Discovery Channel's Travel & Adventure channel was showing a feature on Singapore food at noon today. Anthony Bourdain did the diplomatic thing and went to the Chinese, Malay and Indian haunts respectively.
For Chinese food, he tried the Imperial Herbal restaurant, which actually was one of my favourites when I was a child (!). He was told he was too 'heaty' after a sinseh looked at his tongue, and was told he needed ginseng. I recall he tried a fish dish and deer tendons. He also drank deer penis wine - two glasses of it! And said he felt like, ahem, Superman... although he feared the food would make him flatulent.
For Malay food, he first went to the Geylang Serai market where his Malay guide let him sample otah (which he liked) before taking him to a local eatery whose name I cannot remember. It's within walking distance of the market, though, and he enjoyed the food. Any ideas which restaurant it is?
The only snag was, while in the market he kept referring to Malays as 'Malaysians', and I was a bit surprised that his scriptwriters didn't know the difference.
For Indian food, he took him to a prata stall (again, I didn't catch the name because I had left the TV room to run an errand). He had murtabak with teh tarik. The only thing is his Indian host didn't call it that, but 'stretch tea'. Obviously the script was modified for an international audience.
But his Indian host introduced him to our very own food guru, Seetoh! Complete with hat. He took Bourdain to Sin Huat Seafood Restaurant, which I've mentioned before. The dishes he tried were the scallops (yummy dark sauce), the 'kong kong' with a delicious garlic-honey chilli sauce, the frogs legs (which I've never tried before), and the ultimate crab bee hoon, which is truly very tasty as we've eaten it countless times before. Bourdain ended the show by saying that of all the dishes he tried in Singapore, THIS was the special one.
You have to love garlic, because it's in a lot of his dishes, and you can't be fussy about ambience because it's nonexistent (I've fended off stray cats and have seen cockroaches crawling about, just outside the restaurant). Danny the 'chef' has what we call a casual and practical approach to dressing, and I was glad that Discovery Travel took a no holds barred approach and actually filmed his trademark white cotton t-shirt, black shorts and boots.
ps. This other patron says it all! Read his review and see the pics.