Long before somebody had the clever idea of associating cakes with birthdays, many Chinese people celebrated birthdays by eating noodles. Especially long noodles, as slurping long noodles suggests the good life for a long long time. Children get mee-sua, a rice vermicelli served in a rich broth of pork and kidney and a whole boiled egg, or the alternative sweet version with syrup and also a boiled egg. Adults would usually have some kind of wheat noodles fried up with meat or seafood.
It was husband's birthday yesterday, and noodles are his favourite carbo-food, so I gave him a noodle treat. The Royal China Lobster Noodles. Last year the Chinese restaurant at the grand Raffles Hotel was taken over by Royal China. For Londoners, Royal China has long been known for excellent dim sum and its signature Lobster Noodles. I have eaten at Royal China in London, but only at the Queensway location, and have never tried their famous noodles. Back then I was a poor student and ordering lobster anything in London would be harmful to my wallet, and later, even when I felt richer, my always-hungry brother and sisters would usually order far too much crispy duck and the entire dim sum menu to make room for noodles. Royal China introduce their house specialty to Singapore and every review I've read raved on and on about this wonderful dish, so I put it into my to-try list.
We could choose either Boston lobster or Australian lobster. Australian lobsters was apparently a good deal, being $8 per 100g. Gulp! No need to ask about Boston lobsters then...... We ate some pre-Lobster dishes of dim sums and cereal prawns, which incidently were really refined and exquisitely made, certainly one of the very best dim sums in town...... The noodles were finally presented, the waitress removed the shiny gold domed cover with a flourish and we had our first look at the noodles. Great looking lobsters. Erm... is that wan-ton noodles? How can it be? I thought at the very least it would come with yee-fu noodles as yee-fu noodles would make the perfect vehicle to soak up the rich lobster sauce, but the manager assured us that their famous dish uses wan-ton noodles, and told us some funny story about how if they used yee-fu noodles the steps would be more complicated, huh? Alright then, this was really wan-ton noodles, deconstructed, maybe. Or a luxe version of Sang Ha Meen (live prawn noodles). We ate and tasted. The lobsters were sweet and firm after being quickly cooked in a light sauce with stock, ginger and spring onions. We chewed happily on the lobster meat, though, after a while, it got a bit monotonous. Husband also complained that the noodles had an especially strong taste of alkaline water. All in, we were quite disappointed. After all the hoo-hah, I expected a dish to take my breath away, something more WoW. Not something that a cze char cook can duplicate, given the same ingredients. I remember about 3 years ago, when my aunt brought back fresh lobsters from Australia and a Chinese restaurant in KL cooked a yee-fu noodle dish with just the head and little legs; the noodles were so good we nearly licked the plate, and here we were, bored midway through our fancy meaty 800g lobster. We took the other half home, maybe it will taste better tomorrow evening, when we are back from our Monday slog in the office. Incidentally, the restaurant charged separately for the lobster ($64)and the noodles ($5).