So most of these posts, save for one, is going to about the foods that I ate. I’ll be honest, I came back to Singapore and Malaysia primarily for food and for relatives. You can’t find either one elsewhere in the world. Singapore and Malaysian cuisine is very unique. A fusion of cultures, both countries have similar cuisines and also certain dishes that are very local in and of itself. However, we start first with Singapore.
One of the most prevalent food havens used to be the hawker centre. Usually they can be found next to or associated with various wet markets. A wet market is where the people of people can go get fresh meat and produce by various vendors. Usually wet markets are only open in the mornings. However, hawker centres are becoming more rare. You can still find local food centres such as the Clementi Food Centre. Mind you, my spelling is not incorrect – being a former British colony, there will be a few differences in Singaporean English (not to be confused with Singlish) compared to American English.
We’ll first start with one of my favorite dishes: noodles!
The first dish that I always have when I come back is called mee pok. Basically it is a certain type of noodle (flat egg noodle) that comes from Teochew fishball noodle stands. You can have it in a soup form but most of the time it comes dry. The option to have chili added can give a little kick but mind you, these are the lethal tiny Asian chilies.
From the same fishball stand, you can also get the option of getting laksa noodles as well. This is basically fishball noodles served in a SE Asian (not Indian, not Japanese) curry soup. There is quite a decent amount of coconut milk which gives it that sweet yet savory flavor. It’s also got a moderate amount of kick, but it usually doesn’t rip out the lining of your intestines like the chili paddies (tiny Asian chilies) do.
Momma Lim got this dish on the second day: braised duck noodles. It was actually really tasty! I’ve always liked duck, particularly roast duck, but I’ve never had it braised. It had a little more flavor than the fishball noodles, but still quite well seasoned. The duck was super tender and just cooked to perfection.
Momma Lim also got ban mian that day. How do I describe this? This dish is unique in the sense that it’s pretty much handmade noodles. Koreans have a dish similar to this with knife-cut noodles. I’m not totally sure how they make it, but you can go to this link for ban mian if you really care for more information. This dish is mainly soupy, but it’s quite a thick soup. Filling at first, it quickly empties out of the stomach and leaves you hungry two to three hours later. My favorite part are the deep fried anchovies at top. Most people usually ask for extra as I have noted.
My second favorite noodle dish that I absolutely have to have in Malaysia is KL Hokkien mee. While the name suggests that this dish can only be found in Kuala Lumpur (KL), I managed to get it in Klang as well so I got to eat this twice! My uncle also cooked it at home with fresh prawns that he had caught so that made it a three-time dish. Served with a local “soy caramel” sauce that can only be found there, it isn’t overly salty, but it definitely has great flavor. The noodles are extra thick and have to be boiled first before cooking. In addition, the one thing that really makes this dish stand out are the pork-lard bits. Pork fat are diced and then fried until all the oil is out, and all you have a nice crispy bits of … fat. It’s not the most healthiest, but it definitely adds to the flavor of this dish!
Keep your eyes out for more foods from my motherlands!