Established in the late 80s and being one of the first noodle stalls to offer the dish in Singapore, Qiu Lian Ban Mian has set the benchmark for Ban Mian. With many outlets located islandwide in neighbourhoods such as Sengkang, Tampines, Jurong, Bedok, as well as Lau Pa Sat, you can see how the brand has made its mark in Singapore. All ban mian lovers know about them and their springy handmade noodles!
So you can imagine our excitement when we realised that we could get Qiu Lian Ban Mee anytime, any day, in the comfort of our own homes! The brand now has ready-to-cook Ban Mian available at NTUC Fairprice, Sheng Siong outlets as well as online at Qoo10. Make sure to go to the chilled food section and not the Maggi mee aisle!
There are four variations to choose from – Ban Mee, You Mee, Special Dark Sauce Dry Ban Mee and Asian Spicy Dry You Mee. The Ban Mee and You Mee come with soup and are the perfect choice for a rainy day at home. The former features thick flat noodles, while the latter comes in thin strands. Both noodle packs come with the stall’s signature soup paste, while the dry versions come with a sauce!
The instructions are very straightforward, and you might be surprised to know that the noodles only take one minute to cook. However, the instructions also suggest fully thawing out the noodles before cooking to prevent clumping and to loosen them by hand.
Make sure not to skip this step, because just dropping the noodles into the boiling water will result in a large lump of flour! It takes around eight minutes before the noodles can be loosened up. Do so gently, otherwise you’ll end up with short and torn pieces of noodles. Unless of course, that is what you’re trying to go for!
The Special Dark Sauce Dry Ban Mee separates the sauce and noodles into two different packaging. The noodles are vacuum sealed, made with premium flour and no preservatives.
There is also a very generous amount of sauce provided and you can add as much as you prefer. It’s very liquidy and easy to mix with the cooked noodles, and there is more than enough to sufficiently coat each strand.
Now on to the most important part – how does it taste? The texture of the noodle is soft and springy, but the noodles itself lacks flavour so it relies entirely on the sauce for taste. The sauce has a strong shallot-y fragrance to it as well as a sweet-spicy soy flavour that complements the noodle well.
Moving onto the soup version, how does it fare in comparison?
The ready-to-cook soup variation definitely tastes similar to the Ban Mian that you get at the physical stalls, but the broth is a tad blander. If you prefer stronger flavours, definitely go for the dry variations. However, it still hits the right spot especially if you’re craving for Ban Mian in the middle of night! What’s also great about these ready-to-cook packs is that you can add your own favourite ingredients and customise it however you like. It might not entirely replicate the experience of getting a piping hot bowl of Ban Mian at the kopitiam, and the noodles are a tad tricky to handle, but they are great if you’re lazy to head out and need a Ban Mian fix!