Gordon Ramsay, celebrity chef, receiver of 3 Michelin stars, judge and cast in several reality tv series, and… loser to a hawker food cook-off in Singapore.
In case you were so fogged up recently from the haze, you would probably have heard that Ramsay was recently issued a challenge by local food bloggers.
As a nation of Foodies, we take pride in our ability to dissect food down to a science. “Too much salt”, “Didn’t marinate long enough”, “Too tasty, must’ve used a lot of MSG”, “Chilli no good”, “Sauce not powerful enough”… the list of complaints by Singaporeans can go on.
So it comes as no surprise to me that Chef Ramsay could not satisfy the “refined” taste buds of Singaporeans when he was pitched against Foo Kui Lian (Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore’s Maxwell market) and Ryan Koh (328 Katong Laksa) at Newton Hawker Center. (He did win the palettes of Singaporeans with his chilli crab, beating Ang Kiam Meng from the Jumbo Seafood restaurant chain).
All that talk of food certainly drives my salivary glands into overdrive. Deprivation certainly makes the imagination go wild, and I can just imagine how each dish would taste. But sadly, that craving is hardly satisfied.
The closest I get to Singapore food in Canada is a Malaysian restaurant called Penang Delight, but even then, like any real Singaporean, I find the chilli lacklustre.
Well, there’s nothing much I can do except wait in anticipation for my next trip home. Maybe sneak a few peeks at the airfares even! But until then… here’s my top 3 must-eats!
1) Egg prata with curry and sugar (I have yet to encounter egg pratas that are bad, so I’m gonna say any stall would do!)
2) Claypot chicken rice with lots of black sauce (Alexandra Village)
3) Vegetarian bee hoon (Tanglin Halt)
If the three stall were to engage in a cook-off to win the hand of my voracious appetite, I would have to give it up for the Vegetarian bee hoon. It embodies a combination of comfort food + perfectly fried, hot and crispy gluten pieces + nostalgia from childhood. I guess I forgot to mention that this was my ‘hood’ growing up. My grandparents had owned a medical hall here, and so, I grew up on a staple diet of vegetarian bee hoon every morning.
And while I’m at it, I might as well list some others! Teh Halia… Char Kway Teow… Mee Pok… Creamy Butter Crab… Hokkien Mee… Cheng Teng… Putu Mayam… Popiah… Nonya Kuehs…. Sugar Cane…
I better stop now. My keyboard is starting to collect a pool of saliva. Well, if any of you readers were at Newton for the cook-off, I’d love to hear what you thought of the food. Was Ramsay’s cooking really inferior to our local chefs? Or are we just patriotic to our homegrown talents?
Maybe you didn’t really like the top three choices voted for the cook-off, and if so, what would you have preferred to see being cooked? Let me know!
Read more about Gordon Ramsay
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