06 April 2008

Did You Lose Money Recently?

No, I am not talking about losing money in a casino, the share and property markets or even a bad business deal.

You see, I was at the food court in basement 1 of the Toa Payoh HDB Hub last Friday at about 6.30 pm. For those of you who do not know the existence of this food court, I am sorry but where have you been ah? You are certainly losing (not money but) out on one of the best rojak stalls in Singapore.

(This photo is taken from Tingwo's article on Toa Payoh food hunt)

The stall is called Soon Heng Rojak and it dishes up the wet version of rojak. For the benefit of my foreign friends, there 2 kinds of rojak sold in Singapore:

One is the dry type. It usually has yu char kuay (curlers made from flour and deep-fried till golden brown), tau pok (deep-fried beancurd) and dried cuttlefish. The ingredients are grilled, preferably on an open charcoal fire for that added "burnt" fragrance. However, nowadays an electric grill is often used instead. The ingredients are then cut up with a pair of scissors and then topped with some hae ko (dark, thick prawn paste) and crushed peanuts. The dish is best served hot and crispy.

The other type of rojak is the wet type. For those who have not seen it before, the preparation of this dish is quite interesting to watch. It has many ingredients - mang guang (turnip), tau geh (bean sprout), tau pok, cucumber, pineapple and soaked cuttlefish. The seller has a large clay bowl. He first puts in all the flavourings - sugar, sour plum sauce, hae ko and chilli paste, if preferred. He would mix them all up using a wooden scoop. Then holding a big piece of vegetable in one hand, he would deftly slice it into little pieces. The vegetable slices would all "fly magically" into the earthen bowl. When all the ingredients have been cut up this way, he would then mix them up well using the scoop again. Finally, he would scoop everything up from the bowl and serve it to you or wrap it up if you prefer ta pao (takeaway).

This rojak stall is so good that it has an electronic queueing system, not unlike the one used by HDB just upstairs for flat applicants. It is a necessary investment because queueing time is often half-hour or longer. Not only that, there is a second stall of the same name in the same food court! Now tell me, how often does that happen in Singapore?

Oops, I think I have digressed too much. When I talk about rojak, my ideas also tend to become rojak (all mixed up). What was this article originally about? Oh yes, it was about losing money.

Okay here come the toppings. While I was eating, I noticed some money lying on the floor by the next table where an elderly man was having his dinner. No one else seemed to have noticed the money even after I have finished my meal. Then I walked over, picked up the money and asked the elderly man, "Did you drop some money?" Old man Oh man, he was even more honest than I - his reply was a very firm "no".

So if you are the one who lost the money around the date, time and venue specified above, I would gladly return it to you. However, the condition is that you must describe the money as accurately as possible - the amount, the denomination, how it was packaged, etc. From your description, I will be able to tell if you are the genuine owner. (Hello, this is not a contest hor.)

And if you don't read my blog, then I am sorry to say that you are a real loser (of the money, that is). If there is no claimant after 3 months, I will donate the money to a charity (not NKF, Teen Challenge or Ren Ci).


tigerfish said...

Hahaha.....I did not know there is a dry version and wet version of rojak! I thought rojak is just rojak! Mixed up what!.....heee heee..
Now I know I like the "wet" rojak!heee heee

Anonymous said...

For dry n wet version, come to Bedok South Hawker Center Blk 18; opposite Temasek Junior College. The wet version operates from the kopitiam nearest to the bus-stop, the dry version inside the hawker center.

The dry version seller also has a special sweet sauce to go with "tau pok" only rojak.

All versions priced at $2/- a plate. "Dont say I say", only place get park in HDB Estate foc. People generally friendly and dont complain to wardens.

Anonymous said...

from your description, i guess it is not a lot of money, maybe just a 50-dollar note

i think no need to donate charity, just put it in a red packet and give it to someone whom you think needs it

Victor said...

Tigerfish - The hawkers are very clear in their minds about what they do, i.e. they never mix up the dry rojak, only the wet type. Haha.

Peter - Thanks for that tip. Shall try the 2 stalls that you recommended as I live quite near that area too. Is the wet-type at Bedok South as good as Soon Heng's which is also selling for $2 for a small plate. But I really ought to caution you about the so-called "free" parking. Nowadays, the parking wardens are very "on" one, i.e. they are very enthusiastic about their work. In fact, too enthusiastic. Haven't you noticed? They don't appear only when people complain. Their KPIs (key performance indicators) must be determined by the number of cars they book.

Fr - Wah, I take my hat off to your awesome power of analysis. Hmm... old ginger is definitely more spicy, haha. Yes, it is less than $50. But it is the first time that I have picked up so much money. So far, I have found mostly only 10 cents and 20 cents.

bunbungirl said...

Hi. Your blog, I found an article about Japan
If you are interested in Japan, there is a link to my site please.
Japanese culture (for example, Japanese healty food, animation, games) here.

Lam Chun See said...

I am one of those you mentioned in para. 2. Not even the best rojak can tempt me to go to that horribly crowded place.

Ah .. I miss the Toa Payoh Central of the eighties where we used to go for cheap set lunches at the coffee house. Anoter topic to blog about no doubt.

Victor said...

Bunbungirl - Thanks for your comment. At first, I thought that you made a mistake in your blog address as you appeared to have spelt the word "culture" wrongly. But no, when I cut-and-paste that URL into the address bar, it worked! Anyway, let me insert your link here for ease of reference. Oh BTW, my post on Japanese food was an isolated one. I am actually an omnivore (someone who eats everything, well almost).

Chun See - You don't know what you've been missing by avoiding crowded places. They are where all the best food are sold and where you can do all the fun things.