While a trip to Hong Kong appears to be on the horizon, those craving for a taste of Hong Kong do not even need to cross the bridge (guo qiao) now. TamJai SamGor 譚仔三哥 which is Hong Kong’s most popular noodle chain renowned for its signature Yunnan mixian (rice noodles) and intensely-flavoured soup bases, has
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While a trip to Hong Kong appears to be on the horizon, those craving for a taste of Hong Kong do not even need to cross the bridge (guo qiao) now.
TamJai SamGor 譚仔三哥 which is Hong Kong’s most popular noodle chain renowned for its signature Yunnan mixian (rice noodles) and intensely-flavoured soup bases, has arrived in Singapore at Bedok Mall (#B1-52).
The other good news: a basic Mixian with Fragrant Clear Soup and 1 topping starts from $6.50, so that’s pretty affordable.
Established in 1996 and now in with more than 65 outlets in Hong Kong, founder Mr. “Sam Gor” Tam was intrigued by the unique texture of Yunnan mixian, developed and paired the noodles with Sichuan-style ma la hotpot soup.
The result is a one-of-a-kind fragrant, numbing, hot and spicy noodle made SamGor’s style.
After trying, it is indeed not quite like the mala we are more exposed to.
This unique style of mixian was recognised by Michelin Guide and received the Bib Gourmand for three consecutive years.
Known as the original spicy soup experts, TamJai SamGor Mixian’s soup bases set the standard for spicy food in Hong Kong.
So, what’s so special about their mixian? Made with basic ingredients (non-glutinous rice flour + water), firstly this ‘mixian’ is gluten-free.
SamGor’s ‘mixian’ may remind some of the local style thick vermicelli aka cu mi fen but the texture and taste are quite different.
The mixian has its own unique chewiness compared to the typical noodles often used in the market. The way it was cooked, you get noodles that become and remain al dente yet with a certain softness to the bite.
This texture, plus its smooth surface, pairs well with SamGor’s soup bases.
First timers ordering the mixian may get slight confusion due to the number of options (said to reach up to 700,000 possible combinations).
Step 1: First choose your fresh toppings from three sets. Additional toppings are priced from $1.20 to $2.50.
Step 2: Next, pick your soup base from six choices – Ma La, Wu La (Charred Pepper and Spices), San Suan (SamGor Hot & Sour), Tangy Tomato, Suan La (Hot and Sour), and Fragrant Clear Soup.
Step 3: Finally, dare to choose your spice level.
Here they take spiciness seriously, you can choose from 10 levels of spiciness from non-spicy to extra hot.
Theirs 10-level spice meter has become a benchmark of spiciness in Hong Kong. They are not ranked from 1-10, but instead in levels of Non-Spicy, ⅒ Mild, ⅕ Mild, ¼ Mild… to Moderate, Hot, and Extra Hot.
The menu recommends ⅒ Mild for first tries; but I think spice-loving Singaporeans can go for the ⅓ Mild or even Mild – which is their version of ”xiao la” (little spicy).
Each bowl of mixian comes with beansprouts, beancurd sheet & chives, but you can inform the staff to exclude these ingredients (I know not all of you love beansprouts.) Here’s what I tried:
Mixian in Ma La Soup ($7.00 onwards, depending on toppings)
I was expecting my Ma La Soup to come in a flaming red colour, and kept wondering when a bowl arrived in a whitish broth with traces of chilli oil.
Have a taste and you would realise this is Ma La Soup (Hot and Numbing Soup) indeed. This soup base is made with SamGor’s own secret blend of spices, included with the famed Sichuan peppercorn.
The good to see: the Ma La Soup is not as greasy as what you may experience elsewhere.
But rest assured that as you sip and slurp the smooth strands of noodles, a slow creeping tingling numbness follows. Experience that alluring fragrance from the aromatic mix of spices.
I tried the 1/5 Mild which gave just that bit of numbing-ness, but may not have that strong kick. Move it up to the ½ Mild or Mild, and you may feel the need to reach out for more water.
It is recommended to pair the broth with plainer-tasting ingredients such as the Cuttlefish Ball (worth its order), Fishcake, Bamboo Fungus and Enoki Mushrooms.
Mixian in Wu La Soup ($7.00 onwards, depending on toppings)
If you love that wok hei flavour and aroma, you’ll love the SamGor’s Wu La Soup (Charred Pepper and Spices Soup).
While the colour of the soup reminded us of Mee Soto (strangely, I know), but this turned out to be the one leaving the deepest impression. And a favourite for some at the table.
Made from an original recipe, the aromatic Wu La Soup has that distinct smoky flavour thanks to the charred pepper and spices in it.
A dish inspired by Sam Gor’s favourite dish claypot rice, it contains chilli and spices fried to a light charred finish. These almost-burnt pieces when added to the soup impart that smoky, sweet, savoury and spicy flavour.
