Simon Road Oyster Omelette: Back at the same spot!
Today we pay tribute to the late Mr Lim Seng Hong who passed away during Chinese New Year this year. I first met him in 2009 at the corner coffeeshop along Simon Road and was at once mesmerized by his frying technique. His pan is tilted so that the oil drains to one side while the eggs crisp up on the elevated side. Once the starch is crispy, the oysters are added and the pan bursts into tongues of fire that lick the luscious bivalves with its smokey aroma!
My quest for the origins of Singapore hawker dishes has brought me to this BBQ seafood stall at Yuhua Village Food Centre where I met the lady who claimed to be one of the first hawkers to serve BBQ Stingray in Singapore!
Once upon a time, there was a man who ran a very successful restaurant serving traditional Cantonese style food. This man, Mr Chai Kok Hoong, had two sons and he brought them up in the kitchen. He taught one son how to use the wok and the other how to steam the food. Each son was to specialise in his own area of the kitchen and wasn't allowed to encroach on the other's territory.
The couple behind Si Yang Steam Soup have been diligently serving their steam soup since 1982 and had built quite a good business at Ang Mo Kio Blk 728 before the coffeeshop was sold and they had to move to their present location. Since then, their business has dropped by so much that they are considering retirement!
The first thing that strikes you about the lapis is how many layers there are. Then as you peel the layers, just how stretchy they are. Then when you eat them, how chewy and yummy they are. The guys were having fun peeling off each layer, then twirling each layer around the finger before popping the whole finger into the mouth!
I really hate to be a naysayer, I really do. But just as I said that it is "The End of Char Kway Teow", traditional kuehs like png kueh and soon kueh are also facing an uncertain future. Consider the following questions:
Sinn Ji Chicken Rice: Young, Innovative Next Generation Hawkers
There has been much debate about how to preserve our hawker culture. One idea was to set up hawker "schools" where courses are offered on how to prepare certain dishes. On paper, this seems to be a good idea.
Soon Heng Hot and Cold Desserts: Hawkers we grow up with
I get a lot of different reactions whenever I pull out my DSLR camera. Some hawkers ask why I am taking photos. Others continue to work as if I wasn't there. But when Mrs Yang saw my camera, she quickly struck up her kawaii pose!
Seafood White Beehoon Recipe: Happy Chinese New Year!
It is actually not difficult to do and is the ideal dish for festive occasions as a wok full of bee hoon would easily feed the whole family. The key to the dish is the stock and how to handle the beehoon. With this basic recipe, you can improvise by adding other types of seafood like crayfish, lobsters, crabs etc depending on who you want to impress!
I must have walked past Lee Do Restaurant countless of times whenever I visit the Automobile Megamart, but it had never occurred to me that this austere looking eatery is one of the last guardians of Fuzhou cuisine in Singapore! I was equally intrigued to learn that they were the ones responsible for making cold crabs the popular dish that it is today!
I remember my first encounter with the BBQ Stingray. It was in a little coffee-shop in Teban Gardens in 1987. Before that, I don’t think I have ever eaten stingray. In fact, I don’t think I have ever eaten stingray in any other form since. Stingray, it seems has been created only for this one particular dish, just like no one really eats kohada in any other way other than as a sushi topping.
Liang Zhao Ji has been around since the 1960's and started off as a roadside stall outside of the Hoover theatre in Balestier. The stall moved to its current location at the Whampoa Drive Food Centre in 1978 as part of the government's initiative to clear the hawkers off the streets.