Island On My Plate
I trudged through the cold to get this pack of deliciousness from Taste Good Malaysian Restaurant in Queens, NY. I opened it in my apartment with no exact plan how to recreate Pulau Ubin. I love the rush of creativity that comes when I put myself on the freestyle line.
I started separating, and eating, the ingredients as I went along, hoping inspiration would hit me. 15 minutes and nothing came to mind. I’m sure the folks at Taste Good Restaurant were not expecting anyone to dissect their dish, much less broadcast to the world that they give you more bean sprouts than necessary with an average of three prawns, three squid squares and five fish cake slices in the mountain of noodles. This dish could really use some see hum and lup cheong right now. Tastes good at least.
I looked out. The sun was going down and no good idea was coming to me. So much for a good picture moment. I looked through my Facebook pictures with friends on a previous Ubin trip to jog my memory. I saw the two-seater bicycle, inspiration hit and I went on autopilot from that moment. I am not sure if Pulau Ubin has changed over the last four years, but I remember walks/hikes through the lush greenery, long bicycle rides through the island looking at old cars and stilt and zinc houses like a scene from Singapore in the 70s. I like the rustic feeling of the island frozen in time, untouched by fast pace of modernization in Singapore.
Pulau Ubin in my mind, required adding some other ingredients of course. For ‘lush’ greenery, I added my own stems of broccoli, in case anyone finds it odd that there is broccoli in Char Kway Teow. I got to the part where I needed to create a triple wheel bicycle for two and turned to my trusty packet of mixed seafood in the freezer to look for small squid rings. Coincidentally, I found clam meat which worked perfectly as the ‘hum’ (clam), or the bicycle seats I suppose. The fish cake became colder and stiffer because of the weather. That was great because that meant the fish cake slices could stand on their own as zinc huts that I remember from the island. The broccoli was my own addition to recreate the greenery around the island. Oh warm weather and lush greenery, how I long for thee.