I usually listen to Medaicorp’s Radio 93.8 Live Gets You Talking — when I’m driving. As a result, I’ve become quite familiar with some of its programs and presenters — at least by the latter’s voices.
So, you could have knocked me down — or I could have knocked down someone — when I heard on the Foodie Lunch Pick program, a well-known Singapore culinary “expert” waxing lyrical about some dishes she’s just discovered when she ate at Prima Tower’s revolving restaurant recently.
Worse still, the presenter, Eugene Loh — he of the mellifluous voice and Slice of Life fame — was literally hanging onto every morsel of information that dropped from this “expert’s” mouth.
I won’t mention the expert’s name in case it embarrasses her, but when I heard her exhilirated descriptions about what she ate — as tho “Eureka!” she’s hit new found land — I wanted to call the station to say ” ‘allo Auntie, where u been all this time?”
93.8 Live, you really got me choking.
Because the first dish that got the expert smacking her lips is none other than the rather common dish comprising egg white with dried scallop (sometimes with fish slices added) and topped with a raw egg yolk.
Almost any of the outlets in the Crystal Jade chain have been serving their version of this dish for years. To many Chinese of my generation, it’s commonly known by the rather flowery name of “100 birds have returned to the nest”.
Another dish that got the program host and his guest apparently salivating is the drunken chicken dish. Again, most, if not all, Crystal Jade outlet serves it as do other Chinese restaurants, too many to enumerate.
But it was probably popularised by the defunct Jade Room which had its glory days on the very site that now sits the uber-ex and uber-grande Paragon Shopping Centre in Orchard Road.
And the recipe for the hic-hic chic has been extensively written about, notably very well by veteran S’porean food-blogger known as Kuidaore and here’s a screenshot to prove it.
Now if the gushing over the egg white and drunken chicken dishes didn’t take the cake, the “expert’s” rave about the dessert — the common toffee banana dish — certainly did.
I’ve eaten it umpteen times at the Jade Room in my salad days and on and off at many other Chinese restaurants.
And yes, the recipe for this dessert — fritter, coat while hot in melted toffee or sugared water and then plunge into a bowl of water with ice cubes before serving — isn’t exactly rocket science and is widely available on the Internet.
93.8 Live’s curious, misplaced enthusiasm for fairly standard Chinese restaurant fare got me thinking: can the experts who the program interviews as well as the presenters be so “suaku” as not to know what they are talking about? Couldn’t they have checked the Internet first?
Or, are programs such as the one I listened to mainly directed at the ang mos and other non-Chinese expats and tourists in Singapore who may not know better and hence will take as gospel the recommendations dispensed?
And go away thinking they have tasted true blue unusual Chinese dishes when nothing could be further from the truth.
Taken from this perspective and if I allowed my wicked sense of humour full rein, I could concede that 93.8 Live got me chuckling! Trouble is April 1 is still almost four months away.