Saturday, June 28, 2008

Food Of Love

For the first family dinner where G met everyone at the same table for the first time, we went to "Mum's Cuisine". The dishes were all good, my favourite was this assam pomfret. It's been a long time since I've had assam anything. And pomfret is not one fish that is common in Sydney either. So it was extra yummy.

Another first was G's meeting with my friends, the first one being Y. We went to Sushi Tei, which has somehow gone upmarket in the last 3 years. This version was no conveyor belt restaurant but with stylish decor and ambient lighting. I particularly enjoyed my Japanese style pasta, which had a sesame sauce base and the main highlight was a soft-shell crab. I wish they did pasta this way here, even though we do get some great Italian pasta at some of our favourite restaurants in Surry Hills.

Our foray into Little India was to search out the famous Komala Villas, the first South Indian restaurant a classmate took me to in Little India, in our first year of Law School. Looking back, that was some 20 years ago, the dhosai meal cost something ridiculous like S$0.60. Another memory that has stuck in my mind apart from the cheapness of that meal, was the cockroach leg that I found in my half-eaten dhosai, the waiter hurriedly swiping the entire plate away from me, while vehemently denying there was anything "foreign" in the dhosai. In due course, he brought me a brand-new dhosai, hot from the kitchen, while I tried hard to not think about what I might have unwittingly eaten until I came upon that solo limb.

I revisited one of my cherished childhood memories, that of going to the Islamic restaurant with dad when he was still around. I distinctly remember mum sucking off the sambal from the prawns to remove as much of the spiciness as possible before letting me eat them. The famous restaurant had moved from its original location to about 15 doors down. The decor has gone slightly more upmarket, but it still had old photographs of the restaurant in the 1920s, family portraits, old Singapore scenes on the wall. It still felt nostalgic in a way. The briyani was fantastic, we were so hungry we missed the set lunches advertised and went for the ala carte. We need to order the briyani set lunch the next time.

On one of our jaunts, we ended up in Ann Siang Hill quite by chance and found this charming little bar to rest our tired soles and get some respite from the humidity. I had a Pink Pussycat mocktail while G experienced paying S$12 for a beer.

As I had worked up my expectations regarding showing G a French chef who had worked in a 2-Michelin star restaurant in France and now operating a French kopitiam in Singapore, this visit to the French Stall turned out to be a little disappointing. I guess upon recollecting, the escargots were nothing to rave about, but I remember the mains and the to die-for chocolate cake were quite good, especially the chocolate cake which was really unforgettable, such that when I tasted another one in Sydney recently, it triggered off some taste memory sensors deep in the recesses of my mind and I could identify the taste with this fabulous cake. The chocolate souffle turned out to be even better than the cake and so the desserts saved the meal.

And so this trip has been filled with eating, eating and more eating. But then again, eating means meeting up with friends and family and sharing a meal or 2. Meals are not just a means of sustenance, but a time for everyone to set aside time from their busy schedules to get together, especially when we are currently based somewhere else. So the weight that we have packed on this trip, and which we are now trying hard to lose, is evidence of the love and friendship that we share with those who care for us and whom we care about in turn. Food is much more. Just like this box of konnyaku jelly that mum had specially made for us.

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