This soup base would go well with some meat such as Beef and Chicken, and I found that the Pork Liver was well-cooked without the funky taste, and was tender with mild flavour.
Mixian in Tangy Tomato Soup ($7.50 onwards, depending to toppings)
If there is one thing I miss about Hong Kong’s cha chaan teng, it would be the tomato noodle soup. This sweet, tangy and appetising soup base may provide you with the sense of familiarity and comfort.
While it wasn’t as velvety-rich as I would have liked to, the soup was still slurp-worthy and refreshing.
Explore a different flavour profile as you combine toppings like meats such as chicken, seafood, mushrooms, and many others with the tomatoes in the soup.
Spiciness is optional, but you can always go for the ⅒ Mild for that slight punch.
Cross-Bridge Mixian (Guo Qiao Mixian) ($12.80)
If you can’t make up your mind with all your noodle options, why not go for SamGor’s Guo Qiao Mixian? This combo dish makes choosing easy.
Simply order this and your mixian already comes with pre-selected toppings – 16 assorted toppings for your taking.
Ready to count? Here they are: pork, beef, chicken, fishcake, fish ball, cuttlefish ball, pork belly, pork liver, beansprouts, beancurd sheet, tofu puffs, chives, bamboo fungus, lettuce, pickled cabbage, and minced pork.
Plus, it is kept value-for-money at $12.80 for a bountiful bowl.
Also available at TamJai SamGor are various Chinese and Hong Kong-style appetisers, and snacks-for-one.
They include the famed TuFei Chicken Mid Wings, Herb Chicken Mid Wings, Chilled Poached Chicken Mid-Wings, Roasted Eggplant with Garlic, Poached Chives, Poached Beansprouts, Minced Pork, Homemade Pickles, Pig Ear, Fragrant Vinegar Black Fungus, Black Fungus and Crunchy Cucumber.
TuFei (Hunan Cumin) Chicken Wings ($4.80 for 3pc, $6.80 for 5 pc)
SamGor’s trademarked chicken wings are marinated in a blend of special herbs and roasted to a crisp.
The name literally means “Bandit Wings”. Word has it that bandits in the past stole these household spices to roast wings, and local people knew where they were from the fragrant aroma. Interesting…
These Tufei (Hunan Cumin) Wings are very popular in Hong Kong, and it is not difficult to understand why.
The flavoured wings become crunchy on the outside yet inside the meat stays tender and juicy.
An order comes with 3 or 5 pieces of mid-wings, perfect for sharing as an appetiser.
Sliced Pork Belly with Mashed Garlic ($4.80 for small, $6.80 for large)
Another recommended item in the menu, this plate comes with thinly sliced pork belly arranged in circular fashion.
I totally love it when I see that scoop of mashed garlic in the centre, its flavours ready to complement the umami of pork. Surprisingly, the garlic had a beautiful-mellow flavour and wasn’t as sharp was expected.
Century Egg in Chongqing Hot Sauce, Ma La Sauce, or Pepper-Tipped ($4.80)
Still on the spicy streak, this appetiser is seasoned with a choice of three sauces. I had the recommended Ma La topped with mashed green chillies.
And nope, this wasn’t that spicy in comparison with some of the soup broths, but loved that creamy, gelatinous mouthfeel with a notch of tingling.
Roasted French Beans with Minced Pork ($4.80)
Add some greens to your table and order SamGor’s roasted French beans.
Served in bite-sized strips, these beans are accompanied with a minced pork sauce slathered on top.
Overall, while the menu would need some explaining and understanding, I thought TamJai SamGor was off to a great start with its inexpensive pricing in a mall setting.
A Ma La Soup bowl with say 3 toppings of pork, beef, and shrimp wanton would be $10.40, and serving is quite substantial.
There are also options of Hot and Extra Hot (additional $0.30) for those who believe in “go big and go home”. I had the Extra Hot and the Sichuan peppercorn heat would hit you on the second spoonful.
Spice-loving Singaporeans have easy access to TamJai SamGor via their Bedok Mall outlet, and there will be two more branches opening soon at VivoCity and Chinatown Point.
TamJai SamGor Mixian Opening Special – 300 FREE Bowls
To commemorate its grand opening in Singapore, TamJai SamGor will be handing out 300 free bowls of noodles over the course of three days of their opening.
100 bowls will each be given out on 30 October (Friday) from 5-7pm; 31 October (Saturday) from 3-5pm; and 1 November (Sunday) from 3-5pm.
Only those who have followed SamGor’s Facebook page and obtained a queue number within the first 100 are entitled to this promotion, applicable for dine-in only.
TamJai SamGor Mixian – Bedok Mall
Bedok Mall #B1-52, 311 New Upper Changi Road, Singapore 467360
Tel: +65 6241 8323
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm, Last Order 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
* This post is brought to you in partnership with TamJai SamGor Mixian.