Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Breakfast in Singapore

I was thinking some more about breakfast, particularly breakfast in Singapore, which made me think about the hawker centers – those glorious buildings filled with some of the most awesome food stalls I have ever seen.  Ok, so maybe I haven’t seen that many food stalls in different places, but still… !   
They are scattered throughout the city, many featuring ethnic food common to the neighborhood that surrounds them, like the Tekka Centre in the predominately Indian area, or The Maxwell Road Hawker Centre in Chinatown.  Others have a mix of just about anything from anywhere, with nothing that defines a meal as “breakfast” as we know it.  On our first morning, while taking a stroll - before the heat became oppressive - we found ourselves near Tiong Bahru and spied a place that looked promising.  My Aussie husband made a happy sound and headed straight for a stall that sold Laksa.  At 7am.  Spicy Prawn Laksa – it’s what’s for breakfast!    I had a much more sedate bowl of congee with dried shrimp.  On subsequent days we tried  as many different places as we could track down with our trusty Lonely Planet guide book.    (This was a few years ago, before smartphones were common and we did not have one.  Not sure how we survived!)   
Parathas with potatoes and peas at Tekka.  Char Kway Teow at Victoria Street Centre.  Tom Yum at Golden Mile.  One thing I noticed everywhere was the Chicken Rice stalls.  I almost passed them all by, as the dish just did not sound interesting.  Chicken.  Rice.  A couple of dipping sauces.  I could make that at home!   The guide book kept mentioning it as an almost “national dish” so we finally got a plate to see what all the fuss was about.  What is difficult to convey through words and pictures is the depth of flavor they can achieve in this simple dish.   The moral we learned was definitely do not judge a dish by it’s appearance.
Doesn't look like much, does it?

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