Breakfast this morning was a $4 bowl of dry fishball noodles in Holland Drive. My parents were keen to take away the uncooked fish balls for our Chinese New Year steamboat dinner tonight. Boiled and drained yellow egg noodles were place in a bowl on top of a thick sambal chilli sauce and lard. The famed homemade fishballs are served on the side in a hot broth with more homemade fish cakes. The thick sambal chilli sauce is made from garlic, shallots, candlenut, galangal and minced dried shrimps. (For my foreign readers, the wet or soup option is essentially the same noodles and ingredients in a bowl of hot broth without the chilli paste. The lack of additional lard and oil from the sambal chilli make it a healthier option.)
There is a sister stall in Old Airport Road run by his daughter which I absolutely adore; I constantly think about her extremely bouncy fishballs and rarely seen homemade fish noodles (long strands of noodles made entirely out of fish paste). However the striking difference between the two stalls is the fishball’s lack of springiness in the parent stall, and it bordered on mushiness – it did not dance in my mouth the same way. The lack of flour and preservatives is the only reason to account for this. While I much prefer a low carb fishball, a plainly bowl of the odd shaped imperfect fishballs will only invite fatigueness quickly.
But for me, this stall really excelled in the strong supporting elements which prevented the monotony of texture. The thin yellow noodles were the most finessely cooked noodles I have had in a while; loose and elastic yet still retaining a bite. Such well done noodles are few and fair between. The fish cake was so addictive with it’s springy interior and crispy exterior. Large crispy chunks of fried lard provided more crunchiness and sinfulness. Unifying all the elements was that uber flavourful sambal chilli paste. Before eating, stirring together thoroughly the noodles and fish elements till everything was coated in the red sauce was essential.
The queue was long and slow. My patience was running thin due to the lack of sugar in my brain. But with just the kind Uncle cooking and his wife painstakingly preparing the fish elements behind, the dedication of this adoring couple to their craft was admirable. In the end we just could not leave without getting a slab of their fish cake; which was admirably sold by weight highlighting the famed handmade quality of this stall.
With every element so carefully and specially executed, Ru Ji Kitchen really holds a special place in my heart and reaffirmed my love for hawker food.
Ru Ji Kitchen（如记小厨）
Address: Block 44 Holland Drive
Holland Drive Market and Food Centre #02-28
Opening hours: 7am to 1pm, rest on Sundays.