Blog To Express

A blogosphere learning experience to express with blog

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Location: Singapore, Singapore

A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Oct 7, 2016

Memories of Taste

Archived photo of Ellenborough Market 1910 courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

Today is the 9th birthday of the "Blog to Express" blog which was born on 7th October, 2007.  "Happy Birthday, Blog to Express"!

Thanks to for the faithful support and generosity without any interruption these 9 years.  Thanks also to all my blog friends and fans, fellow bloggers and everyone to help me to make these blogs living and pampering with kind words of encouragement and constructive comments.

There are now over 550 blogs at "Blog to Express" (very modest compared to fellow bloggers who posted over 1000 blogs).

The first blog I posted was "Why Blog" here .

In my personal blogs, I would like to reiterate that I had adhered to the "Mission Statement" as mentioned in the first blog and would continue to do so mindfully and responsibly as a hobby.  Many friends advised me not to waste so much time as if I do not have anything better to do. But that's me.  Crazy isn't it .... lost so much sleep at night and had to fall asleep at the workplace.  I am no longer young!

With over 500 blogs, I was too lazy to compile an index to list the blog titles alphabetically A to Z.

Thanks to Facebook as a "saviour" with "Facebook Memories", a helpful and user-friendly feature recently introduced to all Facebook members.  This is another "memory-aid" for all Facebook friends.

4 years ago, my former blog "Visit to Pike Place Fish Market" was created on October 7, 2012 is linked here .

This was specially created under "Pike Place Fish Market" and not at my regular blogs at "Blog to Express" (Blogspot) and Thoughtmoments (Wordpress).

These blogs are posted alternatively as each website content management system for blogging serves different layouts, formats and designs.

These heritage blogs are posted to share my personal experiences and memories of childhood, schooldays memories, of things, people, places, buildings and events which are news and stuff worthwhile to remember about.

These blog topics are from my personal memories and experiences in Singapore and shared from other fellow nostalgia bloggers shared with me.  I am blessed to have so many like-minded pioneer generation friends to learn from them.  No two people have the same stories under similar conditions or circumstances about the same place, at different times, different memories and walk through each our own lives.

Well-known MediaCorp TV Singaporean Moses Lim of sitcom Under One Roof.

Today with Moses Lim (Today dated 3 June, 2006)

A walk down memory lane 
"As you grow older, you'll find yourself reminiscing about your younger days.  Especially those glorious moments.

If you think about it, things tend to come full circle.  As the Chinese saying goes, "When misfortune reaches its limit, good fortune follows."

Many middle-aged people, for instance, find themselves taking a liking to retro things such as antiques, old paintings and calligraphy.

Owing to an overdose of artificial and processed products and food in our lives, many people seem to be going to basics, and going for original flavours.

Some restaurants have even tried to create an ambience and a style - from decor and cutlery to the wait staff's uniform - that's reminiscent of the past.  Not to mention the food itself.

This trend is discernible even at petrol kiosk, where "manual car wash" is promoted.

Back to restaurants, recommendations of dishes that are cooked based on recipes that have been passed down for generations are the order of the day.

And who knows, an old-fashioned restaurant in the suburbs might just be the next in-thing.

Likewise, black-and-white photos are a celebration of art in the eyes of shutterbugs.  And those who don traditional Chinese gowns during the Lunar New Year are sure to turn some heads.

So seize the moment and live today to the fullest.  Only then will you enjoy the way down memory lane later."

Memories of Taste

Another open-aired hawker stalls near the Ellenborough Market & Hawker Centre

The former Ellenborough Market & Hawker Centre beside the Singapore River 

[Source:  Photos courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore].

The Ellenborough Market and Food Centre in Ellenborough Street was opened on 9 September, 1978.
The centre has 309 stalls, making it one of the biggest in Singapore.  Of these, 235 are market stalls, 72 cooked food stalls and 2 iced water stalls.

Savor the Moment: The Peculiar Connection Between Taste and Memory
By Michael Richardson

"A functional link between the brain region responsible for taste memory and the area responsible for encoding the time and place we experienced the taste had been found, according to neuro scientists.

The findings expose the complexity and richness of the simple sensory experiences that are engraved in our brains and that in most cases we aren't even aware of.  The study can also help explain behavioral results and the difficulty in producing memories".

It is no wonder that when the whiff of our favorite food and the aromatic smell of the cooking filled the air, saliva drops uncontrollably from our mouth.  Salivate lah, paiseh!

Can the taste of your favorite food transport you back to childhood?  This informative and interesting article is published by the Society for Neuroscience.

My first taste of satay was blogged here.

Meet Violet, the Chef and owner of National Kitchen .

Born a Singapore Nyonya in 1949, Violet Oon is the grande dame of Singaporean cooking and is widely considered to be an authority on Asian cuisine, specialising in Nyonya food. Her reputation as a chef and food connoisseur spans the international arena and she often represents Singapore as a food ambassador abroad.

