Friday, December 23, 2011

Katong Laksa, Singapore

Katong has been made over since my last visit 3 years ago. I love how they have conserved the old shophouses and made everything look so...touristy-nice...but when I was in Katong at noon one day two weeks ago, there were only a handful of people walking around. I don't know it if's the heat (Singapore is all about air-conditioned malls) or the sterile, perfect 'Tourists Welcome' look of the place. What it needs is more people to liven up the place. Maybe it is different at night. Next time, I'll go at night.

The one thing people come to Katong for is the most famous Singapore laksa stall at 328 Katong. 328 is not the original laksa operator in the shoplot but it has literally cashed in on the original operator's reputation for the best laksa after the original operator moved out when the rent was increased. There's a lesson to be learnt from this: don't build up a reputation and leave, thinking that somebody else can't do the same thing.

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3 years ago I found 328 laksa too creamy-thick. This time, I loved it. The soup was just nice, not too thick or thin, there were lots of dried shrimps, the cockles were plump, sweet and crunchy, the noodles slippery-smooth and delicious. At S$4/5/6 (S/M/L), who says Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world? In KK, you can't eat a decent bowl of noodles for below RM6 (and you shouldn't convert the currency unless you are a tourist).

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Otak otak is something I don't particularly like. Or dislike.

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The lady of this quaint Peranakan/Eurasian shop cautioned me about taking photos inside when I stepped in. Perasaan because I didn't think of doing so. I did buy two of her old-fashioned curry puffs, the ones that are made with short crust pastry and baked, not deep-fried. They were kind of hollow and dry but still tasted heaps better than the awful spiral pastry deep-dried curry puffs we get these days.

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The red agar was rose syrup-flavored, cold, very firm and not too sweet. It reminded me of simpler days when desserts were just that, simple agar agar jellies.

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These banana loaves smelt heavenly but nobody wanted to share a loaf with me so I stood smelling and drooling but the lady didn't offer me a sample. Which isn't so bad because one of my friends stood drooling at the window of a Chinese dimsum place in London years ago and a waiter came out with a doggie bag and told her to go away. Lesson: wear a good coat when travelling.

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I know some people say Awfully Choc's choc slice is overrated but I love it.

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Straight from 328 Katong to Katong Mall for the Hainanese chicken rice! This was at Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice stall in the food court of the mall. What can I say? We had two plates of the chicken. That was less than 30 minutes after eating Singapore laksa and we each had a bowl. Why am I not surprised that when I went to town yesterday 3 people said I've put on weight? Two said I look "fatter and different". That's brutal.

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Mixed pickles and refills are FOC with the chicken rice.

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Singapore started as a free port nation about 50 years ago. Due to its strategic location in the Straits of Malacca and good management, Singapore tied with Rotterdam, The Netherlands as the busiest ports in the world for decades until about 6 years ago when Shanghai took over that spot. This photo was taken from our apartment which is not near the port but even so, look at the number of ships out there.



7 comments:

Blur Ting said...

Wah, you literally ate your way through katong.

Michelle Chin said...

Wah KK is more expensive than KL?

Chocolate, Cookies & Candies said...

Looking at your photos is similar to a self inflicted torture. Food torture, that is. The Asian food in south of England sucks!

Anonymous said...

Hi..where is the shop selling the kuih kuih and the banana loaf cake? Thanks... Chrish

Anonymous said...

You fat?! Not possible! Most slimmest, elegant lady in blogsphere! Hands down.. :-)

Nate @ House of Annie said...

That is a spectacular plate of Hainanese chicken.

Anonymous said...

Good Work. Love it

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