While attending the opening ceremony of the Singapore Food Festival, I met an old friend whose friends were a bunch of food bloggers who were just so hardworking about reviewing the dishes and making sure all their pictures turned out pretty. I guess I should do a little local promotion here too. This year’s festival focus is on “Top Ten Must-Try Local Dishes” – all in the good cause of promoting heritage and tourism. (I am bugged by “Must-Try”, just like how I am bugged by “Can-Do” and “Win-Win”) Here’s a recollection of my favourite dish of the lot: Chicken Rice, brought to you by those lovely culinary-inclined migrants from Hainan Island.
Brown paper, styrofoam boxes, white spoon, little chilli sauce packets ready to burst, sticky black sauce drizzled chocolate fudge style. Campfires, cheap dates, sweaty suppers after Zouk, lazy Sunday afternoons, every Thursday dinner at home, first meal to eat after returning from random ang moh country, last resort dinner after late work night. One good stall near gong-gong’s house, high class one at Chatter Box, homemade in Melbourne with rusty rice cooker and magic Prima Deli paste. Ju only eats the skin, sis only eats the rice, D. needs roasted pork, mum likes extra organs, dad asks for an egg. My default order: shao ji xiong fan da bao. Resentful when there’s baby kai lan added. Bonus points for soup that does not taste like dishwater with MSG. First dish to discover cucumbers aren’t bad, especially dunked in chicken fat oil. First dish to think of when homesick. Last dish to think of because of “evil-hormones-that-make-9yearolds-grow-breasts”. Still love you even if there’s less of you these days in my life.