In my last post but one, I described how a certain rancid sea freak had robbed me not only of the contents of my stomach, but also of my taste for Asian food. At the time I was understandably worried – there I was in one of the best food cities in the world and all I could think about was western stodge. After putting up some resistance at first, I followed some sound advice and gave in to my criminal urges. Within a few days, I wolfed down a couple of hamburgers, a hot dog, a KFC zinger burger and a few portions of chips. When I came out the other side, my western fixations were mostly satiated, and I fell straight into the claws of a chili crab.
Chili crab is probably the most famous Singaporean dish. For decades it has had both pincers firmly locked on the city, putting the squeeze on tourists and locals alike with its winning formula of chunky crab meat and rich chili sauce. To even contemplate not having one would have been sacrilege. As such, during my final hours in town I headed down to the wonderful Lau Pa Sat hawker centre in the business district to get myself a great big slice of redemption pie.
Like a new jotter in school, it started off neatly enough. I poked and pinched and needled the meat out of the shell like it was precious gold bullion. After a while however, things started to deteriorate. My finger dips into the wash bowl became more infrequent, and (as Sarah had no trouble pointing out) the chili sauce had begun to migrate up my arms and across my face. I was cracking, slurping and biting like a man possessed.