Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Delivered a 2nd hand office chair to SMA this evening. He wasn't home but the parents were, so we took them out to dinner. Just a couple of hours ago they watched a programme on TV featuring satay at East Coast Park Food Centre and, of course they were itching to sample it for themselves. Our arrival was an unexpected godsend.

As usual, we over-ordered. Dad got us 40 sticks of some very chunky satay in chicken, mutton and beef. June got the beef noodles she had been dying to eat since the last time we were here and she had to abandon the queue that never moved. I got us some popiah which wasn't very good; it was unusually heavy and had a strong fish flavour according to Mom.

But the real treasure was when Dad made contact with a dusty, disused memory from a decade ago. Perhaps more. Back then, whenever we ate here we tended to eat from just one stall: Tembeling Porridge. The stall has since dropped the "Tembeling" in it's name and now just bears a large, prosaic "zhou" on it's signboard. But Dad remembered the old proprietor and ordered his long-forgotten fish porridge and a dish that doesn't exist on the official menu: fish-roe salad. Only those in the know would ask for it and, yes, it's still available.

The salad comprises a very generous handful of steamed(?) strips of fish-roe on a bed of shredded lettuce and sesame oil. It's not a dish everybody can appreciate given that fish eggs are likely to taste fishy (like a very unsophisticated caviar), but it is an experience quite out of the ordinary. The 4 of us struggled to finish an $8 platter. Quite reasonable, though I'm more amazed that after all these years the old boy is still here to be found.

Current state of being: stuffed.

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