Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lunch @ Tiong Bahru Market

S'been a while since I was last at Tiong Bahru Market. This was the first time I've visited since they've renovated. The place looks a lot more spacious and well lit and there also seemed to be a whole lot more food stores than I remember having been in the older market. Hunger had also changed the perspective of options and it made us look like we were spoilt for choice.

Lunch today was a blood curdling carbo fest. Char kuey teow, chwee kuey and carrot cake. Of course I didn't eat all of it alone. I thought the Mediterranean Salad dude ate more than I did in which I was grateful for. Grateful because I didn't have to make myself eat more and there was no wastage. He was dripping with enthusiasm - makeing a beeline to Lao Chen's stall which still had a short queue (was already late for lunch). He mentioned having it recently and saying that it was like, the best carrot cake he's ever had. Maybe 6 years in France changes perspectives also. It was nice carrot cake, but best is a description I try to avoid. I believe in the subjective opinions, so here we have as I see it, good carrot cake. Came in small pieces. No best involved. Have had many equally delicious ones.

The horror was actually the char kuey teow. No, it did not taste terrible. On the contrary the plate was quite good. But there was a lot of hum in it. And the Mediterranean Salad dude saw the proprietor pour "hum juice" into the pan fried mixture or noodles, egg and pork lard. I'm not sure what all the shellfish juice does to the flavour. Maybe it could be part of what makes the dish taste good? But just to give you an idea of how "cockled" this dish is, take a look below. That's the aftermath, even with one person who eats cockle has had his share. *shudder*

The gem for me was the chwee kueh. Jian Bo. It came exactly as I remembered it, hot and tender rice cakes with a healthy (figure of speech) pile of chai por and delicious chilli which I actually couldn't get enough of in spite of asking for extras. Granted that those chilli portions didn't look like it was anything beyond normal portions. I've had this since time I cannot clearly recall. That meant I was really young. After all these years, this stuff still tastes fabulous. If you should ever venture to this place and have never eaten chwee kueh here, try it.

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