Da Shi Jia Big Prawn Mee

An offshoot of the prolific Big Eater brand which oversees a chain of showy seafood restaurants across the island, Da Shi Jia Big Prawn Mee (大食家大大大虾面) is decidedly less particular about measuring up in the pomp department, choosing instead to operate out of a relatively nondescript pre war shophouse space located just minutes away from the main Orchard Road shopping belt on foot. Nevertheless, this modestly sized establishment rings quaint and cozy in its own right; two distinct columns of sturdy reclaimed wood dining tables and stools line up against light blue colored walls adorned with culinary posters and oriental murals. Air-conditioners gusting gently chilled winds overhead allow patrons to feast in comfort, away from nearby street corners often engulfed in sweltering heat.

Founded by young Gen Y hawkerpreneurs Seth Sim (whose dad by the way owns Big Eater) and his wife Yvonne Tan in early 2018, Da Shi Jia appears to be garnering immense adulation despite its relatively recent entry into the F&B scene - if massive lunch and dinner crowds descending upon the eatery with extended queues regularly seen forming in adjacent corridors are anything to go by.

Apart from its much touted signature wok-fried big prawn white bee hoon and prawn noodle dishes, folks can also indulge in various deep fried snacks such as crispy spicy winglets, prawn rolls and salted egg chicken. Lighter fare including century egg congee and stir fried vegetables feature on the menu too.

Sampling and thoughts:

The big prawn white bee hoon which arrived first at our table deserved top marks. Skilfully wok tossed over searing heat for maximal infusion of caramelized flavors sans charring, the vermicelli was further nurtured in specially formulated prawn stock - hence that overall appetizing orange glow bestowed. Attractively plated, more than ever sumptuous when chopsticks actually dug deep in. Its somewhat glutinous quality melded with a textured egginess recalls to mind the traditional hokkien prawn mee recipe; this version being silkier, richer and certainly far superior in our opinion. The serving of partially deshelled monster prawns had in them a refreshing succulence, in addition roe left lurking within their digestive tracts extended a creamy authenticity to the crustacean narrative. Subsequent sips from the accompanying bowl of soup concocted out of blended prawn heads and shells chilled our tits after an intense gastronomic excursion, nudging us back to Earth in time for round two. Hell yeah bring it on.

Wok-Fried Big Prawn White Bee Hoon ($16.80)

Next, the dry prawn noodles. Competently rustled up with fish cakes, pork lard pieces and lean meat slices spun inside a sinful thick black gravy, its inventive savoriness had us grinning from ear to ear. Loved them lightly scalded yellow noodles which hit the al dente sweet spot; taut, juicy prawns also delighted ... that subtle crunchiness of flesh got done so right. (Insert: customer can indicate a preference for yellow noodles, bee hoon or kway teow alongside size/quantity of prawns, subject to additional charges.)

Big Prawn Noodle ($9.80)

We couldn't however, in good conscience, heap praise on the shrimp prawn rolls. Tastewise, they bore significant resemblance to sotong youtiao (dough sticks stuffed with squid/fish paste) of the cookie-cutter variety: average and forgettable. Besides, six small miserable squares going for almost six bucks - good heavens what is happening?

Shrimp Prawn Rolls ($5.80)

As mentioned at the onset of this review, business at Da Shi Jia Big Prawn Mee isn't merely brisk, it's roaring red hot. (In fact on a Sunday evening we decided to show up discreetly, Yvonne herself had to personally turn away disappointed foodies slightly past 9pm because everything was already sold out.) The immense wave of success it is presently riding on is well-deserved; fantastic food living largely up to the hype, plus an extraordinary amount of friendliness and humility demonstrated by both owners and their staff on the service front. If Da Shi Jia represents a legitimate glimpse into the future insofar as younger generations propping up Singapore's visibly dwindling hawker culture is concerned, we'd say things look rather heartening.

Note: Prices subject to change without prior notice. Kindly clarify with eatery before visiting or ordering.

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Score: 8.9/10



89 Killiney Road
Singapore 239534