In a densely populated place like Singapore, is it possible to find a quiet place of solace in some part of the island? To escape from the sea of people and tide of activities in the city and enjoy a quiet local meal to yourself?
I must admit, every time I touch down in Singapore, I get a little claustrophobic. The jostling as you board the MRT train or bus, the crowds setting the walking pace for you as you walk down the streets, the sounds of the heartlander area that go on even after the sun sets… all these tend to test my patience when I first land in home country. After all, it takes a little getting used to after living abroad where everything goes quiet after the sun goes down (except Friday nights, but I would be at church anyway) and the spaces in between each home or even between people are much wider.
But the initial annoyance usually wears off after a few days 🙂 I’m a city girl at heart anyway and it just a matter of adjusting to keep up with the flow of this fast-paced city.
But still, it’s nice to find your own quiet spot in this urban jungle and waking up early for an 8am Sunday breakfast at Amoy Street Food Centre did just that!
Amoy Street Food Centre is located right in the heart of the CBD area and caters mostly to the office crowds during lunchtime.
I was thus a little skeptical when Ms Slim suggested going there for breakfast before church service….
‘Is it even open?’ I asked her.
‘Yeah it should be,’ was her calm reply.
I shrugged and decided to go along with it, since Ms Slim has resettled back in Singapore already and was more in touch with the local scene than me.
When we got there, I first noticed that many of the hawker stalls were not open. Uh-oh, I thought to myself, did we make a wasted trip?
But thankfully, the stalls that we wanted to eat from were open – hip hip hooray! Let the Amoy Street Breakfast begin!
It was slightly mind-boggling to have an empty hawker centre before us and having the luxury to pick our seat. What a world of difference from the weekday lunch hour rush, where you usually find tissue packs littering every seat, for the infamous ‘choping’ (reserving) of seats 😛
I asked the Char Kway Teow uncle what time does he open his stall, and he said he’s been at his stall since 6am. Wow! Yup, Singaporeans are hardworking people!
Okay, so after a short wait, all of our dishes arrived!
Let’s go into the details of the dishes, shall we?
First up, the dish of why we came to Amoy Street in the first place – the raw fish salad.
I love the freshness of the raw fish, mixed in sesame oil and soy sauce, coupled with the fresh lettuce and spring onion. And with that burst of lime and raw chilli… Mmmm… Every mouthful just crunches into freshness, with the fresh flavours tingling the tastebuds. MMMM...
I cannot find this dish anywhere else but if you do know of another place, please let me know!
Next, we had a bowl of Pork porridge.
The porridge was smooth and I always love swirling the raw yolk in it, letting the heat of the porridge cook the egg. It was warm, comforting, just the right kind of dish for breakfast.
And last but not the least, the Char Kway Teow by the uncle who was prepping the stall since 6am…
Ms Slim was raving about this and at my first bite, I knew why. The noodles were fried perfectly with the right chewy texture and slight charred at the ends. The sauce had the right balance of sweetness and saltiness, and when mixed with the juices of the ‘ham’ (cockles)… mmmm! And the addition of the lime by the side just lifts up the whole dish with a sourish zest. This is definitely one Char Kway Teow that is cooked with much experience!
It was such a treat being able to enjoy our yummy breakfast in much quiet and peace, before the city wakes up properly and start to pick up speed. Because we got up to an early start, we could eat at a leisurely pace, catching up about our lives as well. And after our physical feeding, we made our way to church to worship the Lord and get our spiritual feeding!
And by that time, the city was back into the full swing of things, with people dotting every corner of the street, and vehicles zooming down the roads. Oh well, it was good catching that peaceful moment anyway!
So with our pleasant Amoy Street Breakfast experience, it is possible to find your quiet spot in this crowded little city – I guess there are times that the city slows down and you just gotta find that wave and ride it, and enjoy it while it lasts 😉