On the Purity of Cuisine

It’s the third day of my visit to Singapore and the smorgasbord continues.

Friday was dinner at Barossa (one calamari and one smoked duck pizza with hoisin sauce, pickled onions and scallions). Yesterday was brunch at Wild Honey (one English breakfast, one Sweet Morning breakfast, one cappuccino and one latte). Today is lunch at DinTai Fung (one pickled vegetables, one xiao lung bao, one pork chop on fried rice, one steamed red bean dumplings and two hot teas) and dinner at No Signboard (one chilli crab, one coffee pork ribs, one fried buns, two steamed rice and two hot teas). Then tomorrow is breakfast at Ya Kun Kaya (one kaya toast, one cheesy French toast and two kopis) and lunch at Wee Nam Kee (one roasted Hainanese chicken rice, one steamed Hainanese chicken rice, one steamed baby kai-lan and two iced lemon teas).

And before the trip ends, Abbey and I will have had brunch at P.S. Café, lunch at Crystal Jade and dinner at Lau Pa Sat. And we’ll really just have hit the tip of the iceberg.

And yes, I know that Manila has a Ya Kun Kaya and Wee Nam Kee already, and that I could have packed in two more restaurants by dispensing with these, but I think all of you out there who’ll gladly brave a 90 minute drive north just to go to the original Razon’s in Guagua, Pampanga will know how I feel. Food is a localized experience: it’s never just about what you eat, but where you eat it, what ghosts sit around the table as you dine, and what flavor the air has as you’re gasping while trying to digest your meal. I like having my kaya toast and Hainanese chicken rice with “aiyoh!”s and “lah!”s flying all over the place rather than, “Thank you very much for coming, Ma’am/Sir!”

Some things are just best served unadulterated.


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