Violet began her career in journalism in 1971 as a reporter for music and the arts and in 1974, she became The New Nation’s food critic.

Delicious fare at Ellenborough Market Stalls with Violet Oon

[Source:  Credit of Singapore Monitor, 4 December, 1983]

The 3rd floor of Ellenborough Market houses the best and the brightest in Teochew hawker fare in Singapore.  The market, on Ellenborough Street and fronting New Bridge Road, is opposite Carpenter Street and Hongkong Street.

Also found are Teochew "restaurants" serving the whole gamut of dishes ranging from the famous braised goose to the crab and prawn roll called "hay cho", steamed fish and fried crayfish.

There are about five of these restaurants operating from the hawker stalls and the food is comparable with the best in town and at much lower prices.

Seafood is a Teochew speciality and the stall fridges were packed with pomfret, garoupa, "kekek", and a variety of other fish sometimes totalling 15 types.

It's authenticity you get and beside each table is a small side table on wheels with a charcoal stove below and a kettle of water kept on the boil for the thick bitter Teochew tea made in miniscule earthern pots.

An elderly customer reading the newspapers, drink Chinese tea and wait for the Teochew food.

The two best restaurants are reputedly the older Mong Hing at Stall H-6 and Teochew Restaurant (Huat Kee) at Stall H-12.

No menus are printed in English and if you don't speak Chinese the best thing to do is to watch the dishes passing by and point at the ones you fancy.

Teochew Restaurant (Huat Kee) at Stall No. 12, carries no English sign so look for the neighbour's  which says Kiah Kee.  You can't miss it because of the splendid array of seafood in the fridge and the table in front of it groaning under the weight of crabs, fresh abalone mushrooms, vegetables, crayfish, lobster, mussels, chestnuts, sea cucumber and fish maw (called hee peow).

In other words what you see is what you get and it looks a lively sight.

I was attracted by the food on display and like many of the older customers spent quite a few minutes discussing the selection with owner and cook Mr Tay Khai Kok, 42.

It's Teochew cooking at its best with an emphasis on steaming, quick stir frying over intense heat and a local touch given by Teochew Nonya style dishes like crayfish fried in sambal (excellent at $10).

The seafood is very fresh.  The winner: steamed pomfret ($18 for five people) cooked with preserved limes, salted vegetables, tomatoes and ginger.  Perhaps the resultant soup was a little too sour and saltish.

My other favourite dish is the crab and prawn roll called "hay cho" which is wrapped in bean curd skin.  This had the true home-cooked flavour with just the right proportion of water chestnuts, pork onions and flavouring to enhance the seafood.  A steal at $5 a roll served with local archar and sweet plum sauce.  A good takeaway dish to fry at home for dinner.

Braised goose cut on the diagonal thin strips is a speciality but I found it on the tough side.  I preferred the classic steamed vegetable dish of "soo chye", chestnuts fried with sea cucumber and chicken in a thick brown sauce, and large, juicy red prawns fried with yellow Chinese chives called "pek ker chye".

Though hearty the last two lacked a certain lipsmacking deliciousness beause of the absence of deep fried flat fish called "pee hee" which adds magic to fried peasant dishes.

Fried flat fish called "pee hee"

A pity there were only five of us as we saw some delicious dishes whizzing past us like fried kidneys and softened dried cuttlefish with yellow Chinese chives, fish maw (hee peow) soup, steamed crabs with ginger and chillies and deep fried fish bathed in a sambal sauce.

Except for fish, crab and lobster dishes most of the other are priced between $6 and $8 for small servings and the very substantial meal for five cost $62 for seven dishes.  Service was very friendly and the staff are very helpful with suggestions.

Hours:  7 am to 3 pm daily.
From Friday to Sunday open till 8 pm.

Mong Heng Restaurant Teochew Food at Stall No. 6, offers a delicious Chilli Crab cooked Teochew style by owner Mr Koh Khiang Siah.

There's no tomato flavour and the chilli is given added flavour by "taucheo" (salted brown soya beans).  Only flower crabs which are offered at $14 a large plate for five people.

I really enjoyed the Prawns Fried with yellow Chinese chives called "pek ku chye" in dialect ($8) and chestnuts with sea cucumber and mushrooms in brown sauce ($7) because of the generous addition of pieces of deep fried flat fish called "pee hee".

Mr Koh's touch with seasonings is artful and he's got the strength of the fire just right to bring out the right flavours.  The Steamed Pomfret here is very good ($18 for five people) and the clear soup is delicious.

My final dish for the day was the famous crab and prawn roll of "hay cho" at $3.  Though delicious, it lost out to the version of Huat Kee.

The meal cost $52 for five people and we had enough to feed seven.

Though we did not taste them, the "har loke" prawns and fried wet noodles looked and smell delicious.  Service, though quick, was impersonal and one didn't quite dare ask too many questions about the food before ordering.

Hours:  7 am to 3 pm daily.
High Tea at National Kitchen

Sylvia Toh Paik Choo, Thimbuktu, Violet Oon



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