Wednesday, February 22, 2006


With home getting ever closer, I find myself thinking of food, both Singaporean and home-cooked, with increasing frequency. I've therefore decided to write a post about the food I like and dislike.

First, my favourites:

i) Eggs

I love eggs. In any form. Omelettes, hard boiled, half boiled, cakes, 糕點 etc. But my favourite has to be omelettes. Especially 肉挫炒蛋 and 菜圃蛋. 慧 loves eggs too. In fact, she often hankers grandma for egg dishes,

“Ma ma煮egg egg!”

So it is very often on our menu. Good for me.

I thought I was a bad enough egg lover until Stef told to us a few months back that as a child, she would take FIVE eggs EVERY DAY. Our collective jaws dropped on hearing that.

ii) Soup

This is my mum's speciality. And also one of the things I want to learn after I finish with my actuarial exams (ah... let me add this to
the list). My favourites are her 花生蓮藕湯 and 苦瓜湯.

For the former, she has to set things up in the morning, like 7a.m., and let the ingredients simmer the whole day until around 6p.m. before serving. If I were home, I would be smelling it for the whole day, especially when I venture into the kitchen. That's enough for me to work up a huge appetite by the time dinner rolls in. For the record, the main ingredients include lotus roots, peanuts, 枸杞子 (sorry, I don't know how to translate this) and a few chicken breasts.

For the latter, it is a simpler affair. The main ingredients are bitter gourd, tomatoes and toufu. My mum always manages to get the mix of ingredients just right so that none of the three overpowers the other two. So no, it doesn't taste bitter.

There was once when she had forgotten to buy tomatoes and had put in only half the usual portion (what was left in the house). One sip (without looking) and I told her the 苦瓜湯 tasted weird that day. She commented that my tastebuds are quite powderful. Heh.

iii) Roast duck

Oh, I love the smell of roast duck. The skin.... the SKIN. The lucky thing for me is roast duck is quite readily available in Sydney. Not only that, the quality of it is about the same as that I can find back home. So I do get to have my regular fix of it here.

iv) French beans

I think I am quite a vegetable person as well. Top on my vegetables list is French beans. I really like its chewy texture.

I've since realised that the French beans imported from Australia taste the best (they are a darker hue of green). Which is a good thing since I get to have it quite often here when I feel like it.

v) 海南雞飯

Strangely enough, I came to really like chicken rice only after a stall opened in the huge hawker centre (120 stalls strong) near my home. Needless to say, this stall is quite good. Prior to its opening, chicken rice was a 可有可無 kind of thing for me.

Many years ago, Le Tis introduced me to a restaurant in Fort Road that served very nice chicken rice. Not been there for ages; I wonder if it is still open for business.

Later on, I discovered the old style restaurant in Purlis Street. It has been there since the second World War, judging from some of the plaques I see there. I go there quite often now since it is so conveniently located.

vi) 炒粿條

The more sinful the food, the more tasty it is.

I started really liking it after my former colleague introduced me to a stall in the food centre at Hong Lim Complex. I still remember that we would leave office at 11:30a.m., walk like 10 minutes there so that we may put in our orders early, then enjoy our 炒粿條 at a leisurely pace and finish way before the lunchtime crowds move in.

vii) Sliced pork stir-fried in dark soy sauce

Another of my mum's specialities. She calls it dao eu ba (hokkien for dark soya sauce meat). Another one of those dishes where the saying of "the more sinful the food, the more tasty it is" applies. But given my BMI, I need all the fat I can get. :P

viii) Ice cream, Haagen Daz only

So now you know
the culprit behind my niece's unconventional alphabet renditions.

When I first came over to Sydney, the local suburb's
Coles stocked Haagen Daz. My Hong Kong coursemate and I would often be found seated on the benches just outside that particular Coles and digging into our Haagen Daz. After some time, we noticed that we seemed to be the only ones buying the ice cream.

We were right. Soon after, that same
Coles stopped selling it. And I have gone Haagen Daz-less since (too lazy to try supermarkets of neighbouring suburbs).

ix) Japanese food

This, I learnt to love only after coming over to Sydney. There is a distinctly Singaporean flavour to Japanese food sold in Singapore that I dislike. The Japanese food I get to taste here has a distinctly Japanese flavour. So much so that I've taken to eating and enjoying sushi (which is unusual for me, see my dislikes below). I've never ever taken raw food in my life, until Sydney's Japanese food.

