True story, a recount of a Malaysian who has just started work in Singapore.
S1 = Singaporean 1
S2 = Singaporean 2
M1 = Malaysian 1
S1 saying to M1: Today we’ll take you out to eat some delicious food
M1: *raise eyebrow
S2: You cannot say that to a Malaysian. Our delicious food is not up to par as theirs
S1: It’s ‘good’, but not as good as Malaysians’ food lah
Well-intention locals always want to introduce their delicious restaurants / food to us. But really, how good can it be? Deep down, most Singaporeans admit that Malaysia win it hands down. Are we food snob? No, I don’t think so. This fact is acknowledged by some of our Singaporean friends and relatives. We normally laughed it off as friendly banter between common people, but of course sometimes it’s turned into a propaganda by politicians.
International food, there are plenty of good ones in Singapore. But local food, there ain’t many.
Malaysians’ standards of food are really high. Delicious food to us, means it is really goooood. Singaporean’s ‘good’ food to us is just medicore food. Sorry if you find this statement offensive. No intention to spark off food war between these two countries. I just speak what’s on my mind, humble apologies if you can’t handle the truth.
Malaysia’s delicious food = really good food
Singapore’s delicious food = so-so food to us
I don’t have much must-eat food checklist whenever I travel to Singapore. Last year’s trip was different because I was traveling in from Bangkok. So I did went on a local food hunt since both Malaysia and Singapore have common food.
Ironically, the two places that passed my QC (quality check) in Singapore are both very much infused with Malaysia, both in name and in flavour.
Malaysia Boleh!‘ at Jurong Point received my seal of approval. It is a food court with Malaysia’s popular street foods under one roof. The owners actually went to Malaysia to master the skills, mind you. What does this tell you? The place was jam-packed with people when I was there.
I also approved Penang Seafood Restaurant’s assam laksa. The restaurant is located at Lor 25A Geyland. Closest MRT is Aljuneid. Again, why ‘Penang’ word used if it doesn’t denote that Penang/Malaysia’s version of assam laksa is better than Singapore?
Otherwise, influenced by Noelle, a friend of mine, I always eat Katong Laksa at 328 Katong Laksa, Bugis. This is the only one and only Singapore local food that I make it a point to eat in Singapore. I like the thin rice noodles used in katong laksa. Light curry broth made with coconut coconut milk also works for me. Sometimes, I also order nasi lemak and otah (fish paste) if my tummy has space.
Thanks to my uncle and aunt, I had some good foods during my recent trip. But will I make a special trip for it? No, I won’t. Good food, but not great, that’s why.
If you’re in the neighbourhood of Bukit Merah, there are two stalls worth trying at Alexandra Village Food Centre:
Xiang Jiang, stall no #01-77 – their dumplings and soya sauce chicken are good, best to be eaten with wanton noodle. Aunt L commented that the dumpling is filled with prawns, muhsrooms and water chestnuts. The addition of water chestnut gives the dumpling a good-crunchy bite.
Rui Ji, stall no #01-61 – Uncle S ordered their famous sliced fish porridge. The raw sliced fish is eaten raw as it is, unlike back home … so it’s like a ‘sashimi fish porridge‘ to me.
Another place that I would like to revisit is Tong Shui Desserts at People’s Park Centre (MRT Chinatown). I went there twice this trip; this says a lot about the quality of the desserts. And most importantly, it’s not too sweet.
Not a favourite, but I had my first charcoal egg tart in Singapore. I stumbled upon Chef Hong H.K. Bakery at Chinatown, and Uncle S bought it for me to try. Thanks, Uncle S.