3/35 Lake Street
Cairns QLD 4870
+61 7 4041 4227
According to many, the best Singapore noodles in the country can be found in the least likeliest of places: Cairns’ business district. With a current urbanspoon.com rating of 90% and having been mentioned in Gourmet Traveller, I knew that Singapore Noodle Hut on Lake Street was a place that I HAD to visit while I was up there. Unfortunately, the modest kiosk is only open for lunch during the week (except for Thursday and Friday when doors remain open for the dinner crowd) and unfortunately, we were only in Cairns for three days, two of which were to be spent outside of Cairns city. Therefore, the only viable day we could actually have lunch here was Tuesday, our first day in Cairns.
I may have been haggard for having next to no sleep the night before, and Marty was faring no better having just stepped off his plane at lunchtime that day. Nothing, however, was going to stop me from devouring a plate of OMG-must-try Singapore noodles that day. So after dumping our bags in our rooms and telling Marty that our afternoon siesta can wait, we walked a few blocks down to the business district of Cairns city.
Singapore Noodle Hut is only a very small place; it is literally a hole in the wall where you pop your head at the counter, order your stuff, and grab whatever empty table you can find either on the footpath or in the diminutive dining area inside. When we arrived, a queue of office-workers had already formed. Thankfully, most of them were take-away patrons which meant that we were able to grab a seat in the dining room, the walls of which are lined by many a business card from visitors all around the world (below).
We ended up sharing a plate of chicken Singapore noodles ($13.50) – shared, because Marty did not feel like Singapore noodles and was only here out of coercion and a promise that we’d go somewhere else to eat later on. For the price we paid, I was expecting something a little bit, well, bigger. On the other hand, the noodles were absolutely delicious. The small mound of curry-coated vermicelli noodles had a lovely tanginess to them, thanks to the tamarind that was added. Generous lashings of bean sprouts, chicken thigh fillets, egg and cucumber slices completed the mix. Oh, and a bit of wok hei. The noodles tasted pretty damn good on their own, however, an optional squeeze of lime heightened that beautiful tangy edge to enhance the overall taste of the dish.
I can certainly see why this place is a favourite with both locals and tourists, alike. Even cynical ol’ Marty had to concede that they were brilliant. Although it doesn’t provide as good value for money as Carlton Chinese Noodle Café’s Singapore noodles (which, to be fair, isn’t probably all that ‘authentic’ anyway as the owners of CCNC put a dollop of peanut and chilli dressing on top, so wash), it’s still a meal that I would gleefully line up for every week if I lived in Cairns.