It’s always fun to foodwalk with food experts; especially if I can take them somewhere they’ve never been. And such was the case with Nym Punlopruska, Bangkok’s Siren of Street food, when she was recently back in Singapore to update one of her books. I wanted to take her to some place she’d never been, just as she had done with me in her hometown. That’s no easy task with a girl like Nym, who has written more than a dozen books on food, has been Andrew Zimmern’s guide and fixer on Bizarre Foods, and is fearless in both what and where she’ll eat. In other words, my kind of Foodwalker.
“What about eats on the beach?” I asked her after a litany of “been there” and “done that” responses to my grilling her over Singapore food experiences she’d not had. “Beach? In Singapore?" was the gist of her reply to an afterthought question. “Not been, not done.”
|East Coast Lagoon Hawker Centre|
|You could sit at a table, |
|Nym fanning the flames|
Roxy Laksa (Stal #48) makes an old-school version of its namesake dish that few can match. Mike and his wife took over the business from his father after the old Roxy Cinema in Katong closed down and the height of the so-called Laksa Wars was flaring. Not wanting to play in that field of puffery and self-promotion, Roxy pulled up roots and headed downstream to the beach where it has been ever since. By all appearances it’s a stall like any other – though neater and sparser than most. But one bowl of nearly the only thing he sells, and you’ll realize that Mike’s mainstay of sustenance is special. Shunning the short-cut noodle style of Katong Laksa, his has full length mee noodles – smooth and silky and ever so al dente. He douses them with fiery orange laksa gravy, then pours it back into the pot, and douses them again. And again. And again, until he has infused the noodles just right, leaving them swimming in the bowl full of the rich gravy. A dollop of spicy rempah, ground laksa leaves, fish cake slices and a couple of prawns on top complete the masterpiece. But he doesn’t add the typical raw cockles unless you ask; old-schoolers never had them, so why should he.
|Seaside dining at its best!|
|Mixed satay from Musa Ikan Bakar|