Yong Tau Foo from Soon Li Yong Tau Foo at Bukit Merah View Food Centre. One of the most stressful and terrifying supper experiences one can undergo, with a most handsome reward…if you survive the onslaught. Sometime around 10pm, the stall owners would slowly begin their preparations, and from 11pm you start seeing people seating themselves around the stall waiting for the witching hour to be upon them – the broad categories include hungry university geeks, bored couples, chatty older folks and people who, urm, will trigger guilt-ridden alarm bells in your head as to the detriments of regular suppering (and this group forms a disturbingly large bulk of the crowd).
Come midnight, once everything is ready, the stall lights come on, and (like when you alert the Witch in Left 4 Dead) the horde closes in via stampede to instantly form two queues – one to pick the ingredients, and one to place your order and make payment. It is essential to go in a minimum party of two and assign the relevant roles beforehand if you want to reach home before daybreak. You will feel cold limp sweaty flesh caress your body parts from behind as the ravenous zombies dart for taupok and brinjal below and above your arms; you will hear desperate cries of “aiyah just 随便 (anyhow) pick lah!!” from warriors who simply want the ordeal to be over; your body will be shoved left and right by aggressive golems in the fray if you don’t stand firm when you’re picking your items; your patience will be worn thin when the uncivilized and daring brazenly cut queue and fling their bowl ahead of yours, in manner of skillful frisbee toss, in the bowl queue. It will be ugly.
But if you survive – and I have, precisely six times – you will be rewarded by one of the best yong tau foo around. The variety of ingredients is wonderful (their pork items in particular like their pork belly fly off the shelves), and the ikan bilis-heavy soup demands consumption in its entirety. I always ask for green chilli padi to be added, but do be warned – they add a fierce edge to the soup and will sting you without mercy if you happen to bite on them.
(There is a cheat code, like in every other game, if you wish to avoid the horrors of the above-mentioned experience – just go after 12.30am. By then, order will be restored by way of self-regulation, and all you have to do is queue for a long, long time. But where’s the fun in that?)
Soon Li Yong Tau Foo is a must try. This is non-negotiable. But before you taste the best, you gotta pass the test. 4.4/5
Soon Li Yong Tau Foo
Blk 115 Bukit Merah View
#01-78 Bukit Merah View Food Centre