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Daruma Tavern Opens Food Court Stall Serving Its Popular KL Hokkien Mee & New Crispy Bee Hoon

The stall in MacPherson has a completely different name from its fancier sibling eatery.

The folks behind restaurant-bar Daruma Tavern in Upper Thomson (who also used to run the show at the popular Soi 19 Thai Wanton Mee chain) recently opened a new stall in the food court within Grantral Mall @ MacPherson. 

Named Hei Bai Chao (which means "black white fry" in mandarin), the stall serves the Tavern’s signature KL-style dai lok mee and local Hokkien mee. New on the menu here: crispy JB-style san lou bee hoon and deep-fried pig's trotter.

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Hei Bai Chao opened on January 7

Hei Bai Chao is owned by brother-and-sister duo Claire, 44, and Alex Ng, 40 (pictured below). The siblings previously managed Soi 19, which was first opened by their father in an Ang Mo Kio kopitiam in 2012, before stepping back to focus on their own venture Daruma Tavern, in 2021.

While “business is still going strong” at Daruma Tavern, Claire explains that they decided to open a food court stall to “reach out to even more people”, focusing on “two of our specialties [at Daruma Tavern]", which are the KL dai lok mee and fried Hokkien prawn mee. They’ve kept the branding separate as the towkays say the menu at Hei Bai Chao is more condensed compared to Daruma Tavern’s.

The menu

New offerings at the MacPherson outlet includes JB-style san lou bee hoon, essentially a crispy bee hoon ‘pancake’, as well as old-school pig’s trotter bee hoon. 

Hei Bai Chao’s signature eats are created by Jeff Lim, 41, Claire’s Pontian-born boyfriend and head chef at Daruma Tavern, who previously worked at his family’s zi char eatery in JB before moving on to Soi 19. However, a hired cook helms the stove at this new stall.

Note that prices here aren’t much cheaper than Daruma Tavern’s, despite it being a self-service locale. Nonetheless, here’s what to expect at Hei Bai Chao.

KL Dai Lok Mee, $8.80

Caramelly dark soy sauce-slicked flattish yellow noodles, cooked till smoky with lard, pork belly, fish cake and cabbage. Also known as KL Hokkien mee. One of the signatures at Daruma Tavern (this costs $8.90 there, almost the same price as at Hei Bai Chao).

Fried Hokkien Mee, $7.80

Singapore-style Hokkien mee, comprising fat yellow noodles with thin bee hoon, sea prawns, pork belly and squid. This dish is about a dollar cheaper here than at Daruma Taven, for a similar portion.

Charred Bee Hoon, $9.80

New on the menu: JB-style crispy bee hoon loaded with prawns, pork belly, fish cake and veggies. Also new: the Pig’s Trotter Bee Hoon ($12.80).


Crispy Pork Knuckle, $32

One of Daruma Tavern’s Christmas specials that were “so popular” that it has now made it onto the permanent menu at Hei Bai Chao. It costs $32 for the whole shank, though smaller portions are available too. 

Other snacks include Garlicky Crispy Pork ($10) and deep-fried tau kwa on a stick ($5.80).

The details

Hei Bai Chao is at M.Connect Food Court, #01-32 Grantral Mall @ MacPherson, 601 MacPherson Rd, S368242. Tel: 9734-3484. Open daily 11am – 10pm. More info via Facebook & Instagram.

Photos: Hei Bai Chao

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