Char kway teow is one of the dishes I crave for from time to time because it’s so good but it’s so damned hard to find anywhere in this part of the world. There’s just something so comforting about this dish: it’s savory and flavorful, soft noodles contrasting with crunchy beansprouts, everything all gorgeously umami.
Which is why I had high hopes for Red Dot‘s char kway teow. Red Dot is the newest stall at Glorietta IV’s Food Choices and specializes in Singaporean / Malay cuisine. Aside from the usual suspects – namely the Hainanese chicken rice and the crispy pork over rice – they do have my favorite peninsular noodle dish and it’s what I ordered.
It was, I regret to say, a mistake – and a serious one at that!
I expected the dish to have the soy-salty flavors, the somewhat meaty undertone I encountered in previous encounters with these noodles. Instead, I got the overwhelming fire of chili in each and every bite. Every single forkful – even the smallest nibbles – felt like fire was running down my esophagus and I feared that my tonsils would be reduced to smoldering embers by the end of the meal. It was that gruesome an experience.
This is going to sound seriously uncharitable coming from me, but the best part of this meal was actually the aniseed-infused beef broth with chives that came as a side dish. It was rich and flavorful and managed to temper the heat of the noodle dish as best as it could – but not, alas, by much.
I would return to Red Dot for its Hainanese chicken rice and the crispy pork, but I’m definitely crossing it off my list the next time I crave char kway teow.