December 17, 2013

Makan 2013 Day 2: old local favorites

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I woke up this morning feeling physically drained, so I allowed myself the luxury of not hauling my ass out of bed to jog off the calories.  I guess I'll do that tomorrow morning, after a heavy day of eating today...

I putzed around the apartment in the morning, spending a little bit of time with my aunt who's putting me up.  Eventually I headed out for a very pretty late breakfast, riding out to the middle of Singapore island to find one of the things I just can't get outside of Singapore and Malaysia - decent roti prata.

The last time I went to The Roti Prata House on Upper Thomson Road was almost 10 years ago, just before I moved out of Singapore back to Hong Kong.  It's been touted by many to be among the top roti prata outlets in town, and I have fond memories of the place.  On a trip two years ago, I was just about to get into a taxi to head there when a last-minute phone call from a client derailed my plans.  I've been hankering to go back ever since.  I'm a creature of habit, and I knew exactly what I wanted even before I walked in.

Kopi tarik - you just can't do prata without a teh or kopi tarik.  It's been too long...

Plaster - my favorite variation, with an egg "plastered" in the middle of the prata.  Nom nom nom... and of course the curry is all-important.  I don't think I got enough.  Should have asked for more...

You don't trek all the way out here just to have one lousy prata... but given I was due to have lunch in a couple of hours, I figure I couldn't go overboard, so I ordered a plain prata.  Not bad, and in fact drier and crispier than plain ones elsewhere.  Unfortunately I ran out of curry so I couldn't soak it thoroughly.

Satiated, I made my way back to the apartment and waited for the next meal... which was naturally a late lunch, and once again brought me back to an old favorite.

I used to hit Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh (亞華肉骨茶) on Havelock Road every single time I came to Singapore.  The routine in those days was I'd fly in from Hong Kong on the last flight on Friday, land just before midnight, drop my bags off at the hotel by 12:30 and head straight to Velvet Underground  to party until they kicked us out at 2am (or was it 3am?).  Then we'd walk over to Ya Hua, have some bak kut teh (肉骨茶) for supper and then head home (the hotel room in my case) to sleep.

I never went to the other Ya Hua - Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha (歐南園亞華肉骨茶) - at the PSA Tanjong Pagar Complex.  Well I've never been this close to it, so I figured I'd hit it for lunch.

Spare ribs soup (排骨湯) - I didn't realize this place offers two different types of ribs, as the other Ya Hua sure never did.  I went for the spare ribs, and actually ticked the box that says "lean" on the order sheet (again not an option that is available at the other outlet).  Naturally the meat was a little overcooked, as bak kut teh isn't actually about the meat but all about the soup.  And the soup had the familiar mix of spices which include a heavy dose of garlic and pepper.  Love that kick in the back of my throat.  Every once in a while the waitress would come over and pour extra soup in my bowl.

Fried dough stick (油條) - out of habit I would always order Chinese crullers to dip into the soup, even though they're usually a little soggy.

Chrysanthemum greens (茼蒿) - love this veggie and don't have it enough.

All washed down with a glass of cold barley water (薏米水).  Happy happy.  Burp.  Now I would have a few hours' break before the highlight of the day...

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