The 5 best things I ate in Singapore — #5: Fish Meat Bee Hoon

In this bi-weekly seriesI usually round up the five best things I ate in a particular city or country. 

However, I lived in Singapore for over a year — meaning my top five favorite places are also my locals. I’ve shared these meals multiple times with friends and family; over these bowls of soup or baskets of xiaolongbao, some of my most treasured Singapore memories were formed. 

These five dishes / places mean so much to me and therefore I feel deserve more than just a passing mention in one round-up post. So I’ve decided to devote a little more space to each one and write about the top five individually.

#5: Fish Meat Bee Hoon (Yu Rou Mi Fen/鱼肉米粉) — Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon

There’s a rule of thumb when visiting hawker centers in Singapore: the longer the line, the better the food. Singaporeans know what’s what and are not afraid to queue for quality.

Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon is one such place — even at 11 in the morning, you’ll find people forming a line for one of their famous bowls of fish soup.

I used to both work and live just five minutes down the road from Maxwell Centre, so their number 2 — the fish meat bee hoon — became a staple of my Singapore lunch routine. Bee hoon means rice vermicelli noodles (mi fen in Mandarin Chinese); here they’re cooked al dente then topped with fish slices, along with a few pieces of veg, ginger, and crispy onions. The fish is lightly fried, but you wouldn’t be able to tell — it soaks up the soup beautifully and has a perfectly flaky texture.

But what really makes Jin Hua stand out from every other fish noodle soup out there?

The broth. It’s…milky.

To the western palate it doesn’t sound like it should work — “milk and fish? doesn’t fish usually go in a clear broth?” — but TRUST ME. They must cook this broth with some kind of magic because this will be the best fried fish soup you’ll ever have, and all others will be found wanting (Kate can vouch for this, as it’s the first place I took her when she visited Singapore).

And because you’re in Asia, feel free to slurp away. This soup is so delicious, to not do so would be insulting.

Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon 金华鱼头米粉
Maxwell Road Food Centre
Stall 77

More tips on what to eat at Maxwell Center here.

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  1. And… I’m hungry now. I’m seriously headed to the kitchen, and there will be no fish meat bee hoon in there. I don’t know much about food in Singapore, so thanks for sharing!

    • Everyone should know about the food in Singapore, it’s so good your palate will never be the same!

  2. its coconut milk. coconut milk goes with everything!

    • I’m not sure it is…I’ve had coconut milk in other dishes and coconut milk tastes denser. This is a very light broth, it happens to have a creamier taste than clear soup but I don’t know that it’s as dense and creamy as to involve coconuts. But I could be wrong.

      • i’m pretty sure it’s evaporated milk! i grew up on this! as a singaporean, it’s 1 of favourite comfort food :D glad that you like it too…your blog post is making me homesick, sadly i can’t can’t really find similar fish head bee hoon in London

  3. Wow, thanks for rubbing it in my face that I didn’t get to go to a Hawker center when I was in Singapore.

    …kidding (kind of)

    This (along with all the food you post pictures of) looks amazing! Seriously impatient for your other posts.

    Here’s a quick question- have you ever not liked something you got in a Hawker center?

    • Ah sorry Erica you’ll have to wait until next month for #4! And I wouldn’t say I’ve ever gotten something I didn’t like — I’m not a picky eater, I’ll like most food. But I have gotten dishes that were average and didn’t impress me, but I think it’s a matter of taste (cough, chicken rice)

  4. Yum. I can’t wait to hear the rest. Your photos are to die for and I think I will have to take a trip to rue Saint-Anne really really soon for at least something that remotely represents this!

    • Thanks Kristen! I have to admit, Rue Saint-Anne has seen a lot of me lately since I returned from Singapore…

  5. Oooo looks just delicious!

  6. This sounds delicious! I’m really sad I didn’t try it when we were in Singapore. Next time!

  7. Oh, I LOVE THAT FISH SOUP!! Thanks again for taking me there. It was a delicious surprise. Maybe next time I’ll actually go for the heads. :-P

    • Haha you’d certainly be living up to the adventurous moniker — I haven’t even tried the fish heads!

  8. I’m curious about the two drinks you’re holding in the last picture? What are they/what do they taste like?

    • One is soursop and guava juice (it separated a bit while I was waiting for Mike to get the bowls of soup) and I’ve got strawberry and mango juice, I believe. Both are SO good — fresh juices, just another thing I miss desperately about southeast Asia!

  9. Sounds (and looks) amazing! I want to go! I’m trying to plan a trip for next year, and choosing between Europe and Asia is turning out to be an excruciating decision. It all comes down to this: what food do I want to eat more??

  10. rainbow says:

    it’s carnation milk, im a singaporean (: nice blog you have here, i hope to try chili crabs one day!