Warong Jawa Nasi Lemak @ Bedok South Market and Food Centre
Sunday is undoubtedly family time for most Singaporeans. It is a day when most of the ordinary folks do their weekly wet-marketing, some with the whole jin gang of 3 generations along (see definition of a Wet Market and Whole Jin Gang in Singlish Dictionary, link provided below). In Singapore, most wet markets or “pasar” as we called them have food centres annexed to them. While the ladies and/or domestic helpers do the shopping, the men and children would be at the cooked food centre side of the complex. Going to the wet market can be a fun or frustrating event, a double edge sword when every member of the family is involved.
Heavy duty wet-marketing days are over for me since my children started employment. Their unconventional working hours meant they have to eat out more often than not. These days, I only shop for food at wet market on an ad hoc basis. I do, however, visit the food centres adjoining these pasar, frequently.
Last Sunday morning, Andrew and I went to Pasar 16 @ Bedok for Hill Street Fried Kway Teow. The stall had just sold out during our last trip there, and this time, they have not started business. We walked around the food centre and Andrew gave me a brief commentary of some stalls he patronises. He mentioned that there were a few good Malay stalls. I was intrigued because there weren’t any good Malay stalls where I lived and I was eager to eat some
mee siam mee soto mee rebus!
We had mee rebus from Warong Jawa. The boiled noodles with potato gravy was a tad too sweet for my liking. Andrew said, “Don’t finish it. We’ll eat something else, later.”
The next two dishes of Prawn Noodles (pics shown above above) and Fried Carrot Cake (pics below) were undistinguished. The hot tea I had was also mediocre. The food wasn’t run-of-the-mill but they sure weren’t spectacular. The broth of the prawn noodle soup had plenty of crustacean flavour and needless to say, msg. The fried carrot cake was too mushy for my taste. We had quite a lot of leftovers. In between meals, Andrew would disappear and then finally returning with bags of food each time.
Sam and Vanessa polished off both the black and white fried carrot cake – compliments from Andrew. Tummy filled, they did not bother with the other package which sat on the table, left untouched even by Ryan and Valerie when they woke up. None of us knew what was wrapped in that brown paper. The children did ask, “What’s that?” But none of them opened it. I’m guessing it was the not so exciting mee rebus. “I don’t know, could be mee rebus.” That didn’t titillate their tastebuds. I kept the unexposed in the fridge.
The next day, as I opened the unknown package, I was pleasantly surprised to
see smell the content. Yes, even though it has been chilled overnight, the coconutty fragrance of the aromatic nasi permeated the air. I got excited this time and hoped that it would taste as good as it smelled and looked. The vibrant red from the sambal tumis was a sight to behold. The fried ikan kuning (fish), chicken wing and ikan bilis (anchovies) still possessed a crispy golden brown complexion that was unwilted by the cold. I shifted the contents into a bowl carefully, so as not to excoriate its physiognomy. I needed to take a photo of it for this post 😉
Nasi lemak can be eaten piping hot or even at room temperature. I decided mine would be lukewarm, as long as the sambal was feverish; so I kept vigil in front of the microwave.
When Andrew said that he liked Warong Jawa’s Nasi Lemak, I had no idea it was THAT good! The warmed through rice was soft yet did not clump together. The savoury chicken wing, ikan kuning and ikan bilis did not go limp albeit I heated them in the microwave (normally they would become soggy). There was a paper thin omelet and a slice of cucumber, both negligible. But the sambal, heavens! Simultaneously sweet and savoury with multiple spices teasing the tongue, ending on high notes. For me, a good nasi lemak is made up of 3 components, the rice (fluffy, tender, rich in coconut milk), ikan bilis (crunch and colour) and the sambal (not too sweet but must be sweet enough, confusing? The sweetness should be from loads of onions/shallots and not entirely from sugar). While Warong Jawa’s mee rebus did not create any waves for me, their nasi lemak was an outstanding umami combination of the 3 components I listed above. Step aside **Changi Village!
Seriously, the nasi lemak was so darn good, I told Andrew I wanted to blog it. He was kind enough to drive to the food centre to find out the address and take pictures of those I did not cover. Thank you for everything! 😀
Bedok South Market and Food Centre (Various Stalls)
Address: Block 16, Bedok South Road.
Happy eating and bonding 🙂
The term *whole jin gang is ***Singlish and thus I must enlighten readers here 😉
“whole jin gang, the /jin, dʒɪn/ n. or pron. [origin uncertain, poss. < engine gang a gang of people working on an engine; or chain-gang a gang or number of convicts chained together while at work, etc., to prevent escape]. The whole group, everyone.” Simply put, it means the “whole group, everyone” and in this post’s context, all the family members.
**Changi Village has been touted (and very much overrated to me) to have the best nasi lemak stalls.
***Singlish is a unique language widely used in Singapore, of course! You can get a taste of Singlish by browsing the Singlish dictionary here: http://www.singlishdictionary.com