Chan’s Paella, Singapore Style

I first came across this Spanish dish not in Spain, but in Greece. After watching it being done outdoors in Thessaloniki, I decided to try it out myself. This is one of my family’s favourite dishes. Do try this yourself.

Chan’s Rojak

Rojak is a very special kind of salad that has its own unique blend of fruits, vegetables and “croutons”. Of course, the “dressing” is also very special. Foreigners may find the “dressing” a little too pungent, but it’s pretty much an acquired taste. Once you’re hooked, your hooked for life. Check out this rojak stall at Kovan. The addicts … I mean customers often wait for 30 mins to get their rojak fix.

Those who can’t tolerate the wait (and the seller’s arrogance) can actually DIY. The only problem is, preparing the ingredients can be quite time-consuming if you’re just making a small portion. It only make sense to prepare a family size serving. You won’t believe how cheap and simple it is.

The ingredients used in my rojak are turnip, pineapple, kangkong (cooked), bean sprouts (cooked). For the sauce, we have prawn sauce, sugar, lemon juice, sambal, peanut butter. Grated peanuts are not shown. I couldn’t find any ginger bud, otherwise the falvours could be greatly enhanced.

Nasi Lemak By Any Other Name

I certainly won’t pay $60 for a nasi lemak, but if the nasi lemak stall is good, I would gladly patronise. The thing is, there aren’t that many good nasi lemak stalls out there anymore. The reason? Selling food is considered “low class” in Singapore. All that is in spite of the flak drawn by a social studies book which defined social economic classes in the following terms:

Higher socio-economic class

• Use formal English in daily conversation or at home

• Play sports or tennis at an exclusive country club

• Have regular fine dining at expensive restaurants

• Travel overseas for leisure during school holidays

Lower socio-economic class

• Use Singlish or different dialects in daily conversation or at home

• Play football or basketball in HDB estates

• Eat at hawker centres or at home

• Work part-time jobs during vacation time to meet family basic needs