The Joker Of Singapore And Jus Katira

Singapore is good at promoting foreign food or “hipterising” local food favourites such as nasi lemak’s conversion into a McD burger for National Day. At their Ramadan bazaars, I kept seeing a Katira drink that was a big hit. The crazy Chinese seller who looked like Batman’s Joker, assured me it is halal and showed me the MUIS logo which is similar in mileage to our JAKIM logo.

I thought he was a PRC (local racist and discriminatory slang word for workers from People’s Republic of China) but he is local since he kept using Hokkien (Fujian) expletives when I pushed him for an explanation of the unusual green drink.

What is Katira? It is Tragacanth gum from a shrub mostly found in Iran, Iraq and Western Asia. It is considered a herb and good for detoxing in the Middle East. I didn’t feel like trying after he called it “kapo nerg” or frog’s eggs or tadpoles. Thanks for your honesty, Sir. Wonderful Basil seed drink suffers the same. Finally, I saw one solitary stall selling it from a corner at TTDI’s bazaar this year. The Singapore stall was at Geylang Serai and local Malays loved Air Katira and Jus Katira.

#singapore #food #katira #ramadan #geylangserai

Goat Soup For The Soul

I was writing about the quaint mosque in Setapak the other day and an IG follower reminded me of the famous sup kambing and popia basah (soft skinned spring rolls) shop found behind the mosque. A non-Muslim friend and I decided to go look at Pasar Ramadan bazaars today. I suggested we go to the sup shop to celebrate the first buka puasa or the first breaking of fast this year.

My bowl of sup kambing (front) and my friend’s sup ayam at the rear of the pic. Sliced loaf of Roti Banggali bread was served (chargeable). I ordered a plate of plain white rice to go with the spicy and fragrant soup.

Am thankful for the simple, affordable yet delicious meal. Grateful for my friend’s flexibility. Honoured to be able to celebrate the first day of Ramadan with a like-minded and good friend. Another wonderful news today. Feeling blessed. Was looking for the teacher who stayed next to the mosque and he called me today and we spoke again after a few decades! That will be a story for another day!

Restoran Hussin Sup & Popia Jalan Pahang is tricky to navigate to if you are unfamiliar with the area. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

#supayam #supkambing #hussinsup #mamaksoup #setapak #mosque #bukapuasa #ramadan #mamak

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

To have quick access to the Singapore Ramadan Bazaar, I stayed at a hotel on the doorsteps of the street bazaar known as Geylang Serai. I tried to recall the name of the hotel but there are like a dozen 81 chain hotels in the Geylang area!

The one I stayed was Hotel 81 Tristar and only thing I didn’t like was that the room had no windows except for a big wall mirror. Kind of like a love hotel except it can spook you at night when you are staying alone and you noticed something moving that was your own reflection. Credit to the receptionist for telling me in advance. Some hotels don’t tell you and it may be a good idea to ask when checking in.

For a budget hotel (in the Singapore context – over RM 200), it has an outdoor pool on one of the floors and a minibar in each room. There is a convenient 7 Eleven downstairs to fill up the minibar (mini fridge). To recall the hotel’s name, I was lucky to have taken some pictures at a mamak or Malay restaurant downstairs. The restaurant’s name Al Wadi was captured and it allowed me to do a Google Street View walk to find the name of the hotel next door.  Kind of nostalgic because I used to take long exploration walks as a 7 or 8 year old kid from Everitt Road nearby, where we once stayed.

Book Hotel 81 Tristar here (Booking dot com) or here (Agoda)

Address: 1 Onan Road.  Singapore 424780

Find over 470 hotels in Singapore here

Men With Hats

Meet two of the chefs who will be bringing us fine cuisine in the “Kampung In The City” Buka Puasa buffet during Ramadan at the KL Convention Centre.

On the left is Chef Mohd Noor Bin Mus, the Chef De Cuisine from Kedah. On right is Chef Amir Muhamad, the Malay Food Chef from Johor. He was formerly with Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur.

They will be responsible for the regional touch of some of the dishes to be served. The buffet starts from 5th to 20th June. Cost per pax is RM 115 nett. See preview pictures in previous posts.

See also the Press Release at MyCen PR on FB for more info.

Incidentally, “The Safety Dance” was one of my favourite 80s songs by Canadian new wave/synthpop band Men Without Hats.