Geylang is perhaps regarded by most locals as the epicentre of Singapore's flesh trade - dirty spas, seedy brothels, less than legal prostitution rackets and whatnot abound. Then again initiated gluttons will have you duly educated about a supper scene thriving amidst one festering mix of sex, drugs and sleaze. On any given late evening boisterous patrons throng popular eateries and cookhouses across sin city till wee hours; ostensibly with great food and even better company folks never go gentle into that good night.

Might legitimate hawker legends hail from the red light district? We went prowling for answers, hoping to be pleasantly impressed. Presented herein are our thoughts surrounding Swee Guan Hokkien Mee at Lorong 29 visited this time round.

Swee Guan Hokkien Mee's decades-old presence (established since 1968) inside Xing Lian Eating House is bare bones ancient: single cramped frying cubicle with dilapidated signboard unceremoniously fastened on top looking downright rickety. An expressionless, somewhat sullen middle-aged man stands behind wielding a cast iron wok over old school charcoal fire, methodically nurturing yellow noodles, thin bee hoon, assorted seafood and miscellaneous ingredients in prawn stock - braising, stirring, simmering. Paying little heed to the tediously long queue amassing right beside, he unhurriedly fulfills one order after another via hired help.

Compared with hokkien mee sampled elsewhere, Swee Guan's version gratified on two counts: magnanimously dense manifestation of wok hei and ambrosial gooeyness coating every morsel (regretfully its sambal chilli was rather uneventful). Prawns turned out sufficiently crunchy and firm whilst them bouncy squid rings imparted mild sweetness; however dismally small quantities featured. Besides, whatever happened to a customary scattering of pork belly slices? Meh.

Fyi, the smallest portion available costs 6 dollars - slightly pricey for grub whipped up at some "hole in the wall" place. All things considered, we probably ain't returning for seconds.

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


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Score: 6.8/10

Location

549A Lorong 29 Geylang Rd
Singapore 388060

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