Mr. and Mrs. Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata (Singapore): Gold-Standard Prata

Mr. and Mrs. Mohgan's Suoer Crispy Roti PrataRoti prata is one of those staples of Singapore eating — this fried Indian bread paired with curry is so beloved as a breakfast or late-night supper dish that Singaporeans often love expressing strong opinions on which they think is the best in the country.

Recently, I’d been hearing about a tiny Indian stall a little hike from the beaten path that various food experts have waxed lyrical about, some even declaring it’s one of the best. What apparently makes this version special, I’d heard, is how crispy it is.

Well, if you’ve been reading this blog at all, you’ll know my massive love for all sorts of crispy foods. So as soon as I could persuade my mother, we hopped in her car and were on our way to Mr. and Mrs. Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata …

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Mei Wei Economic Bee Hoon (Singapore): Fried Chicken Surprise

IMG_6545Just after dawn on a weekday, my mother and I make a short trek to Joo Chiat, one of the sweet pockets of Singapore‘s laidback East Coast where you’ll still find pre-war townhouse-packed narrow lanes that feel like 1970s Singapore.

A dusty little corner kopitiam (coffeeshop) beckons — Poh Ho Restaurant, which we’d visited once for excellent plates of wanton noodles. When we left then, I had vowed to return — from what we could see, the handful of other stores there held much promise. One Indian hawker, for example, is constantly mentioned as one of the best makers of roti prata in the country.

Unfortunately, we had chosen to make the journey on one of the few mornings each month that the prata guys are off. Our disappointment was brief, however. A queue snaked around the front of the kopitiam, framing it like a necklace.

Singaporeans like queues — in a country filled with thousands of superb eating options, there’s no need to line up for good food. So if there is a line, something terribly good must exist at the front of it. Well, we immediately got in line …

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Hock Thye Noodle House (Singapore): Old-School Wanton Mee

Wanton MeeI am the biggest wanton mee fan.

This simple dish of nicely al dente  yellow noodles tossed in a slightly spicy gravy usually comprising some combination of light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and more, then topped with thinly sliced roast pork and served with a side of wantons (or wontons, to the rest of the world) — now, this is my true Singaporean comfort food.

I may wax lyrical about my country’s Southeast Asian fried chicken and Hokkien prawn mee, but when it comes down to it, wanton mee is the dish I turn to the most. It’s quick, satisfying and ubiquitous — and in my decades of putting away plates of this stuff all over the country, I’ve found that it’s impossible to find a bad version. Sure, some are better than others, but wanton mee, I’d say, is pretty hard to screw up.

My dear friend Willin knows my obsession with wanton mee — and, I trust his food opinions greatly. (The man cooks for a living, after all.) So when he told me the other day of a little dusty coffeeshop in Singapore‘s old-school Joo Chiat neighborhood where he’d recently stumbled upon a good plate, I knew I had to head over …

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