I know that God is a good God. Do you know how I know God is a good God? Ask me why I think God is a good God.
Okay, since you asked, I’ll tell you. I know God is good because he bequeathed us lowly, underserving beings with what must surely be the prime food of the heavens – fishballs. As if that wasn’t grace incarnate, he even gave us mee pok to go with those round treasures of meat. If that isn’t enough for you, I don’t know what is. I mean, fishballs.
Evidently, I am a lover of fishballs, and if they come partnered with a portion of al dente noodles and stained brown in a sauce of sambal, lord-knows-what-else and gallons of vinegar, well, all the better. When I am at the table with a bowl of mee pok (referring to both the type of noodle and the dish itself), I am content. I am happy. I know no cause for worry or dissent. The world is at peace, as harmonious and whole as the little white spheres that travel lovingly from the bowl into my awaiting jaws. Heaven is a place on earth.
So imagine my joy when I discovered that, camouflaged in the rows of rows of shops that populate the famous Old Airport Road food centre, there lay hidden a gem. A mee pok so wonderful I dream of it’s salty goodness. Not kidding, though, there actually was a night where I slept fitfully, all the while entertaining a dream of eating mee pok. When I got up I wasted no time and hurried myself to OAR and had a bloody big bowl to myself. What can I say? It was prophesied.
A very bad picture of a very good stall.
Introducing Ru Ji Kitchen, formally from Holland Drive. All the times I’ve went, the stall was being run by three or so old men, dishing out their tasty morsels of fishy goodness with looks of complete and utter distaste and boredom. But do not be turned off – this is worth putting up with. Fishball noodles are essentially the only thing they do, and you just have to choose 1) what kind of noodles you would like – I recommend their excellent mee pok – and 2) what portion size you want. They come in 3 sizes – $3, $4 and $5. If you have a fairly decent appetite, don’t even bother with the 3 bucks one. Go big or go home. The amount of noodles does not differ significantly, but you get 3, 5 and 7 fishballs respectively. Seven!! If that doesn’t send your heart aflutter I don’t know what will.
Let’s start with the fishballs. Fresh and handmade – you can tell because of the uneveness and inconsistencies – they are incredibly tasty and ‘bouncy’. Some places do their fishballs really doughey, which is kind of *cheating* if you feel me, but Ru Ji delivers the real deal. The cook on the fishballs is just, slightly too undercooked for me, but my family loves it precisely because it’s not overcooked.
Now the noodles. The noodles are cooked slightly over al dente, but I suppose you could always ask the grumpy old man cooking to undercook them, if you dare. I don’t mind them a little softer because that usually means they soak up the sauce better. And that sauce. Many places make good mee pok, but what really elevates Ru Ji into the status of heavenly ecstasy is both the fishballs and the sauce. A perfect blend of sambal, extra vinegar (my standard order), and, again, lord-knows-what-else, gives this bowl of mee pok the perfect kick. It’s so perfect it almost can’t be explained, this miracle kick. It’s just the plus points that leave you feeling as if any moment now the heavens might part and angels descend amidst a symphony of harps to congratulate you on your good fortune in choosing to eat so perfect a dish. That kick.
One tip: they shut relatively early in the day – around 1 or 2pm – so get your ass there pronto.
Me thinks: What else? Go try it! Attain fishball nirvana! Also, Old Airport Road is chock full with other good foods – a general rule is to join a queue where there is one – so make sure you stuff yourself well, then waddle uncomfortably back to whichever corner of Singapore you came from.
Cheers (to spherical lumps of heaven!) x
Ru Ji Kitchen
Old Airport Road Food Centre #01-37
51 Old Airport Road, Singapore, 390051 , Singapore