Ok ... no visit to Singapore is complete without a visit to Tiong Bahru. I have blogged about this wonderfully bohemian part of town in a previous post. But the neighbourhood is so cool (I have been reliably informed that Katong is now snapping at its heels), it is worth a second post, something I try to avoid.
This time round, we literally hopped from one table to the next around the foodcourt, imbibing different dishes along the way.
We started with Chwee Kueh this time, at the Jian Bo stall which is our favourite. The preserved vegetable topping is so delicious here. There is always a queue for these delicious little morsels.
After wolfing these down, we moved onto Chee Cheong Fan. Another rice cake favourite of mine. Take note that this is the simplified version. Just the rice strips, no filling, and topped with a sweet sauce, and sprinkled with sesame seeds. There are other versions of Cheong Fan that have a filling of some sort, but you know us Singaporeans, its only ever our version!!
And you would think that that would have soothed even the most gargantuan of hungry beasts - but we had room for a plate of Char Kway Teow. As I'm not a fan of cockles, I always get them to hold the See Ham (blood cockles). But I imagined that leaving this off the final dish might actually change the flavour a little.
I still do long for the days when Char Kway Teow was redolent of crispy pork fat and served in a pool of its own grease. Health drives should have no place in a Hawker Centre. Let the "priviliged" congegrate in air conditioned comfort and slurp their watered down and bastardised versions of local cuisine and congratulate themselves on being connected yet superior at the same time. No Lard, No Fat? No Flavour lor??!!
PS - if you think you have had the real deal at your local Malaysian restaurant, think again. Char Kway Teow in its Hawker style variant is a simple dish - noodles, lup cheong (chinese sausage) and slices of chinese fish cake - thats pretty much all that goes in the dish (oh and the aforementioned See Ham - which is optional of course)!
Aah Tiong Bahru, I still want to live here.