People say authentic hawker nosh is dying in Singapore. That perhaps in 20 years' time, you may not be able to find a solid plate of char kway teow with hum any more. But perhaps all that’s needed is to repackage the cuisine a little. To make it snazzier so the younger generation will be enticed to pick up the ladle and continue this tasty tradition. For that, we enlist the help of Chua Enlai and his two snooty alter egos, monsieur Jacques Ooi and sir B.B. See. Catch him and the rest of The Noose cast in the live show Noose & Kakis 2: My PSLE is Better than Yours from May 19 to May 21 at the MES Theatre at Mediacorp.
1. Bak Chor Mee
JACQUES OOI: “Fettuccine with funghi and polpetta (Italian for ‘mushroom’ and 'meatball') infused with fruity black vinegar.
8 DAYS says eat here: Tai Hwa Pork Noodles, #01-12 Tai Hwa Eating House, 466 Crawford Lane, S190465. Tel: 6292-7477.
2. Duck Rice
Jacques: “Singaporean-style duck a l’Orange, without the orange sauce, served on long-grain jasmine rice with a side of freshly sliced cucumbers.”
B.B. SEE: “Just like what they serve at the Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant in London. The cuisine of Bayswater.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Soon Kee Boneless Braised Duck, Happy Hawkers 喜多福, Blk 531, Ang Mo Kio Ave 10.
3. Mee Siam
Jacques: “Angel hair pasta cooked in a tamarind-infused gravy served with lime, hardboiled egg, shrimps and deep-fried tofu squares. Absolutely nothing to do with Thailand (Siam).”
8 DAYS says eat here: Home caterer Emily Goh, who used to run the now-defunct The Patio, does a wicked rendition of the dry-wet mee siam with robust gravy. Call 9738-8374 to order or visit www.emilynonyahomecook.com.
4. Ice Kachang
Jacques: “Shaved ice topped with a salad of Asian gelee (French for ‘jelly’), sweet corn and nipah palm fruit (attap seed), drizzled with syrups from all the colours of the rainbow.”
8 DAYS says eat here: An Ji Xiang Hua, #02-183 Chinatown Complex Food Centre, 355 Smith St, S050335.
B.B: “Heirloom Nyonya recipe of rice noodles in a fragrant coconut curry gravy with house-made fish cake, dangerously undercooked cockles and exotic herbs.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa, #01-75 Alexandra Village Food Centre, 120 Bukit Merah Ln 1, S151119.
6. Bak Kut Teh
Jacques: “Pork rib consommé with pepper and garlic. It tastes like the chef dropped a whole pepper mill in there. And he didn't even peel the garlic! I'd get Gordon Ramsey on his case soon!”
8 DAYS says eat here: Ya Hua Bak Kut Teh, #01-05/07 PSA Tanjong Pagar Complex, 7 Keppel Rd, S089053. Tel: 6222-9610.
7. Yong Tau Foo
B.B: “A buffet of healthy delights like tofu, vegetables and dumplings, boiled in anchovy broth to taste.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Goldhill Hakka Restaurant, 299A Changi Road, S419777. Tel: 6842-4283.
8. Char Kway Teow
B.B: “Pappardelle pasta tossed in an Asian soya sauce similar to Vegemite. With cockles, fish cake and bean sprouts.”
8 DAYS says eat here: No. 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow. Stall 17, Zion Riverside Food Centre, 70 Zion Rd, S247792.
9. Kaya Toast with Soft-Boiled Eggs
B.B: “Oriental coconut egg jam served with crunchy toast and runny half-boiled eggs.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Chin Mee Chin Confectionary, 204 East Coast Rd, S428903. Tel: 6345-0419.
10. Nasi Lemak
B.B: “NASTY LEMAK, especially after it's been left out in the sun for a few hours. [But when fresh, it’s] rice cooked in coconut milk served with fried chicken, perfect sunny side up egg, cucumbers and a smidgen of sambal chilli.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Ponggol Nasi Lemak, #01-01, 371 Jalan Besar, S208998. Tel: 6293-0020.
11. Fishball and Herh Keow Noodles
Jacques: “Fettucine with boulette du poisson asiatique (French for ‘Asian fish balls’).”
