Food, is one of my favorite topics!I was wondering if I should write about some fantastic dining experiences.How about exotic/gourmet food? I even thought of scrumptious snacks and home cooked food. It was hard to pick a favorite – there are so many. I then decided to write about the ones which have some memorable experiences attached to them. Each one with some kind of a ‘story’ behind it. So, in random order,let’s begin.
This spicy, lip smacking, coconut based curried, noodle soup tops my list of the ultimate comfort food I have ever had.
My sister and I have shared Laksa on more than one occasion. One day, famished at the end of a long session of grocery shopping, we headed straight to the Laksa counter. The hot humid Singapore heat had given way to a drizzle along with a lovely cool breeze- it was just the right weather for Laksa. After ordering and getting our customized bowl, we sat and we began attacking our huge bowl of Laksa!
We slurped the thick rice noodles, we gulped the floating deep fried succulent chunks of tofu puffs (filled with an assortment of vegetables) and we relished every drop of the curry which was so hot- it made us pant and it made our eyes and nose water.
In between mouthfuls, we sipped sugarcane juice (with ginger and lemon) and listened to the pitter-patter of the rain. We sure savored this one. The taste still lingers in my mouth (or is it mind)
2.Kopi and Kaya toast–
I was not so keen to try this one. But, after hearing so much about this well known staple Singapore breakfast, I wanted to try it. So, one morning I went out with my family and got all set for this breakfast. We sat down with a tray which had a plate of two warm and crispy bread slices toasted just right.Slathered in between the toast was a generous layer of soft butter and a smear of sweet-smelling kaya jam (Malaysian coconut, egg jam). There was also a bowl with two soft boiled eggs and a cup of kopi( black coffee) .
We broke the egg shells, poured the soft boiled eggs into a dish and seasoned it with soy sauce and pepper. We then dipped the kaya toast into it( l am not so fond of half boiled eggs,so the next time I opted for hard boiled ones) We had sips of kopi in between bites. I really enjoyed this simple and delectable breakfast treat.
3.Fish and chips– I had been dying to have this well-known English meal for long. During a visit to England, we drove to a famous place which served them and alas-it had shutdown.
The place where we stayed, whenever we walked/ drove down a road, there was a familiar sight every afternoon outside some eateries- school children hanging out after school hours, having either hot chips or hot fried chicken. I always drooled over it 🙂 One of the places there served fish n chips, but somehow we never went there.
Later,while on a sightseeing trip (it was the peak of winter) I finally got a taste of it. It was cold, almost freezing. The weather was just right for this meal. With our takeaway food parcel, we sat on a bench outside (it was icy cold). We unwrapped the brown paper and out came the light, golden and beautifully fried crispy fish. It wasn’t greasy at all. The chips (with a dash of salt, pepper and vinegar) made a perfect combination with the fish. We spread the tartar sauce all over the fish and squeezed some lemon- it was simply divine and delicious.It was the best fish and chips that I have ever had.
4.Dal dhokli – As a child, one afternoon I went to my friend’s house. It was pouring outside. I knocked on their door, someone opened it and what did I see? The children and their father were seated on the floor in a circle with one big plate of piping hot yummy Dal dhokli (dish made with lentils and savory dumplings). It had ghee and lemon juice sprinkled on it. It is one sight I will never forget. Till today, I have not tasted this famed Gujrati dish.
I was lucky to taste their other specialty- the rotlas (flatbread made with jowar/bajra). Hot and straight off the coal stove, drizzling with ghee and red chutney spread all over it.
5. Sukat(dried fish) chutney- The housemaid always welcomed all in her cozy house, anytime. She also offered to share their meal. One day, late evening I went to her house. There she was, making chapattis on her choola (native cooking wood fire in India). I was never fond of dried fish. But when I opened and smelled the container in which she had prepared her typical, authentic, flaming red chutney I could not control myself. I grabbed a chapatti, spread the chutney onto it and before she could say anything I ate it!( that was so naughty)
6.Batata wadas with thecha– This was a long time ago. Near our grandfather’s home, there was this place where we got very tasty batata wadas. One day, the maid was requested to go and buy these .An order was given for four dozen wadas (as there were plenty of people). Just after the housemaid got back with the piping hot, mouth watering batata wadas, some guests (women) arrived, unexpectedly.The ladies in the house had to attend to them.
After waiting only a few minutes, the men(there were three) did not want to wait any longer. They decided to have their share of it. They had their share, and after a while when they saw that the guests did not show any sign of leaving, they thought why not eat a few more? The wadas were getting cold (the ladies can order more later)
So, they had a few more. They were so yummy that soon the wadas started to disappear; one by one. Between the three of them they managed to polish off four dozen wadas!Along with it they finished the fiery thecha ((spicy condiment made with green chilies) as well. One can only imagine how furious the ladies were when they found out.
7.Onion biscuits– These delectable biscuits from the US were securely kept by my grandfather in his cupboard. Occasionally he would share these with us. He would carefully removed the biscuit box and ration these out (1 or 2 max) to us kids. How we loved those biscuits! All these years, I have searched for those particular onion biscuits- in India and overseas, but have not come across them anywhere.
8. Barbeque nation–
This is one place which has never failed to disappoint me-right from the service, the quality, quantity and selection of barbeque food. Till date, I have visited this place about 6 or 7 times. It must have been my 5 visit. The round of appetizers kept coming . I ate until I could eat no more.
After a brief break, I surprised myself- I started again, this time even more. How could I eat when I was feeling so full? There was no way I could go on to the main course-I was bursting.
I took a long break, took a stroll and felt better. I then went to ‘have a look’ at the main course buffet. I thought, I should try just a spoonful of everything. I managed to taste (and waste).
Now, how could I leave without tasting the desserts? So, one more break I was back with a plate(I shared it). I found it hard get up, walk and breathe! I left vowing never to return. But, I did and never again have I eaten like that again (or want to)
Then there is my ‘pizza story’ and many more but I’ll leave the rest for another time. I hope you have enjoyed reading this one. Do share your food experiences with me.