Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Taste of Singapore

Meepok, anyone? It always amazes me how being in Perth almost seems no different than being in Singapore. Well, there are a lot of differences in the two places, but what I meant was in the foodie sense. Roti Prata, Hokkien Mee, and now, Mee Pok! Happy Union Chinese Restaurant seems to have felt the craving of many Singaporeans & Malaysians alike, for the hawker dishes found in their home country. Many restaurants and eateries have found success and popularity in Perth due to the overwhelming demand from food-spoiled Asians like us.The newly opened Ya Kwang at Spencer Village is another example. News that Ya Kwang offers Singaporean Hawker cuisine spreaded like wildfire among our church community and we saw at least 1/3 of the churchgoers at Spencer Village after church service. A family friend even joked that we should hold service at Spencer Village instead.

Anyway, back to Happy Union Chinese Restaurant. While Happy Union does not offer Roti Prata, they offer plenty of other dishes like Rochor Mee(their rendition of Hokkien Mee), Fried Hokkien Mee (the black KL style), Loh Mee, Mee Goreng, Fried Kway Teow (Char Kway Teow), Laksa, Wonton Mee, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Curry and Beef Rendang as part of their Lunch Special.

Meepok with pork lard AD$8.80. When you order Meepok, you are essentially ordering the noodles. Naturally, the star is the Meepok; the thin flat strands of noodles. I love the spring and the bite of the Meepok. It is super al dente! The Meepok is a good agent for all the sauces, marketing the taste of the sauces with every bite of the Meepok.

I didn't like the fishballs or the smell of the dish. Fishballs first. When I tried "poking" or more like pushing my fishballs with my chopsticks, it didn't bounce back. It showed that it wasn't the springy type that I liked. Anyway, I proceeded to eat it and it could have stayed in the boiling water for a longer time. Though the fishballs were definitely cooked, I felt that it weren't cooked through. The insides had a slightly harder texture from the outsides. The smell. It smelt like 5 spice powder used to make Ngoh Hiangs and it had the smell of bean curd skin used to wrap Ngoh Hiangs. While the smell of Ngoh Hiangs are fantastic when cooked, the smell of them when they are raw are most definitely not. The dish smelt like raw Ngoh Hiangs. No idea why.

While I had the no-chilli Meepok with chilli on the side (it came on a saucer), I found that I had no need for the chilli. The Meepok was spicy though it was the no-chilli Meepok. Even my sister's no-chilli Meepok had the same effect that we had to chug down plenty of Lipton's Ice Peach Tea. They don't serve normal water so you have to pay for bottled water if you want any water at all.

The chef was also rather heavy-handed on the salt. While the dish remained in my acceptable range of saltiness, a little more salt would have rendered the dish to be salty. The chef is sure living precariously, threading on the fine line which will cause the dish to be either be tasty or salty.

But I'll be back. This is one of the best Meepoks in Perth. Not Singapore of course. But as the saying goes, "When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade out of them." We don't have the luxury of indulging in Singapore's Meepoks and this passes muster.

Rochor Mee AD$9.50. This is the ubiquitous Hokkien Mee that my family also like at hawker centres. The noodles belong to the wet type so you get tasty stock-flavoured noodles with each slippery bite. It is unanimous among my family that it is better than the version at Ya Kwang. However, I do think that there was too much fish sauce in it. The addition of fish sauce adds another dimension to a dish, BUT too much of it lends the dish a fishy smell.

This is my second time eating their dishes. The first was when Dad bought the Fried Hokkien Mee (black KL type) home for us. I would not recommend ordering this dish. For people who are sensitive to the alkaline taste predominantly found in yellow noodles, STAY AWAY. The black sauce could not even mask the heavy alkaline taste in the noodles at all. My sister barely touched a quarter of it and you must understand that at 10 years old, she is the least discerning of all eaters. You might argue that maybe that's because we had the takeaways? According to my Mum who ate the same dish at the restaurant, the dish was greasy and she didn't like it very much.
Pink Guava! I thought I will add this to my post. A family friend gave us mini pink guavas freshly plucked from his guava trees in his garden. While I have never seen a pink guava before (or at least I don't recall it), isn't the mini one cute? It is about the size of a mini mandarin orange.

Look at the flesh! It's so pink and pretty! I don't fancy eating the guava skin so I used a spoon and scooped the insides to eat. Oh. Unless you like eating mini guava stones (seeds), you will be constantly irritated by the need to spit out the seeds. Looking at it from another perspective, the flesh on the other hand is VERY fragrant and sweet. Pink guava is more fragrant than normal guava and has a slightly different taste to it. Different in a good way. The taste and smell of the guava lingered in my mouth long after I ate it and ahhh... Someone make a pink guava fragrance and sweet please?

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