Lao Da Hua at VivoCity's Food Republic
Tai Wah Pork Noodle is probably my favorite noodle stall in Singapore. So when the Sunday Times published a story today on the family feud resulting from a third brother advertising his new stall at VivoCity's plasticky Food Republic, my curiosity was piqued. Was there going to be much of a difference between it and Tai Wah?
There was...a bit. The most obvious difference was the broth on the side: here at Lao Da Hua, it was a clear salty thing garnished with cilantro, whereas the one at Tai Wah was cloudy and hearty due the the pork bits. I didn't get a wonton in today's bowl, and the dried fish topping didn't seem as edgy as I recall Tai Wah's being. I thus preferred Tai Wah, although this rendition was close. Fortunately, the meatballs - one of my favorite items in Tai Wah's bowls - tasted similar enough.
Interestingly, it wasn't until this news story came out did I realize that the spelling difference between Tai Hwa at Crawford Lane and Tai Wah at the Bestway Building (and Hong Lim Food Centre) was intentional. I always thought that they were used interchangeably, since the food at both Tai Hwa and Tai Wah generally tasted the same to me. Either way, it's interesting to see this family noodle shop rivalry and the resulting variations on the name; it sounds a bit like TK Noodle versus Luu New Tung Kee in Northern California, which eerily are also some of my favorite noodle shops.