Bad Year, Good Food, Great Stories
By KF Seetoh - Thursday, Jan 07, 2021
In this unsettling year of the Covid 19 pandemic, we obtained a Unesco recognition for our hawker food culture. This award is a lot more than about delicious hawker food. It is also about you, me and an organic industry that thrives on this relationship we have with great hawker food. So, in the year ahead, do pay attention to the elements in our food culture that is “beyond deliciousness”. It’s the least we can do to honour the hawkers that gave us this culture. This is also the year Makansutra launched its 11th and first food guide e-book edition, given absolutely free. Just google “ebook makansutra”, log in and let your fingers hunt a meaningful meal for you onscreen. Here are some of the tales of deliciousness we’ve uncovered in this ebook (https://makansutra.com/ebook/ ). Rating is out of a maximum of 6 Chopsticks or what we term “Die Die Must Try”. (check out the videos too)
Masakan Anak Bujang (Nasi Kerabu) 1 Bedok Road, #01-25, Bedok Corner Hawker Centre. 9am-9pm. Close on Tuesday.
Herman was an “office worker” before he upped and left for Kelantan to learn the ways of cooking Nasi Kerabu, a light coconut rice coloured by blue pea flower (“not colouring”, he reminds us he uses the bunga telang for it), with chopped raw herbs and vegetables, spooned over with budu (a fermented anchovies sauce from Kelantan), serunding (roasted grated coconut) and a tangy and refreshing vinegarish sambal. He serves exactly that in this stall opened in 2019. You can choose to top it with fried chicken or fish or both, plus solok lada, a fish and grated coconut paste with pepper stuffed in a grilled green chilli. Those pieces of fish crackers are so right for the whole dish too. Rated 5 chopsticks or “Divine” by Makansutra
Nasi Kerabu from Masakan Anak Bujang
One Mouth Noodle (wanton mee) Blk 51, Yishun Ave 11, #01-12, Yishun Park Hawker Centre. 9am-8.30pm daily.
This is a local boy doing a Hong Kong style wanton mee. It’s rare treat to see hawkers making noodles on site from scratch.. from opening the pack of flour, sieving it, mixing with eggs and a pinch of salt, then folding, kneading..repeat. It’s all arm power. When done, his little noodle machine turns the dough it into fine aldente and springy wanton noodles. He blanches and sauces it with a simple soy, sesame blend. He also makes his own cha siew in a little roaster at the back of stall. Those fresh made cha siew over the noodles is a celebration of our hawker food culture. The “qq” noodles and those cha siew are moist with bits of burnt edges. He also makes his own wanton with some fats and cartilage that lend so much flavour to it. Rated 5 chopsticks or “Divine” by Makansutra.
One Mouth Noodles at Yishun Park Hawker Cte
Chendol Melaka (nasi ulam) 15 Upper East Coast Road, Soy Eu Tua Kopitiam. (Nasi Ulam available from 10.30am-12.30pm only.) . Closed on Monday.
This may well be the only hawker stall left offering this delightfully complex dish in Singapore. Nonya Daisy and her husband Colin runs this little stall, which was a collaboration with the late Datuk Kenny Chan of Malacca, a culinary treasure from Malaysia. They place over 10 raw herbs and spices, finely hand chopped and then folded into to the rice and tossed it with a special rempah. The result, a magnificent little plate of aromatic herbed rice, eaten simply with dollop of their own made and very spicy sambal. They don’t make a lot of it each day as Colin mans the stall alone on most days. Just go early, tear into it and finish it off with a bowl of their signature Chendol, made with gula melaka from, of course, Malacca. Rated 5 chopsticks or “Divine” by Makansutra
The nasi ulam has 10 herbs and aromatics blended into the rice
May you all have a glorious new year, comforted by great food and fantastic friends and family.