Friday, October 10, 2008

A Cheap and Good Singapore Breakfast




The British have their bacon and eggs, the French their croissants, and the Japanese their porridge and pickles. The Americans have their McDonald's and their Dunking Donuts and the food that they serve in Diners and Truck Stops. The popular Singapore breakfast food above is fried Rice Noodles [more accurately, Vermicelli]. In the local Hokkien dialect it is called Bee Hoon which literally translates as "powdered rice". Its relative blandness goes well with the fried fish, slice of luncheon meat [what you call Spam], and fried egg. Cut red chilies, and Chinese parsley are garnishes which complete the dish. The fried fish is especially tasty because it has been marinaded in a blend of soya sauce and Tamarind, a sourish fruit. Singapore Bee Hoon is a light, healthy and tasty breakfast and costs about US$2.30 even for this Deluxe version with all the trimmings. Some people have just the plain noodles which costs 70 cents.
But that's not all. My breakfast is always accompanied by a bottle of carbonated mineral water which has been flavored by the Oldenlandia leaf. Oldenlandia is a fragrant herb and its Chinese name Ser Cao which means snake grass is derived from the fact that it was originally used to treat snake bites. It is now also regarded as a cure for body 'heatiness' i.e. too much Yang and not enough 'Yin'. It's manufactured in China and bottled in Singapore, and knowing Singapore's strict controls, it should not be containing Melamine.
My cup of Singapore coffee is served in a typical Singapore Chinese coffeeshop type of cup. Singapore -style coffee is made from the Robusta and not Arabica bean. All of the world's expensive coffee such as the Blue Mountain and the Colombian uses Arabica beans. Some consider Robusta coffee to be not as refined as Arabica bean coffees. But here, we prefer our coffee very strong-bodied and slightly bitter.

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