I arrived at my hotel room at 2:15AM, and managed to sleep from four to six. By 7AM I was awake, and hungry. I hadn’t yet studied the area around my hotel, nor thought about what I might like to eat. My hotel offered its own food, but I was anxious to see Singapore.
My hotel is fairly close to Maxwell House, one of the famous hawker centers in Chinatown. Not too many stalls were open, maybe a dozen or two out of what seemed like a hundred. A quick reference in my guide suggested that the most famous Chicken Rice is served at stall 10, Tian Tian. I found stall 10, which had its grate up and lights on. Perfect! I walked up, and the proprietor said “ten o clock”, meaning the stall wouldn’t be open for another three hours. Damn.
I walked around some more and found another stall which seemed to have a variety of noodle soups. I carefully studied the photos, of which there were three, and not yet knowing any other foods, settled on Chicken Laksa. “No Chicken Laksa, today,” said the owner, a woman in her 50s wearing a faded pink apron that said “I [heart] Hawker Food”, “Only two dishes.” The other two looked fairly similar, but one seemed to have chilies and the other looked like frog’s legs. I didn’t want to start off with chilies, so I settled on the other dish: if I’m going to be adventurous, frog’s legs seemed like a good start. “Mee Siam“, I said, and paid the two Singaporean dollars. I turned down the seller’s offer for red chili paste, but allowed her to squeeze the juice from a tiny lime onto it.
As you can see from the photo, there’s no frog’s legs. It’s a fish-based spicy broth with noodles, chicken and scallions. The chicken was boring, and there wasn’t much of it to start with, but the egg was pickled with a sweet vinegar. The broth reminded me of thai soups I’ve had in the past. An easy dish to devour.
I went back to ask where to bus my dish. “Put it on the table,” the seller said. And then I managed to ask about the missing item, which I thought was frog’s legs. “Anchovies.” she said. “Cost extra.”
Overall a tasty first dish.