8 DAYS says eat here: Song Kee Fishball Noodles, 128 Tembeling Road, S423638.
12. Mee Rebus
B.B: “Heinz spaghetti with caramelised shallots, tofu, fresh green chillies and boiled egg. It's a bit sweet, a little bit tomato-ey, and a lot of mushy. It reminds me of my years in university — a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — when I had few shillings to spare [and often ate this].”
8 DAYS says eat here: Yunos N Family, #01-01 Blk 724 Ang Mo Kio Food Centre, Ang Mo Kio Ave 6, S560724. (Psst, it's run by Singapore Idol champ Hady Mirza's uncle.)
B.B: “Southeast-Asian kebab served with onion breath. The leaves that wrap the accompanying rice are a bit too crunchy for my taste. Oh, you’re not meant to eat them?”
8 DAYS says eat here: Haron Satay, Stall 55, Lagoon Food Village, 1220 East Coast Parkway, S468960. Tel: 6441-0495
14. Prawn Mee Soup
Jacques: “Egg noodles in prawn consommé with wild-caught fresh king prawns. I believe prawn consommé is served as a main course in Singapore. But as it’s not filling enough, so an enlightened chef decided to add egg noodles to it. So there you go, the history of porn, I mean, prawn mee.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles, #01-15 Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, 41A Cambridge Rd, S211041.
15. Hokkien Mee
Jacques: “Spaghetti carbonara with pork crackling, bean sprouts and freshwater shrimps. I love dishes that name drop a locality where you won't find the dish [like Fujian, China] or Hainanese chicken rice. It makes it so ironic. I like ironic-tasting dishes.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee, #01-32 Old Airport Rd Food Centre, S390051.
16. Orh Luak
B.B: “Stir-fried oyster omelette pancake with celery. So this is what they do with the uneaten oysters from hotel buffets?”
8 DAYS says eat here: Simon Road Oyster Omelette, Mee Sek Food Court, 965 Upp Serangoon Rd, S534721.
B.B: “An Asian salad with air-dried cuttlefish, pineapple, cucumber, golden bean curd puffs, dough fritters drizzled with a prawn paste, crushed peanut and chilli sauce, all accented with tamarind juice.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Balestier Road Hoover Rojak, #01-06 Whampoa Food Centre, 90 Whampoa Dr, S320090.
18. Chilli Crab
B.B: “Crustaceans air-flown from the clear waters of Goa, Sri Lanka, and cooked in a piquant tomato and egg gravy. I’d prefer it served as a crab cake, though.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Long Beach, 25 Dempsey Road, S249670. Tel: 6323-2222.
19. Roti Prata
Jacques: “Pizza with no topping! Since it’s flaky and crunchy, it’s definitely a thin-crust pizza. I’ve seen prata options with chocolate and banana, and I don’t believe chocolate goes with curry. In this age of fusion confusion, I believe the Italians should start making curry pizza! Or Prada should start a prata café in Florence, Italy.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Mr & Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata, Poh Ho Restaurant, 7 Crane Rd, S429356.
20. Chicken Rice
Jacques: “Poulet (French for ‘chicken’) with rice pilaf.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Tian Tian Chicken Rice, #01-10/11 Maxwell Food Centre, 1 Kadayanallur St, S069184. Tel: 9691-4852.
21. Chwee Kueh
B.B: “Asian-inspired canapé with hot preserved radish relish and shrimp paste chilli. Or hockey pucks.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Jian Bo Shui Kweh, #02-05 Tiong Bahru Market, 30 Seng Poh Rd, S168898.
22. Curry Puff
Jacques: “Spicy mini calzone sans cheese for the lactose intolerant.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Lagoon Chicken Curry Puff, Stall 28 East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 1220 East Coast Parkway, S468960.
23. Mee Soto Ayam
Jacques: “Chicken soup and noodles for the Asian soul.”
8 DAYS says eat here: Selamat Datang Warong Pak Sapari, #01-09 Adam Road Food Centre, S289876.
24. Fried Carrot Cake
Jacques: “CARROT CAKE? THIS IS NOT CAKE!”
8 DAYS says eat here: Lau Goh Teochew Chye Tow Kway, Stall 26, Zion Riverside Food Centre, 70 Zion Rd, S247792.