I’m sure we all know the saying that some people eat to live while others live to eat. No prizes for guessing which group I belong to. Ha, ha, ha… Yeah, I definitely am someone who lives to eat! Topping the list of my All-Time Favorite Foods would of course be my Mum’s and my two Grandmas’ home-cooked family dishes (北京薄饼 or 春饼, 炸酱面, 白肉饭, 白菜/韭菜饺子锅贴, 烙盒子, 五花卤肉, 黑木耳炒蛋, 番茄炒蛋, 番茄酱马铃薯炒青豆虾, 榨菜炒黄瓜青豆, 黑酱油卤肉豆腐包卤蛋, 酱油鸡焖冬菇蘑菇, 麻油鸡, 榨菜豆腐汤, 番茄酸菜猪肉丸汤, 黑鸡汤, 白果腐竹糖水, just to name a few of my personal favs.)
Now, of course I don’t just eat at home like ALL THE TIME. I mean, I do enjoy going out for a good meal, whether be it at a hawker centre or a food outlet or restaurant. One thing stays constant though. I like foods that are strong not mild in taste (重口味), i.e. I prefer thick to thin sauce and I don’t like a hint of something, it better come in volumes for me. I’m also not really a desserts and sweets kinda person (although I do have a few occasionally), I’ve got more of a savory tooth/craving. Oh, and my younger brothers and Mum noticed something else about me too. I LOVE “black” foods – e.g. char siew rice that are a bit on the burnt side with a generous dollop of the dark gravy (my personal all-time fav is the one at “Eng Kee” at Realty Food House, 15 Enggor Street #01-01), fried “black” carrot cake that has a bit of a crisp (I am a die-hard loyal to the one at “Fried Kway Teow Mee” at Seah Im Food Centre” #01-26), char siew noodles smothered in dark soy sauce that strikes a good balance between sweet and savory taste (love the one at “Happy Wanton Noodle” at Bukit Timah Food Centre #02-197, and also the one from “Parklane Delihouse Wanton Mee“ at Parklane Shopping Centre too!), soy sauce braised chicken noodles drenched in dark sauce (at Chew Kee Eating House, 8 Upper Cross Street – the elder sister’s stall, NOT the brother’s one further down, which is not black enough in my opinion), claypot rice drizzled with dark soy sauce and with a good helping of burnt rice at the bottom (Ooh…just the thought of the ones served at “New Lucky Claypot Rice” at Block 328 Clementi Avenue 2 #01-220 and “Uncle Sam’s Claypots” is enough to make me drool!), well-cooked duck rice, with the duck meat well-marinated in dark sauce, tender and juicy (my Dad treated me once to this “Sia Kee Duck Rice” at 659-661 Geylang Road, Lorong 35 and since then I’ve been dreaming about only that place when I crave duck rice…YUM!), ok, ok…you kinda get the picture lah.
In terms of restaurant or eatery cuisine, I would probably rank Italian pasta (“Spageddies” and “Sketches” are two of my personal favs) first on my list. Next would be Japanese food fare (I am quite a regular customer of “Waraku”, “Tampopo”, “Tonkichi” and “Ohsumi Shabu Shabu”). Following that would be…
- American Diner favorites (I still think nobody can top “Dan Ryan Chicago Grill”… “Tony Romas” follows quite a fair distance behind along with “Kenny Rogers”)
- Dim Sum (nothing tops the push cart nostalgic experience at “Red Star”, but if you’re looking at a more leisurely paced and less hustle-bustle-ly atmosphere, “Xin Cuisine” serves up top-notched dim sum dishes that are still pretty budget friendly)
- Indonesian spicy Nasi Padang (for the ultimate indulgence, “Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee” is a MUST-TRY! And “Riverside Indonesian Restaurant” whips up quite a delicious array of very yummy Indo dishes too!)
- Thai cooking (Nowhere else quite compares to “Parkway Thai Restaurant”, but “Lemongrass Thai Restaurant” does a commendable job in coming pretty close to matching it in taste)
- And of course, Chinese restaurants (my family and relatives are longtime patrons of 小红楼 Red House Seafood Restaurant, 潮州城Teochew City Seafood Restaurant and often go there for special occasions such as Lunar New Year reunion dinners or birthdays. We also enjoy going to鼎泰丰Din Tai Fung or翡翠小厨Crystal Jade Kitchen for lunch or dinner time to time)