Archive for the ‘Pootling’ Category

Biking for Brunch

Posted: February 17, 2011 in Pootling
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Not Singapore

Readjusting back to life after our dreamlike escape to Thailand’s Andaman Coast took some getting used to. No more unfamiliar restaurants, hotels, and late nights trolling the ‘walking streets’ in search of stimuli. Back to the familiar, meant the same roads, same directions, same places to eat, even the same bikes to ride. Yay. But this is Singapore, go away for 30% of a month, and viola, there will be change.

I decided to head out further today to our island’s East Coast, expensive yet sublime living by the sea, lots of eateries, a nice bike path and home to half  a dozen bike shops in one stretch of road. First I have to deal with 12 kms of cross island cycling.

As you can tell roads and traffic takes precedence over everything else

Surprise, surprise ! A shared path along Paya Lebar Road, a two lane that has 'blossomed' into an eight lane with an expressway tunnel to boot

It's still quite new and tricky with a road bike, not that the sand bag was in the way when I am shod with 28C rubber

It was too good to be true, all 800 metres of it as more factories and another widened road (Old Airport Rd) got in the way

I shouldn’t complain as traffic was light and quite courteous for Singapore, and I soon reached the shady suburbs of Katong. My great plans to ride by the beach was thwarted when I rode by the once highly touted Dunman Food/Hawker Centre. I’ve been here before and my mind searched it’s data bank for the delights within it. Wan Ton Noodles came up. 11.35 am. Just right. If fact, I recalled this place being a battle field among a trio of noodle stalls laying claim to who was the first and best. As a stranger to this neighbourhood, whoever was still in business must be the triumphant victor in their very own food feud.

In some serious cases, er fights, the police, boiling water and knives were involved !  That was in the past, it’s better for all to let their customers taste buds be the judge.

Shady Dunman Road

Dark and danky Dunman FC (food centre not football club!)

Whenever a hawker dish like the humble wan tan noodles is up for accolades, one must consider the fact that, try as best they can, some hawkers just cant get all the various components right. I mean there are at least 4, the noodles, the roasted red pork (char siew, locally, ‘moo daeng’ in Thai ) the wantons, and for me the chilli sauce. Veggeis and soup are lesser considerations. The first appeals more to the fairer sex, and having more soup as a filler is a waste of time, and yes, you’ve been cheated.

Shiok ! Google it.

Pardon the DOF. Had to sneak in this quick shot as the stall holders seemed a weary and wary lot

The Dunman Rd noodles wins on 3.5 counts out of 4.

Noodles : perfect, springy and not overcooked. These are almost pasta like and filling. None of those tasteless shiny, alkaline based crap from a factory somewhere else.

The wantons : 4 or 5 of them on the plate. I had a mild shock upon not finding them in the soup bowl, but herein lies the fact that they get soggy waiting in the bowl. Plus the sight of the wantons and char siew over the lip smacking noodles made the meal look larger than it is.

The chilli was smooth and red, reminiscent of that in school canteens of my generation. It was noodles all way, with exotic cuisine like pizza and sushi unheard off. Smooth chiili sauce is also great in that there are no sinewy bits of dried shrimp and or garlic and what not found in other chilli pastes. It was a tad salty, but being on the side, you’ll be able to add as much or as little into the mix. More importantly it was fiery, blended no doubt with chilli padi, the small red hot ones.

The char siew was not so much of a let down but,  again tastes differ. Theirs was on the soft fatty side  (meaning : cheap or the chef’s, meaning mother wasn’t in the mood today)  Don’t expect the grandly roasted, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside found in posh eateries. Those stalls with perfect char siew usually have crappy noodles and portions that will be just right for a teenage hamster. Consistency is the bugbear of all cooks and restaurants.

Exactly 8 minutes later, and yes I chewed, a bit 😉

Hey all this for S$3.00 upsized noodles too!  ($2.50 if you’re stingy or on a diet)  Some noodle stalls have already outsourced their char siew. What a crime.

The last component, the wan tons were heavenly. Thick skinned and succulent, flavourful (a hint of sesame oil) minced pork inside. None of the extra padded trimmings of water chestnuts and yuks, green peas that fill in for pork. if you’re fussy about the moo daeng, just get  the wanton and noodles. My game plan the next time.  (BTW friend wantons?  Gimme a break. An evil plan by yuppie hawkers to attract clientele still in their school uniforms. Fried wantons with mayonnaise. Yeah, soon to be on McD’s menu.)

I suppose the healthier version of what I had will involve a full bowl of soup, but what is the point?  I see most people leaving the soup , having polished off everything else, and are still dreaming of the oily chillied goodness of the dried version.

Oops I forgot the oil ! Definitely lard, but refined, clear as olive oil lard, no chunky bits your doctor or slim wife warned you about. If your wife is a slim doctor/cardiologist/nutritionist, may will power and God help you. Actually 10,000 km or more, on a road bike each year works too. See, there is hope. The lubricant blends all the components like a well oiled (pun intended) machine, and your taste buds will thank you for it. About the chilli, take your time, Having it go down the wrong tract, leaving your red face gasping for air is not…

Madame has her feet up as I 'cof-feed'

Dunman Rd noodles is also blessed with a nearby coffee shop that has good, what else coffee, even a Vietnamese blend @ $1.20 a cup. I can’t write about the lunch crowds, I wasn’t there!

Oh yeah opened , 11 am – 10 pm every day except Thursday.  Sole survivor hours I guess.

Dunman FC is eerily quiet (equals clean bathrooms) and the preferred choice of Shell pump attendants and the sole roadie

We just wanted to welcome you to our $2 million home. Please read carefully.

On a full stomach, it's time for a visual treat at the Rebound Center