“Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”
You’ve got that spot on, Norman Kolpas.
When I’m tired from work and overwhelmed from juggling appointments and event after event, I always look towards a satisfying, hearty meal for a “break” and momentary escape. Even if it’s just for fifteen minutes, it’s a must for me to set aside some time to get out of the office or away from home. This is a time-out from my daily grind that helps me refocus and is best accompanied by a delicious meal complete with an ice-cold, refreshing can of Coke®; together they make a fantastic pick-me-up. After all, Coca-Cola® and food are better together.
I find that I most crave and enjoy something comforting and local when I’m taking five from my busy schedule, so I thought I’d share what my five favourite Singaporean dishes, that gets me instantly satisfied and ready to take on the world are, when I’m eating-on-the-go.
CHICKEN CUTLET NOODLES
Whenever I can help it, noodles are my go-to source for carbohydrates. I find it hard to resist a piping-hot bowl of springy egg noodles tossed in a mixture of fragrant sesame oil, topped with deep-fried breaded chicken cutlet. It’s not just about the taste of local noodle dishes, but the delightful texture of the ingredients altogether.
You can fly all over the world and get all sorts of interesting mian but nothing comes quite as close to that familiar, comforting taste and feel of having it Singaporean-style. The dish works great for me when paired with gulps of fizzy Coca-Cola.
It never takes me more than ten minutes to wolf down the noodles; that, washed down with liquid caramel in a can, makes it a great meal experience. Of course, these days when I’ve no time to spare, I share it with my dining companion. This doubles the joy, but lessens our time eating out, totally win-win.
Where to Eat Chicken Cutlet Noodles:
- Cantonese Delights (广东小吃), 531A Upper Cross Street, #02-03 Hong Lim Food Centre, Singapore 051531
- Long & Yean Eating House, 121 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427410
- RedRing Treasures, Stall 6, Food Republic, Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road, Singapore 238877
FRIED CARROT CAKE
The simple dish of Singapore’s Chye Tow Kway(Fried Carrot Cake) originated from the Teochew, but it is now embraced by Singaporeans as a staple at hawker centres and food courts. There’s just something about it that makes it really appealing to the taste buds. Perhaps it is the simplicity of it.
The “white” variation sees cubes of radish cake being fried with egg, tangy preserved radish and plenty of seasoning. The “black” carrot cake on the other hand includes a generous amount of sweet sauce, giving it its signature sweet and savoury taste.
It doesn’t look like much, but a small plate of carrot cake (with just enough “wok hei”) is enough to put me in a good mood even at my most sour, just like how an ice-cold Coke can immediately lift my spirits despite my busy work schedule.
Where to Eat Fried Carrot Cake:
- Yuan Cheng Carrot Cake (源成菜头粿), Telok Blangah Drive Food Centre, 79 Telok Blangah Drive, #01-33, Singapore 100079
- He Zhong Carrot Cake (合众菜头粿) , Bukit Timah Food Centre, 116 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, #02-185, Singapore 588172
- Encik Tan, Kallang Wave Mall, #01-32, 1 Stadium Place, Singapore 397628
There’s so much to love (and crave) about Prawn Noodles, referred to by Singaporeans as Hae Mee. The best thing about this distinctively local dish of the hawker gods is the rich herbal prawn stock, which for most of the time, is simmered for hours on end till the soup that is made from it is bursting with incredible sweetness.
Basic versions of this dish include thinly sliced prawns, tau ghey (bean sprouts), bits of kangkong (water spinach), yellow noodles and sprinkled with crispy fried onions. My preferred variation includes lean pork slices and large juicy prawns. I always sprinkle generous amounts of spicy chilli powder into my noodles for extra zing.
While the broth is often bursting with flavour, it calls for a thirst-quenching drink – in this case, this dish is perfectly balanced by mouthfuls of either a Coke or Coke light®. It’s always the same great taste, every single time to complement all my favourite comfort foods. A reassuring sip of Coke with a bowl of prawn noodles, away from the confines of my working environment, helps me unwind and take a real break. No matter how tired, stressed or frustrated I may be.
