25 December 2010

Xmas Breakfast: Char Kway Teow

Christmas breakfast Singapore style: fantastic char kway teow from a hawker stall at Ghih Moh where the old man cooks just one dish over and over and over, day in, day out, year after year after year. It is sublime.

If you're familiar with chow fun from a U.S. Chinese restaurant, it's kind of like that, but far better and more complex in flavor. Two kinds of noodles are stir fried with a complex sauce of sweet, savory, salty flavors, with various seafood, scrambled egg, bean sprouts, and even little blocks of crispy fried pork lard, with a touch of brightness from a fresh squeezed calamansi lime, and optional hot chili sauce. The textures should be light, the noodles not at all thick or gummy, and the temperature piping hot.

Done right, this signature Singaporean dish is well worth the 30 minutes I had to wait standing in line. When cooked wrong, with flavors either missing or out of balance, you will hear howls of protest from Singaporeans considering it a national disgrace.

Simply delicious.