Singapore may be a food haven but the rapid development of the Nation has also caused a lost in its heritage & flavours along the way. There are many food enthuiasts of our generation who are also trying hard to bring back these nostalgic flavours which is a legacy our ancestors have left behind.
In Singapore, there are a few BIG companies, like Food Republic & Kopitiam who are consistently on the search to bring together some well-known local delights closer to you and me. Recently, Kopitiam located at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3, Basement 2 have undergone a facelift and reopened in late May. I’ll be introducing to you some lost flavours which I have found, after their reopening.
Minced Meat / Fishball Noodle
Minced Meat / Fishball Noodle is nothing new to many of us, as they are so commonly found. There used to be a store, located at Somerset 313 Food Republic, Level 5 which I used to patronise almost everyday, especially during my pregnancy when I was having specific craving. Their sauce mixture was so good that the flavours linger in my palate and mind till today. Unfortunately, the store was closed down (unknown reasons) in early 2013 and since then, I have no been able to find a similar flavour anyway.
Lately, we visited the newly reopened Kopitiam at Terminal 3 and a smell of black vinegar was lingering in the air. Black vinegar is commonly used in many Chinese cooking and also a taste that my palate found favour with. So we decided to order their minced meat & fish ball noodle. WoW!! A familiar flavour came flashing back when I tried the dry version of the noodle. It tasted almost similar to the lost store of 313 Somerset Food Republic and I am somehow glad despite the fact that it is not totally the same.
Putu Mayam is a popular Tamil/ Malay street food during the 1980s. It consists of mixing rice flour or idiyappam flour with water and/or coconut milk, and pressing the dough through a sieve to make vermicelli-like noodles. They are usually steamed with pandan leaf for the aromatic flavouring. The noodles are served with grated coconut and date palm sugar (as shown below).
Putu Mayam is not commonly found nowadays, probably due to the efforts having to prepare a “freshly made & simple-looking” dish like this. When I saw this dish, I known that I had to order them right away as it was memory of one of my childhood breakfast. When I look behind & in front of me, I realised that the long queue of customers waiting to order the Putu Mayam & Appam (which I am introducing next) are all the 50’s & above. Now, I know that I am not the only person trying to reminisce these childhood flavours.
Appams are bowl-shaped thin pancakes made from fermented rice flour. They derive their shape from the small Appachatti in which they are cooked. They are fairly neutral in taste and mostly served with palm sugar and grated coconuts. It had been at least 2 decades since I last tried them. In the past, there was only the original flavour; but now, there are many options of ingredients you can add into the appam, such as butter, eggs, etc.
After tasting these dishes, I feel like I have been transported back to my childhood days. When I see my daughter trying to dip as much palm sugar onto her piece of appam, it was like seeing a reflection of myself as a child. Time flies by so quickly and as I discover further, I hope that someday I’ll leave a legacy that will be handed down for generations.
What do you think? Leave your comments below.