A meal at an ‘Authentic’ Singaporean restaurant

So what exactly is the point of this so-called travel blog? Part journal, part photo album and part I-want-to-share-everything-with-you-and-show-you-the-world-through-my-eyes thing. And I always roll my eyes when people talk about ‘authentic’ restaurants because it sounds so cliche, but I can’t stop myself from doing it. So I put the ‘authentic’ in quotes to sort of parody myself.

Anyway… My last post was about my experience with chicken feet 😀 (I know, fascinating). So today, let’s keep talking about food and go to this restaurant called Swee Kee Fish-Head Noodle House.

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Swee Kee Fish-Head Noodle House

Iris, the Singaporean friend I met while studying in Domus Academy (in 2013, in Milan), and I had been planning to meet ever since I came here to Singapore a few months ago. I told her I would prefer ‘local food’ over coffee, and she promised to take me somewhere interesting. Did she deliver? Read on to find out!! Dun dun dunnnn…

When I first heard I’ve to come to this city, I was super-looking forward to get to eat insects and worms and weird animals!!! When I got here, though. I was sorely disappointed. The most exotic things I’ve seen are chicken feet, and frogs (which I’d already eaten way back in 2013). Am I not looking hard enough?

In any case, even if I did find remotely intriguing places, my family flat-out refused to go because, you know, why experiment when we already know what’s good? Sigh…

So when Iris told me to meet her at Telok Ayer station because she was going to take me to one of her favourite little restaurants (very authentic, she promised), I was suitably excited.

A short walk from the station later, we were at Swee Kee Fish-Head Noodle House.

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Say hi to Iris! (and that’s the restaurant behind her)

Swee Kee Fish-Head Noodle House has been open for 70 years and they’ve left the decor as is ever since it opened. Iris said it looked the same when here parents started coming here decades ago. Now that’s the kind of place I like!

While Iris was placing the order, I gorged nibbled on fried bits of pork skin (very healthy, as you can imagine) and some pickled vegetables. The pickled vegetables thing is of Malay origin and it’s called Achar. (But… Isn’t achar…? Yeah, I know. Same name)

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Fried pork skin

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Malaysian achar

The main course was sliced fish soup, chicken in shrimp paste and beans prouts with (wait for it) FISH ORGANS!! Yeah, I learned something new. Insects etc are more the forte of the neighboring countries. Just my luck. Singapore is more about organs).

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Fishy fishy souuuuppp

The sliced fish soup with noodles was smooth and flavourful. It was definitely different from any other soup I’ve had elsewhere (but obviously similar to other seafood soups I’ve had here in Singapore). I think I read somewhere that they simmer the broth for over 24 hours to get it as silky and yummy as that! And, yes, I’m a Bengali and I should love fish, but I don’t and I’m not sorry but I really don’t (I get agitated about this sometimes, all my life I’ve been called a fraud bong and people cannot stop pointing out to me that as a Bengali I MUST LOVE FISH, but I don’t, so what do I do???)!! And it was still nice!

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Bean sprouts with fish organs

I’ve noticed this about Singaporeans… They’re very health conscious. People are always running, cycling, roller blading, swimming etc etc etc. All the time. All the time. So it’s only expected that they eat light dinners, right? What you see above looks like noodles, no? They feel satisfactorily like noodles too. But they’re not. Those are bean sprouts. And there are protein rich chunks of fish organs hidden within those strands. Yes, it was delicious.

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Fried chicken with shrimp paste

I was feeling very smug and happy about my healthy meal up until this marvelous creation was placed in front of me. Fried chicken with shrimp paste. KFC with shrimp paste, aka, KFC but better. Yum.

Did this make you want to visit Singapore a little bit more than you already did? 🙂

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