Sunday, April 21, 2013

Eating - hawker? food court?

This morning, we had breakfast at hawker center near our old house. Although it was quite far from our house, we still missed that place very much. Other than having a variety of nice food, we missed the ambiance too. It's adjacent to the traditional market, which was quite rare to find in Singapore - replaced with mini and supermarket with full air-conditioner, and near to the fruit stalls (you could find any fruits including my favorite durians... hm...... :D) and other small shops which were usually be found below the HDB flats (government subsided flats). There were many barbers too with variety of prices (unlike the uniformed 10 dollars for 10-minutes cut booth). I loved the environment very much, really Singaporean style.

I love drinking the coffee there. There were many terms that you have to know when you order the coffee in Singapore, especially in hawker center and food court :)

- Kopi : coffee with milk and sugar (my favorite)
- Kopi O : black coffee with sugar
- Kopi O kosong : black coffee without sugar (purely black and bitter)
- Kopi kosong : coffee with milk but no sugar
- Kopi Si : coffee with condensed milk and sugar
- Kopi Siu Tai : coffee with milk but less sugar
- Kopi Gah Tai : coffee with milk and extra sugar
- Kopi Gao : thick coffee with milk
- Kopi Peng : coffee with milk and sugar plus ice

Hohoho...... Same applies with tea... So, you can order te-O, te-Si, te-O kosong, te-si Peng, etc. Interesting right? When I first came to Singapore, I didn't use to with the terms too and need to adapt for some time. The language was mixed with Chinese, Hokkien and Malay.

Chinese New Year Gathering w/ Colleagues at Chinatown Hawker Center - Year 2012
Hawker center is open-air area that sell varieties of inexpensive foods (those with no air-conditioners). Nowadays it is fully equipped with many ceiling fans to ensure there is enough ventilation, especially during hot weather. The food fares are usually cheaper too as the rental of the stall would be slightly cheaper and this is usually found near the public housing area or near bus / MRT station.There are many hawker centers serving a very good food and you can spot delicious food by how long the queue is. The nicer the food is, the longer the queue will be :) It is common to see people drinking bottles of beer too in hawker center, especially at night time. Some hawkers are equipped with big screen TV where people can watch the live football match while enjoying their beers. Very nice ambiance!!!

Food court is indoor food stalls that usually found inside shopping malls, airport, etc. (usually equipped with air-conditioners). The food fares are usually more expensive and some have the company brands in Singapore, such as: Kopitiam, Banquet (serving Halal food), Koufu, Food Junction, Food Republic, etc. Some food court will use card as mode of payment instead of cash, e.g. Kopitiam. So you can purchase the card filled with dollar value in it and you can top the value up anytime when the cash runs low. People will choose to use the card as there is discount of 10% given.

It is common for Singaporean to eat outside and buy their food in these places as the cost of cooking plus time spent for preparation, cooking and washing would be more or less the same. It saves time as after work, people will be very tired and can't wait to rest at home and have a quick meal.

Lucky my mother-in-law cooks during weekdays so I don't have to headache on what to cook or eat after work. Sometimes I will eat out though, usually with friends and family, just to relax, enjoy the ambiance, and have a chit chat, at the same time enjoying the food that we don't usually have at home. Hehe...

We're quite lucky though having hawker center and food court in Singapore. In some other country, they don't have it. They only have restaurant and their food fare is quite expensive even for a normal meal. So, I'm really grateful I can live and stay here in Singapore.

One of typical food stall in Indonesia - this one is in Medan
But if you compare with my home country, Indonesia, that is even much better :D There are lots of food varieties. You can call it food haven!!! Every time me and my friends go back home, we'll sure gain weight when coming back here. Hahaha.... There are many street stalls too serving very delicious food and they open until quite late. You won't be afraid of getting hungry. Even there are many food seller who go around our houses selling fried rice, noodles, bakso (meat ball and beehoon soup), bakwan (kind of fried dumpling), chee cheong fan (rice cake roll), satay, kueh putu, martabak, and so on.

My father didn't like us eating those food that was sold on the street because some ingredients used were not healthy (lots of preservative and sometime you didn't know what they mixed inside the soup - maybe worms?? rat meat?? we'll never know.... :P), and also when you used their bowls and cutlery, you didn't know how clean they washed it, and from where the water was taken from?? What they wiped with the clothes that they used to wipe your bowls? But being Indonesian, we lived how we supposed to live. Hahaha... and our stomach was trained to eat all kind of food in all type of situations :D Most importantly, we could taste any kind of food and it brought us lots of memories..... :)

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