Where to Eat Prawn Noodles:
- Blanco Court Prawn Mee (白兰阁街大虾面), 243 Beach Road, #01-01, Singapore 189754
- Noo Cheng Adam Road Big Prawn Mee (亞當路大虾面), Adam Road Food Centre, 2 Adam Road, #01-27, Singapore 289876
- Newton Prawn Noodles (纽顿天香大虾面), Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Ave North, #01-060 Singapore 229495
Late night suppers, while bad for the waistline and heart, are a rite of passage growing up in Singapore. With some hawker centres open till the wee hours of the morning, there is no place I’d rather be than in this foodie paradise.
One of the most popular local dishes to hit up for late night dining is the legendary Oyster Omelette. It’s just oysters fried in a huge wok on high heat with a mixture of eggs and tapioca flour. The result is a tantalising egg dish that is crispy at the edges and wonderfully fluffy in the middle. It tastes amazing with the tangy chilli sauce that differs from hawker to hawker (each has their own secret recipe).
An after work supper indulgence, with like-minded colleagues or close friends, is a much-needed comforting affair. As I share plates of Oyster Omelette with my dining buddies and have a cathartic chat about the problems I am facing, the refreshing bubbly sensation from each swig of Coke quickly fades away the frustrations of a heavy work day. This mood booster leaves me encouraged and ready to take on challenges tomorrow!
Where to Eat Oyster Omelette:
- Heng Carrot Cake, Newton Food Centre, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, #01-028, Singapore 229495
- Bedok North 85 Oyster Omelette (勿洛北85蚝煎), Blk 85, Bedok North Street 4, #01-49/51, Singapore 460085
- Ah Hock Fried Oyster Hougang, Whampoa Drive Makan Place, 90 Whampoa Drive, #01-54, Singapore 32009
There was a time when people asked if I could eat Curry Chicken everyday. Yes, I could. It is that pleasing to my taste buds!
This local dish is a mixture of Malay and Chinese cooking techniques and ingredients and is an apt dish to represent Singapore, being so multicultural and well-loved by all (except those who can’t take heat of course). What sets the amazing chicken curries from the ordinary run-of-the-mill ones is the creaminess of the gravy, whether it has just the right lemak (coconut milk) and if the chicken and potatoes are boiled till fall-off-the-bone tender, but has not reached the stage where it starts melting into the gravy.
What’s so great about curry chicken is that I can always order it to share around the table. It’s just perfect for communal style dining and anyone can decide on their choice of starch, be it a bowl of steaming hot rice or slices from a loaf of chiamtao loti (baguette) and then have their fill of the chopped chicken, sinful gravy and soft fluffy potatoes. I find that the quickest way to de-stress and feel relieved in a jiffy is to enjoy a meal in a social and not a work setting (e.g. in a staff canteen) with my colleagues.
My recommendation for cleansing your palatefrom the spiciness? Graba can of Coke, Coke light or Coke zero®. Grab a few cup full of ice cubes. Pour the Coke in. Share the universal icon of happiness with friends around the table. Let the sparkling crisp gulps of Coke “rinse” away the spiciness.
Much like how it can rinse away spiciness, Coke can also wash away my worries and keep my mind off them. This allows me to attain clarity and my time that would have otherwise been clouded by vexing thoughts, can then be used to focus on finding fast and smart solutions!
Where to Eat Curry Chicken:
- Curry Times, Changi Airport Terminal 3, 65 Airport Boulevard, #B2-51, Singapore 819663
- Queensway Famous Curry Chicken (女王道（出名）咖哩鸡), Queensway Shopping Centre, Level 1, 1 Queensway, Singapore 149053
- 29 Delights, Blk 29 Bendemeer Food Centre, Stall 29, 29 Bendemeer Road, Singapore 330029
Much like how I’d feel instantly refreshed the moment I guzzle down a chilled Coke on a sweltering hot day, a mundane meal, along with good company, can be transformed into a meaningful, pleasurable experience with the right food that hits the spot. If the day has been testing and tiresome, it can be turned into a extraordinary one worth smiling for in a snap, if you know how to break it up with fulfilling and comforting local eats and a glass of Coke.
This article is brought to you in partnership with Coca-Cola.