Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair
Friday, June 29, 2012
Try Singapore kaya breakfast at Pig and the Lady at the KCC Farmers Market Saturday
by Larry Geller
I first visited Singapore in December 1971, to canvas local GE managers on the possibility of using GE’s time sharing services. The job was made infinitely more difficult, as it turned out, because while I was in the air enjoying Singapore Airlines hospitality (and great meals!—they even sell a cookbook), President Nixon had floated the dollar, and so the overseas operations took an immediate hit on their bottom line. Each of my appointments the next day was punctuated by the sounds of teeth gnashing or outright cries of anguish. And they ended quickly. The managers had other things on their mind.
So I was able to escape several times during the day to explore Singapore and check out the food, which I had only read about. I also managed to escape the mad cab drivers who delighted in playing chicken by aiming at pedestrians stepping off the curb on Shenton Way.
There is an incredible variety of food served up in that tiny island city-state, and during a cab ride across town (the cabs were not air conditioned then), the aromas switched from the spices of India to Malaysia to China over and over again.
It was a short visit, but when I next returned in 1974 I was ready to scarf up everything in sight. I knew that Singapore was serving up my kind of food.
Now, you can save a lot of airfare by driving over to KCC Farmers Market tomorrow (Saturday, 6/30) and check out the Singapore Breakfast at the Pig and the Lady tent. Check the link for a description and pictures. There’s more information on the breakfast at the Serious Eats website here.
Although I always stayed at the Shangri La Hotel, where the food was top notch, I usually would escape in the early morning to find something local to eat. The streets are busy before sunrise on any day. The days, by the way, are all the same—the sun rises and sets at almost exactly the same time all year round. Any variety is what you make of it. One day Indian food, one day Chinese, one day Malaysian, and so forth. Each category is further subdivided. Chinese came to Singapore from so many provinces that even the variation of “Chinese” food is staggering.
Pig and the Lady is offering a simple but elegant egg dish along with Kaya toast. Check out the explanation at the link. They serve it with Vietnamese ice coffee. In Singapore, most typically coffee would be served with condensed milk so thick that you could –literally– cut it with scissors while it is pouring. In fact, that’s what happened one day as I visited my favorite tailor to pick up a suit. While we talked, one of the staff poured out cups of coffee, then added condensed milk from a can held high above the table, cutting off the stream with a tailor’s scissors each time, then going on to the next cup. I was thinking: usually we might measure liquids by the ounce or milliliter, perhaps, but he was measuring the milk by the inch.
Anyway, I digress. Just thinking of Singapore food brings back memories. Having some tomorrow should transport me back in time and space.
If you see this in time, try out the Singapore Breakfast or one of the other Pig and the Lady dishes at the KCC Farmers Market. Be warned, though, their cooking is addictive. You’ll be back again. And again. And again.
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