I have been in Singapore for a week now and I am more than impressed by the array of food choices this country offers. As I have been living in Hong Kong for quite some time, I expected Singapore to offer the same predictable Chinese cuisine as I have been getting in Hong Kong. But hey, I was surprised to find such a strong Malay influences in its dishes and I cannot be happier with it.
So, I went to Makansutra Gluttons Bay (located here, exit City Hall or Esplanade MRT station) on Wednesday to meet a friend I hadn’t seen for a long time. The place had this nice, Southeast Asian hawker vibe all over it that I had been craving since the last time I left Indonesia (it’s been a whole 2 years now!) It is an open space, with food kiosks laying on one side of the area and benches on the other side. Customers order food with the good-ol’ self-service-style from any of the kiosks they like, and take the food they order to their seats.
As we arrived, my friend and I blissfully ordered food from the kiosks. We gladly picked each dish from different kiosks, as I went outside my comfort zone and chose food that I had no idea what it was. First up was Mee Rebus (4 SGD)— literally Boiled Noodle in Malay. I have to say, it is a really strange name for noodles doused in peanut sauce! Well, it tastes quite good as I have always been one of the biggest fans of peanut sauce and I do appreciate the addition of chunks of chilli pepper in it 🙂 On the downside though, I would prefer the noodle to be more chewy, as this one is a bit overcooked and soggy.
Next is Sambal Kangkung (6 SGD) — I have no clear translation of kangkung in other languages (English: morning glory, water spinach, swamp cabbage; Chinese: 蕹菜, 空心菜, 通菜). Quite pricey for something I can find in half its price in Indonesia (maybe even less), but I do appreciate the spiciness of the belacan sauce and the subtle reminder of home.
Last but not least, the Carrot Cake (small, 4 SGD), and it was the highlight of the day. It’s not the western style of carrot cake for dessert, but rather a savory take of the vegetable, made into small chunks of mouth watering chewiness. It is then fried with eggs and kecap manis (Southeast Asian sweet soysauce), topped with spring onions and sambal (Southeast Asian chilli sauce) on the side. Even though I wish they made the chunks a bit bigger for me to taste the cake, I do regret not ordering the bigger portion for a slightly higher price (6 HKD). I will definitely hunting for another variation of this dish in other places.