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07 October 2010

Katong Laksa and a Chicken!

This week (and it isn't even finished yet) has seen two interesting food experiences which it only seemed right to share with you all.


Last night my fiance and I decided to go out for something to eat, after last week when my friend was here and we went out every night this might seem a common occurrence but it really isn't I can assure you.  So we decided we'd stay local, we live in an area of Singapore called Katong which is very famous for Katong Laksa.  Neither of us had had this so it was decided this was what we were going to eat at one of the famous laksa restaurants on the East Coast Road.  Laksa is a Peranakan dish and the guidebook we referred to described it as 'noodles in a savoury coconut-milk gravy with fried tofu and bean sprouts'.


The restaurant we chose although mentioned in all our guidebooks is also somewhere were locals go so again I felt we really were sampling the locals food and hopefully getting one of the best versions of the dish.  Well what can I say, we arrived and laksa was pretty much the only thing on the menu (good job we'd decided beforehand that's what we wanted to try).  On the basis of the guidebook we had assumed (never assume anything I guess) that laksa came in a variety of options i.e. sea food, chicken, beef etc. and when we arrived the guy serving us asked us if we wanted sea food or not which we felt confirmed this.  Although I've been pretty adventurous since I got here with my fish eating I still wouldn't choose fish over an alternative option just yet so we declined that assuming we'd be getting another version of the dish.

It arrived and just from looking at it it was fairly obvious it had prawns and various other fish in it and when we queried this, on the basis that it wasn't what we had ordered, we were told it only comes with sea food!!!!  I guess laksa is traditionally only a sea food dish so why give us a choice if we didn't have one?!?  By this time our drinks had arrived my fiance had ordered a Tiger beer and I ordered a coke.  When my 'coke' arrived it was in fact lime juice, now I like this and happily drank it but the guy definitely heard me ask for a coke as he clarified it with me at the time of ordering.  Needless to say I picked round my laksa and what I ate was very nice but if there had been an option to have had a non-seafood version I would have enjoyed it so much more and if this is the only way to have laksa I wish our guidebook had been a bit more specific.


I mentioned chickens in the title of this blog too, that wasn't wishful thinking on my part for last night and my laksa experience but refers to the chicken we brought with the intention of having a traditional roast dinner last weekend.  We bought a lovely looking chicken just like the ones you buy in supermarkets back in the UK but what you couldn't see from the way it was packed was that it still had its head and feet attached!  I really do appreciate that over here they use far more of the chicken than we do in the UK but it still came as a bit of a shock and was a little off putting (rather like the bones I found in what I thought were chicken nuggets).  I was seriously concerned that the poor thing may not have been gutted but fortunately it had been and once the head and feet were removed and it was cooked it was lovely. 


Even though my father was a butcher and I've seen numerous things like half a pig etc. before it is cut up and so does still look like the animal that still wasn't enough to prepare me for the sight of the chicken's head.  :o(

We've decided in future that we'll just buy chicken breasts or legs rather than a whole one.  You live and learn I guess and we certainly have this week!!

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