Singapore Adventure

Friday, November 18, 2005

For Your Dining Pleasure
by venitha

Penang provided several serendipitous opportunities for us to devise corollaries to the Jeff Tobin rule of hawker dining, which is, simply, to get in the longest line. Following this rule invariably rewards your patience with downright delicious food that is delectably worth the wait.

Our scrumptious new guidelines:
  • If you're lucky enough to be dining with a native, let him order for you. Our first Penang laksa was much spicier and contained much more of the "good" stuff than our second, and I have no doubt that this is thanks to the fact that Mr. Lee, our friendly new acquaintance from Kuala Lumpur with whom we were dining, ordered for us. Malaysians, like Singaporeans, steadfastly refuse to believe me when I say I want it spicy spicy spicy. Thais, on the other hand, take me powerfully seriously, and I love them for it. Note to self: Plan another trip to Thailand.

  • If your taxi driver, who does not strike you as a serial killer, offers to take you to his favorite Indian place, which conveniently happens to be a very cheap dive of a restaurant mere blocks from your hotel packed with happy Indian customers, take him up on it. Our first new guideline is also useful here, though beware that the odds are good that you'll end up with far far far more food than any person should eat for a single meal. Note to self: Add another happy new guideline: Never finish all the food served to you at an Indian restaurant, regardless of how incredibly mouth-watering and fiery it is.

  • Never walk by a hole-in-the-wall eatery with hordes of natives clamoring for its specialty without joining in, unless, of course, you have just eaten so much Indian food that you can hardly move let alone fight your way through a crowd of hungry Muslims nearing the end of . Fortunately for us, this was a different day. Jim, as he put it, "risked life, limb, and wallet" to get us a murtabak. The place was seriously mobbed, and the murtabak was seriously yummy.