I was talking to a headhunter friend of mine the other day. He told me working hours in Singapore have become insanely long. The corporate world is worse today than some years back when I was last in it. Damn, I was already working until 10-11pm many nights back then.
According to one study, Singaporeans clock the longest hours in the world. On average, each worker spends more than 2,400 hours a year toiling - sounds like a cruel sentence! Yeah, well, I'm sure some of these hours are spent "eating snake", Facebook-ing and going for tea breaks, but being at work still takes up a lot of our time.
So, not surprisingly, many of us are completely drained by the end of the day.
There have been occasions when I have felt too punctured to actively seek out good meals, and settle for what's nearby and convenient. Inevitably though, I will regret the food that's not worth the calories.
So what I find useful is having a list of food and places to always fall back on, when your brain is too tired to think.
Here are 12 local dishes that always make me most satisfied, in random order. I like to chase them down with a refreshing ice-cold Coke zero® or Coke light®; it's easy, convenient, and has consistently good taste!
BBQ Chicken Wings
I still like the ones from 85 Fengshan Market. Perfectly browned and comes with a deliciously tangy chili sauce dip. The one at East Coast Lagoon Food Centre is not bad too.
KL-Style Dark Hokkien Mee
To be honest, I haven't found a really good one yet, because they all seem to use the udon-like noodles instead of the flat Hokkien noodles. For the gravy, I like the one from Malaysia Boleh.
Sambal Stingray - nuff said. I like the one from Hai Wei Yuan Seafood (no.1 stall at Chomp Chomp) -- cukup pedas! Yes, beautifully smoky, aromatic and loaded with spices.
Pork Rib Prawn Noodles
My favourite was Da Tou Xia at Block 418 Bedok North Ave 2 #01-97, run by a humble but tenacious young hawker. The broth was robust and I loved the tender and meaty pork ribs. But sadly, he has had to close due to high food costs, levies and rental. I hope he resurfaces again. Meanwhile, I should go check out the famous Hoe Nam one at Tai Thong Crescent.
Salted Egg Yolk Crab
Roland's gets my vote for best salted egg yolk crab. Because yam strips. Crispy, finely shredded yam deep-fried like chips generously tossed in with hae bi (dried shrimp), curry leaves, chili padi and whatever magical stuff they put in.
Bak Chor Mee
The 132 Mee Pok just happens to be in my neighbourhood. I hate the long line, but once in a while, I will endure it for those al dente noodles sprinkled with pork lard (the chili seasoning, I'm not too crazy about). Do not bother with takeaway though - those noodles turn soggy fast!
Dim sum really touches the heart. Legendary Hong Kong has all-day dim sum which is pretty decent for the price.
Mee Goreng is such a suppertime favourite. This one is from Ajimer Sharif at Tekka Market.
You may think these are like dishes you can cook at home, but zichar places have high pressure gas cooker stoves that bless the dishes with wok hei. It's never quite the same.
Some days, nothing will cheer me up as much as piggy innards. Hai Fa at Bedok Interchange, and Tong Lok at Pasir Panjang are two great places. I also love peppery pig organ soup, pig stomach soup, and braised pork trotters. That reminds me, I need to go try Guan Kee.
Satay, glorious satay...there's something just irresistible about charcoal grilled meat on a stick. I still like the ones at good old Warong Sudi Mampir at Haig Road. I need to revisit soon and see if the old uncle is back - they were closed for a while when he was hospitalised.
Yet another sinfully good supper. I actually like the starchy bits more than the oysters. I have some favourite spots for orh luak listed here in Yahoo Makanation.
And last but not least: Laksa (first photo).I like the one at Sungei Road (who doesn't?). There was also one stall in my neighbourhood hawker centre that started selling very traditional laksa, but they closed quietly. Other stalls sell crap but last forever.
So what are your favourite feel-good foods? Where do you get your most satisfying hit? Share with me your favourite spots on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
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