. Not greasy, good flavor, could use more fixins (like meat and eggs) but that's nitpicking. Good sized portions as well, fills up one those styrofoam to-go boxes easily.