Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 5 : Din

Because Hub and his younger bro are leaving tomorrow while Ming and I stay back, we gave in to BIL's request to have salty soy bean soup for dinner. Now, of all the Shanghainese food, salty beancurd soup (xen dou jiang) is my top dislike, plus sticky rice rolls (tze fun), which is Shanghainese sushi. The only thing that my MIL cooks which I don't eat (but my kids do) is chow doe jiang, which is firm beancurd, mushrooms, meat, bamboo shoots etc fried in a hot fermented bean curd sauce.

Years ago my older BIL found a Shanghainese restuarant called Yong He in Geylang, and since then whenever any of the family visits Singapore, he'd go there for a meal. But I won't even give you the address because I think the food's really horrible!

The xen dou jiang (top left) is beancurd jelly (or you can choose soy bean milk) with soy sauce, sesame oil, some spring onions and ja cai, a preserved veg. Because I'm used to eating sweet beancurd jelly, eating the salted version feels weird. The feeling is like eating salty ice-cream I suppose. In the front, wrapped in plastic, is tze fun (sticky rice) which has meat floss and ja cai. Nope, not for me. I spat out the first bite of the crullers (yew tiaw); it tasted and smelt of ammonia! It amazed me as my Hub and his bros continued eating the stinky bread.

This, would you believe it, is xiao long bao. As wrinkled as me on a winter day.


The most edible thing was the spring onion pancake. Ming and I looked at each other as the others ate, and we both decided to make a run; surely there's better food in Geylang! (Later that night, Hub whispered to me that the food was indeed bad, but he didn't want to upset his bro)

Geylang is the red-light area of Singapore. Yes, even squeaky-clean Singapore needs hookers. It was an eye-opener for Ming and I to see the girls standing by the roadside and soliciting business with any car (driver) that slowed down on the road. We were told that if we walked the side streets, the girls would literally grab any guy who walks by. There were streets of Thai girls, Indonesian girls, Filipinas, but most of all, there were girls from China. And these girls from China were very bold, sitting out having dinner at the restaurants, clinging to their 'johns' , very old dirty men. The girls aren't that young themselves. We were told (by the taxi driver) that younger girls don't walk the streets, they stay in apartments above the shops and you can tell they are there because they would light up red lanterns that dangle from the windows.

Ming and I were slightly afraid, for the first time in Singapore, and we didn't go very far. Geylang felt so dirty in every way. We ended up in a restaurant across the street from the restaurant where Hub and his bros were eating (made me feel much safer) and we ended up eating this, which, despite its looks, was a 1000x better than the food at Yong He:

Bak kut teh (herbal pork ribs soup S$5), with side dishes of beancurd skin (S$2) and preserved veg (S$2).

After dinner, we walked along the streets trying to get a cab. I was told that the girls would lay off if they see a female with a group of men, so I hung back a little, and sure enough, I saw a girl talking to Hub as he walked by. Ming was totally disgusted, but I felt very sorry for them, so far from home and doing what they were doing.

Ming brightened up when we came to a large durian stall. We chose a Buddhist-temple-sounding durian, the maw san wang which, as I look at the pic (and feel very proud that I can actually read 3 Chinese characters) really means 'cat mountain king' whatever that means (S$8/kg) and another one (S$12/kg) recommended by a guy who looks like a loan shark, or a robber. You know, the scary-face type.


When the durians were opened, I was taken aback by their color: a bright sulphuric yellow to a golden yellow.

Thick-fleshed, strong;y-flavored, creamy and sweet but slightly over-ripe and mushy. I was so full I had to seal my lips by pressing them close with my fingers to keep the food from coming out.


ganache-ganache said...

hey, I thought Yong He near Lorong 9, Geylang is the famous Taiwanese shop that sells the yummiest 豆浆 &
烧饼 ?

bryan said...

DURIAN! *slobbers*

Ganache your carrot cake was delicious and very well received by all, including my very fussy-about-food gf!

ganache-ganache said...

Re Malay food, how about Seri Melaka @ Kg Air ?

Denise ^ ChiCkyEGG said...

my malay collq told me
Raya Nyonya,Tonghing
Sri melaka
Kak Nong Restaurant, bundusan (but not sure got air con or not)

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

ganache: tt's the same shop, but it has moved since a few months back we were told. it was empty except for 2 tables...

bryan: i couldn't find any at foh san n lido. our supply & market is so small! wah, ganache, u must open a shop soon!

ganache & denise: tq dears! i haven't beeen to sri melaka for yrs! ok, will try it. there's good malay/nyonya restaurant in Wisma Millenia (near Krishnan's curry hse) but it's not air-coned n the food can be variable; droolteam blogged about it.

Anonymous said...

I was just craving badly for that "yao cha kwai" to be dipped in congee or even bah kut teh...mmmm

any idea where I could get recipes for that yao cha kwai???

Fooman said...

Its not purely malay, and its not simple, but I really like Spice Islands at the Sutera marina. Oh yeah, don't wear shorts. :)

Fooman said...

There's a Malay restaurant next to Ruby Hotel that's aircon, but nothing special about the food.

Fooman said...

The baba nonya place has good rendang, rojak, cendol and asam fish head. For curry fish head, go next door. You can always tapau home, although cendol would be difficult to take home. But its not really a Malay restaurant either.

Fooman said...

Rasa Nonya is about as far as Malay and Nonya as you can get. hahah.

Rei said...

Yong He's standard has dropped nowadays, unfortunately. :p

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

anon: i do have a recipe for yew ja kwey but u have to use ammonia & other unhealthy stuff. still want it?

fooman: y didn't u msg me, bc we went to Kohinoor instead (thinking Cat'll never be able to tell indian from malay after >25 yrs in the US). they liked it.

rei: must be so bc i can't imagine how good it was b4!

Anonymous said...

Well, I suppose I can take unhealthy food once in a blue moon??? Can I have the recipe pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaase???? Reaaaaally craving for it~~!! Can't seem to find it anywhere being overseas!!

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

anon: ok but i have to test it out first bc the last time i made it, i omitted the unhealthy ingredients n the yew tiao wasn't too soft.

Fooman said...

Sorry, wasn't sure when you were going. Its been a while since I've been to Kohinoor, but I remember enjoying it. For that type of Indian food its a toss up between Anjapar in KAC and Kohinoor.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

fooman: last night all of us who've been to anjuppur agreed it isn't as good as kohninoor!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Terri!! Can't wait to see the recipe!

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