The truth of the matter is that I eat Oyster Omelette only once or twice a year. It is something of a guilty pleasure and I don’t like to feel guilty too often. This time round I had a good excuse to eat Orh Luak because I wanted to take a new photo for my book “Only The Best”. My other Orh Luak photos taken over the years were just not good enough and in the last two years I have not really added any new stalls in my blog. So I took the opportunity to do another writeup on this famous Oyster Omelette which used to be located in the corner coffeeshop along Simon Road. The coffeeshop has undergone renovations and the stall has moved further up the road to the junction of Florence Close. However, people still talk about the Oyster Omelette at Simon Road and to confuse the matter, there is now another Oyster Omelette stall in the newly refurbished coffeeshop at the exact spot where this stall used to be. So it is easy to get confused!
For those of you who are fans of this stall, the photo above should be able to make you cry out: “Yes! That is the uncle who used to be frying at the corner coffeeshop along Simon Road! But for those of you who need a little more convincing, you can refer to my post on this stall written in 2009 and see for yourself!
One of the most satisfying things about writing ieatishootipost is the ability to preserve a part of Singapore’s Hawker Heritage for future generations! Above is the photo of the Oyster Omelette man taken in 2009 when he was still in the old coffeshop along Simon Road. This photo has been published in my book “The End of Char Kway Teow” and serves as a precious piece of Singapore history for posterity.
I love these old coffeeshops where the hawkers were at the front of the coffeeshop instead of the back. I know it is probably more practical to have the stalls at the back, but how I wish the next coffeeshop tycoon would turn back the clock and put the hawkers in front again! I am sure that it only takes some creative out of the box thinking to get it done! It makes more sense in terms of marketing the hawkers dishes when they are in front instead of behind. You can walk along the five foot way and just browse and see what you want to eat. In fact you can even see them when you are driving in the car! As a kid, I would often stand along the five foot way and wait for my dishes to be prepared. That was how I learnt how to fry Hokkien Mee and Char Kway Teow! I wonder how many kids nowadays know the hawker prepares their dishes?
One of the reasons that I love our hawkers so much is that they are just specialists in their field. They spend their whole lifetime just perfecting one dish. This uncle started at the age of 12 as a stall assistant at an Oyster Omelette stall serving and washing dishes. When he was 20, he was then allowed to start frying the omelette. After working for many years, he started his own stall and moved around before settling in the Simon Road Coffeeshop around 20 years ago.
The thing that sets his Oyster Omelette apart from the other is his way of frying the sweet potato starch into a wafer like crisp. When I first ate there in 2009, I wrote that it was way too crispy. However, in subsequent visits it was much better and I subsequently grew to appreciate his unique style of cooking.
In order to get the potato starch to that level of crispiness, it needs to be fried for an extended time in hot oil. The way he does this is to tilt his flat pan so that the egg and starch mixture is slowing cooking in a pool of oil while he uses the other side of the pan to prepare individual portions and finish the dish. If you look at my photos, you will notice that there is always a burst of flames during the cooking process. That is when he adds the oysters to the far side of the pan. The oyster juices mix with the oil, causing the oil to spatter and catch fire. This gives the oyster a really nice and smokey flavour!
I recently brought Gurmit Singh and the crew from Makan Lost and Found there to film Uncle in action and I discovered a new way of enjoying his oyster omelette! The crew had ordered one plate of Orh Luak and one plate of Orh Nerng (omelette without the starch). Both were really nice on their own, but then I discovered the wonderful contrast in texture when you combine the crispy potato starch with the fluffy eggs! Add a wonderfully fresh oyster and dip it in the excellent zesty chilli sauce and Pow! Umami cholesterol bomb! Why does something so good have to be so bad for you? 4.5/5
I hope this helps clear up the confusion over who really is the real Simon Road Oyster Omelette. This oyster omelette is good for those who like their potato starch really crispy! He can of course make it more sticky if you request for it. Better still if you combine both the Orh Luak and Orh Nerng for the ultimate Oyster Omelette experience!
Simon Road Oyster Omelette