Dick Lee is best known for his musicals that encapsulate that uniquely Singaporean soul by telling stories through music. So when I found out that Dick Lee’s Singapopera was playing at the The Esplanade (our very own local durian-looking theatres on the bay), I knew I had to go. Mr. Lee has been around for so long that I’m surprised he isn’t telling dad jokes. To think he’s only four years younger than my old man. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. He still wears his signature suits, looking as dashing as always with his silver hair and infectious smile.
No one does chicken rice like Boon Tong Kee. Like all famous Singaporean things, it has a couple of branches. I’ve been going to the one on River Valley Road for close to 16 years. I order the exact same dishes whenever I’m home. I don’t even need to look at the menu. Half a chicken – steamed, not roasted. Mui chai slow-cooked pork. Poached spinach with three kinds of eggs.
I was honestly astonished at how delicious, delectable and authentic the whole experience was. If it wasn’t for the strange decor and the hefty price tag, I would have felt like I was back in Singapore. And BTW – the super hot is actually super hot… Truth be told, it was a little too hot for my palate. I should have prudently chosen a less spicy soup – but hey.
I realise that a Japanese man is about to serve hawker fare to a very fussy Singaporean. I have ridiculously high and stringent standards when it comes to the food of my childhood. It comes with the territory. Whenever most people do something that’s foreign – they inevitably end up leaving their accent on it. It’s not a bad thing. But I know better than to expect it to taste like it does back home.
Bah Kut Teh (meat bone tea) is one of those dishes that I often ate at the hawker centre growing up. It’s a pork rib soup slow cooked in a broth of herbs and spices. Despite the name, Bah Kut Teh has no tea in the soup and is a reference to the oolong tea which is ordinarily served alongside the soup. The older generations believed that it cancels out all the fat in the soup. Hmm… about that…
Akasaka has quickly become my favourite neighbourhood in Tokyo. It has all of the international amenities and none of the annoying tourists. The streets are full of restaurants from all over the world. The bars are chic and woman-friendly. I’ve been coming to this area for work and I LOVE it. There isn’t much to see or do as such – but if you’re a foreigner that’s been in Japan for a while and are longing to feel at ‘home’ – Akasaka will sort you out.
I love teaching ’cause I love learning. My kids – I’m sure they prefer to be…