Just a quick post to share with all of you a recipe which I’d cooked for lunch today, and incidentally, a dish which I enjoy very much as a child, Chili with Taucheo Stingray. It is a very quick dish to prepare and doesn’t require complicated rempah making. Yet the flavours are so robust and refreshing, excellent to go with rice or Teochew porridge!
Comfort food is often what one truely yearns for when one gets home after a long day, It could be after laborious ploughing through streams of data and figures, in an almost hypnotic trance-like fashion in front of the computer hours at ends, and dinners made frugal. Or it can be after endless evenings of socialising, over martinis and cocktails amidst cosmetic conversations and superficial banter, and real food made little. When one finally gets home, and all that pomp and makeup shed off like a second skin, one can finally be oneself. That is when the cravings set in. It can be as simple as a classic Croque Monsieur with freshly toasted bread over old cheese and good ham, or a bowl of cereal with creamy full fat milk and crunchy homemade granola. Satisfying the insatiable, as one becomes overwhelmed by routine and the mundane, comfort food despite its simplicity, transcends and becomes a luxury.
For me, nothing can be more comforting than a bowl of freshly cooked noodles. Those who know my blog well would know that I feature noodle recipes to a great extent and often to great detail as well. From 炸酱面 to Mentaiko Pasta, from Spaghetti alla Bolognese quite long ago to Spaghetti alla Laksa Pesto most recently… in short, I’m a sucker for noodles in all forms, and quite literally so. For me, the sheer act of slurping strands of noodles, be it ramen, pasta, beehoon or kway teow is profoundly therapeutic. Slurping unleashes an avalanche of flavours into the mouth, setting forth a plenitude of palate profiles and aromas that stimulate one’s senses all at once. Slurping is considered part of good table etiquette in the Asian context, and most rightfully so. Surely it is one of the most resounding ways, and the least one can do as a display of appreciation for a good noodle experience.
Whenever we are on an early morning flight to Taipei, we would always make it a point to drop by Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station from the airport even when our hotel is actually one stop away. That is because one of our favorite breakfast joints in Taipei is located here. 姜太太包子店 is a very popular pitstop to get fueled and watered by the locals. There is usually a queue whenever we visit be it the working crowd getting their breakfast takeaways on their way to their office during the morning rush hour, or mothers or grandmothers packing buns by the dozens for family members to enjoy as an all-day-long snack.
A visit to Old Aiport Road Food Centre and you would be quick to observe a rather prominent sight, i.e. diners all around carrying plastic bags containing disposable bowls of soyabean curd! And its not just that idiosyncratic one or two, but a concerted act which seems to perpetuate the entire place! Now that made me very curious indeed…
Singaporeans love soya beancurd. “Tau huay” as it is affectionately called here by folks from all races and walks of life, we eat it all the time, and quite literally! Traditionally, it is enjoyed as a breakfast treat piping hot, together with a warm glass of soyabean milk and a 油条 youtiao dough fritter for dunking in. Yet we see OLs queuing for them during lunchtime in the CBD area for a dessert after their midday meal, or as a takeaway for tea break later in the day. And as the day draws to an end, we see folks making a beeline for famous beancurd joints all over the island for communal supper, with friends and family. So you can see now how we truly love tao huay!
“Rochor Beancurd” and “Selegie Beancurd” are some of the more familiar names and have since opened franchaises all over the island. And of course we have Mr Bean and Jolibean (alongside Old Chang Kee of course!) in literally every other mall and shopping centre of the heartlands. Amongst those which have made their way onto the Tau Huay Hall of Fame is surely 老伴豆花 Lao Ban Soya Beancurd.