Long gone were the days when Soya Beancurd was scooped into a bowl and served with a layer of syrup. The tradition can still be found in the streets of Singapore along Rocher Road or Selegie. However, when you mention the word Soya Beancurd these days, Lao Ban will be the first to appear on many people’s minds. Ever since they opened a stall at Old Airport Road Food Centre, it has triggered a “beancurd” war nationwide. But, before those who were initially clueless about Lao Ban, let me first do a face-off between Lao Ban Soya Beancurd and 51 Soya Bean. Then you decide again.
Before I could even take a spoon of Lao Ban, I had the experience of buying it. Be prepared to queue for more than 30 minutes during the peak period. Do not be annoyed when the customers in front of you order by the bulk. I only wanted one, so I got pretty pissed when people were ordering by the tens. Technically, there shouldn’t be a long queue to buy Soya Beancurd, because it has been pre-made. So why the long wait? The answer lies with the boss. The way he packs your beancurd or returns your change, it feels like he’s practising Taiji. Nonetheless, he lost precious points. When my spoon took the first break, I noticed a layer of beancurd skin at the top. That did not really score with me. But was it love at first bite for me? I loved the level of sweetness but I could distinctively notice the powdery texture for almost each mouthful. In result, the beancurd disintegrated in my mouth leaving a weird aftertaste, instead of melting. I am not impressed at all and I definitely do not understand the hype about Lao Ban.
51 Soya, who probably got their name from the road name, is situated just 2 stalls away from Lao Ban. This is indeed a dog-eat-dog world. And it was not a pretty sight when people are queuing endlessly for Lao Ban while the competitor is literally “hitting the flies”. I guess people do really need to know which is the better one. At the first break with the spoon, I loved how the texture was smooth on the surface. Or you could say that the dessert was entirely smooth as a whole. While the level of the sweetness was also suitable for me, what really set 51 Soya apart from Lao Ban was the texture once again. Smooth, homogenous, consistent, velvety. The beancurd literally melts in your mouth.
It is time that people stop jumping into the Lao Ban bandwagon because there is a queue. Try 51 Soya one day and you tell me what’s your verdict.