Places I Miss

And probably don’t exist anymore…

A real Kopi Tiam, with lau ah pek’s talking about horse racing at the top of their voices.

A true Hawker Centre, with ka-chuak crunching underfoot, where the food is served on colourful melamine plates that you throw in a big wash basin after you’re finished. Plastic chopsticks in a big ceramic pot on every round table with rigid, backless plastic stools cemented into the ground. And a lot of aunties tut-tutting waiting for your table. Oh sorry, THEIR table cos you shouldn’t take so long, you know… Typified by Newton Circus (probably razed to the ground now) and Lau Pa Sat (before gentrification).

A full-on seafood place on East Coast Parkway. Chilli crabs! I’d have gotten married in Singapore if they would have let me have it at a chilli crab craphouse. Yeah, fat luck.

You can keep your gourmet Michelin-starred gastropubs, fancy French bistros, and your air-conditioned “food courts”. I want the old-school open-air, fan-overhead, noisy, busy, rude, chaotic makan places of my nostalgia.

Time to switch on the Singlish, shock the husband, slap on the sunblock, and swan back into the country that threw me out1 a decade and a half ago.

1 They didn’t technically throw me out, but there was no future for me there.


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