Friday, December 23, 2005

Lunch of Guilt

Yesterday night I was a daft git. OK, OK ... a dafter git than normal.

I still have not fully recovered my appetite and am apt to feel nauseous if I eat food that is too rich, oily or just dubious. So you would think I would know better, wouldn't you? But noooooo ... I had to succumb to my greatest weakness. The eyes-being-more-hungry-than-stomachitis.

This is an insidious disease that creeps up on you without warning. With the same panache was a man on the make, it will wham, bam, thank you mam and the next thing you know you find yourself buying a carton of bak chor mee. Worse, you go stark barking mad and get bark chor mee with pig's trotters.

For those of you not in the know, bak chor mee is noodles fried with minced pork, lots of deep fried lard (gasp!), dried shiitake mushrooms, slices of pork, slivers of pork liver and meatballs. It is greasy, cardiac arrest inducing and totally delicious. I never really got into this Chinese dish till my ex colleagues took me to a nearby hawker centre one day and introduced this decadent dish to me.

Yesterday evening, I made my way to a different hawker centre further away from home. I decided to explore the area little and saw this shop with food porn! And what food porn! I was literally dripping. With drool as I perved on the pictures of the glistening ropes of noodles sprinkled with delicate mincemeat, robust little meatballs that invited your tongue to curl around them and moist morsels of mushrooms.

There were also clippings of articles extolling the superiority of the stall in local papers. Normally, I tend to be leery of such "endorsements" but the food porn hypnotised me to an insensate state. So I found myself ordering the bak chor mee. But no, wait! What is that peering bashfully yet seductive from the corner? A crock pot full of pig's trotters.

OK, I've never been a wild fan of pig's trotters. Even in Germany, I only ate that like once or twice a year because it will last that long in my stomach. But something had taken hold of my senses yesterday. So I ordered that too over my bak chor mee.

Gleefully I went home to devour my dinner. Halfway through my meal, I had to give up. It was way too rich for me in my current state. The bak chor mee was delicious but a little too oily. The pig's trotters were a disgrace though. Tough and bland, I had one and a half pieces before setting the rest aside.

I spent the rest of the night feeling nauseous and unwell. Sigh. I am my own worst enemy.

So today, I felt that I had to compensate for my moronic delirium of the previous night. I went and bought Yong Tau Foo for lunch instead. It is a very healthy Chinese dish that consists of a buffet of fresh vegetables and seafood with the occasional fritter. You can have it in a clear broth or dry with a strange red sauce and you even have the option to add vermicelli to make it into a noodle dish.

Usually I am extremely fussy about Yong Tau Foo. The ingredients have to extremely fresh or I will not eat it. The broth cannot have MSG or be too salty or too bland or I will turn my nose at it. Yes, I am a Yong Tau Foo snob.

I'd never tried the Yong Tau Foo at this particular stall near my house but eyeing the ingredients, they looked sufficiently fresh to entice me. And I am glad I succumbed. The broth was delightfully fragrant without being overpowering. The clear, gentle slide of the broth soothed my throat and senses while the fresh ingredients of deep fried tofu stuffed with fish paste, bak choy, seaweed, cuttlefish, fish cake, fish paste stuffed jalapeno, fish paste stuffed okra and vermicelli were satisfying and flavourful. It sounds like a lot of ingredients but each portion is small and delicate, which explains why Yong Tau Foo is such a favourite among ladies.

I felt so much better having the Yong Tau Foo that I decided I will make a family classic for Christmas - our famous Mutton Curry. I also decided that I may try to post this for IMBB. I am a virgin to IMBB or any food event but the Rosai event sounds like something I can do and I just wanted to try my hand at participating. So hold on to your mortar and pestle for my update on this.

And now I need a nap before I go out to a Christmas concert tonight. You know your life is surreal when you are in Asia, attending a Latin Christmas concert featuring musicians from America, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Hasta la vista, baby.

Categories - Rambling Prose


Blogger rokh said...

as for me, yong tau foo made by my grandma is the best. merry christmas and happy new year to you too!

3:48 am  
Blogger 3A Gurl said...

Another convert to Bak Chor Mee! Erm...the noodles are not fried, just cooked al-dente as any other egg noodles. The secret lies in the vinegar based sauce, enhanced by fresh ingredients. I like mine extra saucy, with extra vinegar and no liver or any other weird body parts. If you can find a stall that makes their own meat balls, you are in for a treat.

7:10 am  

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