Having been with the BF, I returned to Singapore in February 2014 with the fake boyfriend, Fakebooo. A work conference was to be held in our little country island and we thought we would use it as an excuse to return home and spend time with family.
This trip had me spending many lunches with Fakebooo’s family, who knows the hot spots for specific local dishes. I’m rather “bodoh” about these things and always happily settle for random hawker or even kopitiam choices.
Fakebooo usually satisfies hankerings of fish head curry at Samy’s, which unfortunately was closed on the day we visited. We settled for Muthu’s instead, which has a more upmarket set up. Cushioned seats, air-conditioning, clean squeaky floors, the works. We shared fish head curry, masala chicken curry and baby squid. Rice comes with stewed cabbage and eggplant. As I hardly ever eat such food, it was quite a novel experience for me. Fakebooo, on the other hand, prefers the atmosphere and general overall eating experience at Samy’s.
Another meal that we had was Kay Lee’s roast meats. The stall is famous for charred fatty char siew, which is glazed in a sugar syrup and subjected to high heat to acquire carboned, sweet unctuous pork. This was delicious cancer in every possible way and while the Cantonese in me had me shaking my head in disapproval, my stomach and tastebuds lapped up every blackened tasty morsel in glee. The roast duck was really good, with tender meat and a really crisp skin, bursting with flavour from the underlying duck fat.
Fake-family final lunch was nasi padang at Pasir Panjang. Once again, this is something I seldom eat so I gobbled everything up without any pre-formed judgement: curried vegetables, fried chicken, fried egg all smothered in assam sauce and chilli.
Other eats during this trip include dinner with bestie Cheeps at Din Tai Fung. This is a franchise which originated from Taiwan and it specializes in dumplings. I feel that Din Tai Fung serves up the best xiao long bao and that Melbourne’s Hu Tong can’t hold a candle up to this. The dumpling skins are delicately thin and house little parcels of juicy pork mince and broth. The pork filing is well-seasoned and far from sweet, which is a common feature in most dumpling I’ve come across in Melbourne. The hand-pulled noodles, or la mian, in Din Tai Fung are also of excellent quality. The noodles have minimal variance in width and have the perfect bite to them. My noodles came with minced pork and shiitake mushrooms. Drowned in chilli and chin kiang vinegar, it was a perfect meal.
One memorable delicious dinner took place towards the last couple days of my trip. My parents, brother, sis-in-law, bub and myself got together at Taman Jurong Food Centre. The complex is one of the few remaining multi-story buildings that incorporate wet market and hawker centre simultaneously. We ordered from multiple hawkers: there was prawn curry, sambal stingray, rojak with dried cuttlefish, a platter of mixed ngoh hiang and claypot tofu. My little niece, in all her glorious 12 months, devoured slivers of non-sambaled stingray with gutso.
Trips home are usually once a year and short. There’s so much food to cram in, but too little calories, stomach-space and time to spare. My next visit back home will likely by next year and in the mean time, I’ll have to get by with home-cooked food and meals at Malaysian joints.