Today, I mosied to Plaza Singapura to kill several birds with one stone. Pay my Starhub and Pacnet bills; shop at Carrefour and as a by the way check out the char siew served at Restoran Selayang at Plaza Singapura’s 6th floor food court.
The bill paying and shopping at Carrefour was uneventful. But the char siew served at Restoran Selayang was something else and really deserves being awarded not one but two write-ups in the Sunday Times yesterday! And not only the char siew, as u will see.
As my friends know, I’m not a char siew person but after reading Tan Hsueh Yun’s glowing account “– the meat is a little sweeter than usual and… there are so many delicious caramelised bits dotted all over the pork belly–” I felt I could give it a try, since i would be in the vicinity anyway.
And doubly also because I’m now always on the look-out for a decent but reasonably priced place to take mum and picky Siti to lunch where we could do several things at one go.
As the recce person, I went alone today and searched the food court to locate Restoran Selayang but was unsuccessful. Found instead something called Kuala Lumpur Roasted, with a tag line which said Roasted Delights — right next to an Indonesian food stall.
Huh? Can this be it? My doubts were soon cleared by the queue of about a dozen people in front of the stall. Other stalls at most had about 2 or 3 waiting to be served. MSM continues to have pulling power indeed whatever the cyber thugs may say!
Also, confirming that I had hit pay dirt were the two Sunday Times articles proudly reproduced and displayed on the glass panel separating the cooks from the waiting queue.
I waited patiently for my turn and wondered for the umpteenth time whenever I’m in a food court in Singapore why we don’t do what they do in Hongkong: that is place our order and get a chit to make payment at another counter and then return to pick up our food, when invariably the dish would be ready.
Instead, at our food courts, there would always be a gridlock of people waiting to order or pay or to pick up their food. That there are no quarrels galore over such a messy arrangement goes a long way to say that people in Singapore, contrary to rumours, are a patient lot.
Anyway back to Kuala Lumpur Roasted, Roasted Delights or Restoran Selayang: when my turn came I asked for noodles with char siew, with my standard instruction “no gravy please” — which had pissed off many other food court stalls but not this one.
Instead, the auntie offered a dash of oil and soy sauce, to which I said “no”; then she asked how about a drizzle of soup? Oh, OK, I said; then changed my mind, pointing out that I would have soup with the wonton anyway and could drizzle if I wanted to.
While this was going, I didn’t noticed that someone was standing next to me and said “Allow me!” when I stretched out to pick up the bowl of soup the auntie had ladled for me.
I turned. Oh wow! What a hunk! Really tall, dark and handsome, with dimpled cheeks and a tan that shouted “I’m the outdoors type”. It was the boss himself. Terence Cao in the skin. Cao, according to the media, is part owner of the stall.
I’m not generally a Mediacorp fan, even tho some of my best friends are linked to Mediacorp and a brother works there. It’s just that I always thought our homegrown stars lack the looks of the Koreans or the Taiwanese.
Seeing Terence Cao in person makes me wonder whether our stars don’t look good on screen only because Mediacorp cameramen don’t know how to make good lookers look good?
The bigger thrill that followed Cao helping me with the soup was that Cao also helped to put my plate of char siew noodles on my tray. Oh what a cheap thrill at $4.30.
At that price, I won’t quibble over the small size of the wonton (which Suntimes did). After all, for three, the extra 50 cents (against $3.80 sans wonton) are worth it, at less 20 cents each. Even ondeh ondeh costs 40 cents each at Kedai Kueh Kueh.
Now I don’t know whether it was the star touch or Tan Hsueh Yun’s write-up or the auntie at the stall not making a fuss over me not wanting gravy or simply that it was way over my lunch time: but the noodle tasted good, so did the char siew which was moist and tender and with just the right amount of sweetness, like bak kwa but less chewy.
Well worth a return visit, even if the next one won’t find Terence Cao helping out.