It is strange that a "less Asian" city than Singapore would have much more authentic and better tasting Japanese food to offer.

x) Watermelon

My favourite fruit. Since I was a kid.

I find the texture, sweetness and juiciness of watermelons in Singapore to be far superior to that I can find in Sydney. So I've been going watermelon-less over here too. *Sigh*

xi) Nata de coco

This I discovered during my NS. There was a canteen in my camp that sold this. This was really difficult to find back then. Some places call it Nata, some 椰果. I believe its full chinese name is 椰縴果. I like it as a dessert because it is not too sweet and because of its chewy texture. It is said to be high in fibre, hence its name, and good for your bowel movements. :P

My favourite combination is to have it go with 仙草 (glass jelly) and shaved ice. The slightly bitter 仙草 acts as a perfect foil to the slightly sweet Nata.

The fortunate thing for me is it has become increasing easy to find in Singapore. The dessert stall downstairs from my flat has it now. I've been told it is also available in cans in supermarkets. I managed to find them in oriental supermarkets in Sydney, but they just don't taste the same without the 仙草 and shaved ice.

And to balance things up, a list of my dislikes:

i) Fish

Before Sydney, I would say ALL fish. After Sydney, I have to 改口供 and say only cooked fish. Unfortunately for me, my mum and later on, my niece too, are fish lovers. So fish often finds its way onto the dining table. I would grudgingly take a piece or two before waving the white flag.

There is one particular fish dish that I like though. Deep fried pomfret.

But with a twist.

I don't take its meat. I attack its gills, fins and tail only. Yes, the crunchy bits. So if I happen to have my dinner before everyone, the deep fried pomfret will only have its meat remaining by the time I am done. Which is fine by the rest of the family, since they all enjoy its meat. Because of this, pomfret is a good compromise for my family. If we have to have fish, more often than not, it will be pomfret.

ii) Hot food (read spicy)

I don't like chilli. I feel it covers up the dish's natural taste.

iii) Beef

I don't like its smell, especially when it is raw. So no, I don't like steak as well. I only take beef when it is fully cooked. Even then, I take very little of it.

iv) Mutton

Same as beef.

v) Dairy products

Again, I am scared of the smell. So the milk I take has to be flavoured. Ice cream, is of course ok.

In the same announcement about taking five eggs a day when she was a kid, Stef also told us she took TWO full bottles of milk on a DAILY basis.

vi) Durian

Same thing, the smell. I had it once when I was a kid. Almost threw up. Have sworn off it since.

vii) Seafood

I find that for the trouble to get to most seafood's meat, only to find how little there is and how bland they taste, it is just not worth it. OK, so I am lazy. But even if it is already de-shelled and all prepared for me, I still feel no special affinity for it.

Most of my friends feel I am uniquely un-Singaporean after hearing my food preferences and dislikes. Heh.

Akan Datang: Three measures

51 days to go.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

枸杞子 are known as Wolfberries.

I suppose u are referring to "Yet Con" restaurant located at Purvis Street, not Perlis Street.


Wed Feb 22, 09:26:00 am 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

So des ne! Thanks!

(Wolfberries doesn't sound half as appetising as its chinese name.)

Wed Feb 22, 10:08:00 am 2006  
Blogger Little Miss Drinkalot said...

I think Ben & Jerry's is far superior to Haagen Daz in terms of variety of flavours.

And I love fish. Especially the fins, tails and head.

Wed Feb 22, 05:00:00 pm 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Yeah, a lot of my friends tell me the same about Ben & Jerry's too.

But ...

... I only like Chocolate and Coffee flavoured ice cream (although I don't drink coffee). So variety doesn't add much value for me.

Wed Feb 22, 05:11:00 pm 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

vii) Sliced pork stir-fried in dark soy sauce

This is my mom's speciality too! At least it sounds & looks like the one my mom cooked.
We named it 'Hei Hei Zhu Rou'. heh heh..

Tue Mar 07, 10:13:00 am 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Oh really, Anon? Heh, it looks like it's not such a specialised dish then.

And thanks for dropping by, whoever you are. *Grin*

Tue Mar 07, 10:17:00 am 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hehe, you are welcome.

Call me ms blackpork then =p

You got yourself another reader.

Tue Mar 07, 05:31:00 pm 2006  
Blogger Acey Deucey said...

Hmm?! Ms. Blackpork?! Such an unflattering name. Ha ha ha...

Tue Mar 07, 05:43:00 pm 2006  

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