Starchy, sinful pleasure: KF Seetoh's top 3 orh luak picks
Let's get one fact clear: to render a good version of this sinful platter of orh luak - or fried oyster omelette - with all those crispy, gummy and eggy edges with soft starchy textures and juicy oysters buried within, a lot of oil has to be used.
I kid you not, just take a look at how many spatulas of oil are poured over the pan before the ingredients are tossed in and during the frying process.
This Teochew platter of pleasure is a delicious way to pass time.
There are a few versions in the region - the thick frittata style in the Chaoshan region of China, the crispy, thin eggy pancake adaptation in Bangkok and the chunky, crispy fried egg rendition in Singapore and Penang.
I love em' all, provided they are done properly and stick faithfully to that style.
These are my current top three favourites in Singapore.
Hup Kee Fried Oyster Omelette
Stall 73, Newton Hawker Centre
6pm-1am, closed on Wednesdays
These folks go as far back as the original Orchard Road Glutton's Square in the 60s (where Orchard Central now sits).
They use more eggs to coat the starch and leave them on the high fire pan a little longer than most.
The omelette comes out like crispy little egg-coated starched parcels. Then they quick-fry the oysters separately, for their natural juices and flavour, before pouring them over the omelette.
The chilli is sharp and piquant, and I suspect many such hawkers use a similar supplier for it, who knows just what hawkers want in a chilli dip.
Ah Chuan Fried Oyster Omelette
Block 22, Toa Payoh Lorong 7, #01-25
Noon-4pm, closed on Tuesdays
This is the moist version.
Ah Chuan fries the omelette over medium high heat and the starchy batter he uses crisps up at the corner very quickly. And when the eggs are cracked over, he gives it a few flips and flops, then lets it sear.
Just before it's done, he pan-fries a few huge Korean oysters (he showed me the supplier's pack) with a few drops of starch and fish sauce, then quickly flips them over the omelette.
I can sense there is a moreish chicken stock flavour in the starch, which pairs so nicely with the juicy oysters.
Lim's Fried Oyster
166, Jalan Besar, #01-32, Berseh Food Centre
6pm to midnight daily (impromptu days off, call 9386-0732 to check.)
In the basement, in a corner of this rare double-storey food centre is this humble (read: no designer signboard nor kitchen layout) stall.
The style here is a tad more moist than Ah Chuan's, and is also juicy and starchy with crispy bits of eggy goodness.
The omelette does not sit as long on the pan and they sear it just enough. The batter comes out gummy yet chunky and the eggs are not overdone - it's like a moist fried omelette with little chunks of starchy, soft batter.
Strangely, the chilli sauce at all of these stalls feels similar, like a spoonful more lime, sugar or salt was added to the base chilli sauce from the same supplier.
KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like food markets, his own TV shows on cable, publishing food guides, consultancy and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Eggs-traordinary: Testing three salted egg dishes
We sample three unique creations that feature S'pore's flavour du jour
Liusha Burst (deep fried salted egg yolk mochi balls), $15 for three balls
Where: Stateland Cafe
Salted Egg Yolk Content Bursting with goodness
Unlike the usual soft mochi balls, these are crisp and chewy, and when you first slice into it, the salted egg yolk lava oozes out.
The balls were served with cookie butter soft-serve ice cream on top of caramel sauce, crushed cornflakes, and with flecks freeze-dried strawberry sprinkled over.
TNP PHOTOS: JEREMY LONG
The dish was all about balance - the hot mochi balls contrasted nicely with the coldness of the ice cream, and the saltiness of the egg yolk filling balanced the sweetness of the caramel.
Also, the crispy texture of the mochi balls complemented the smoothness of the ice cream.
All in all, the combination was a slice of heaven in my mouth.
Salted Egg Yolk Ice Cream, $4.70 for a single scoop cone
Where Tom's Palette
Salted Egg Yolk Content Bountiful
I'm not one for experimenting with ice cream flavours. My personal favourite is plain vanilla.
So I was sceptical that salted egg yolk would work as an ice cream flavour.
But all it took was one taste and my preconceived notion was changed.
The ice cream contained real salted egg yolk pieces, which added texture to the smoothness of the ice cream, and the taste was not overpowering.
The balance of salty and sweet was spot on and left me craving for more after I finished the generous scoop.
It's no wonder that this flavour is one of the favourites at this ice cream parlour.
Salted egg yolk durian anyone?
Just kidding, that's a fictitious dish.
But with salted egg yolk being paired with everything now, surely there are some bizarre combinations out there?
While digging around, I found the usual suspects such as salted egg yolk crab and salted egg yolk croissants.
Bags of salted egg yolk chips and salted egg yolk cookies have also been flying off the shelves..
After trawling through countless websites and reading about more than 60 different types of salted egg yolk dishes, here are three quirky ones that caught my eye...
The Egg (salted egg yolk cocktail), $25
Where Operation Dagger
Salted Egg Yolk Content Salt or salted egg?
Of all the dishes I found, this was definitely the most abstract.
I was able to see how the cocktail was made and the entire process - with fire and smoke - was enthralling.
The cocktail was poured into a cup that resembled an eggshell, and it was served in a jar filled with hay and smoked star anise.
When the waitress arrived at my table, it almost looked like I had been presented with a freshly laid egg in a nest.
But aside from all that drama, the drink itself - made of rum, salted egg yolk and vanilla - is an acquired taste, and after the rum kicks in, the aftertaste is more salty than salted egg yolk.
Getting ready for retirement
About the competition
The Get Lean, Get Strong Challenge 2016 is a fitness competition that challenges 10 participants to lose as much weight as they can.
Under the supervision of noted local trainer David Devito, contestants undergo an intensive six-month training regime worth $5,000.
This consists of one-hour classes at least twice a week at Mr Devito's gym, The Fitness Protocol.
Rather than focus solely on cardiovascular exercises such as running, Mr Devito's methods place a strong emphasis on technique. The exercises also feature the use of kettlebells.
Participants will have to watch what they eat and adhere to a strict diet that Mr Devito and his team plan and monitor.
The winning participant will get prizes worth more than $6,000.
There are also prizes for the second- and third-placed contestants and consolation prizes for the other seven contestants.
This is why we can’t have nice things
Unruly crowds and accidents mar Joseph Schooling's victory parade, one caused by the swimmer himself
And this is why we can't have nice things.
When it was announced last week that a victory parade for Singapore's first Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling would be held, some were quick to criticise the move as insensitive to Singaporeans who were still competing in Rio.
As someone commented online: "Why don't they wait for all the Singaporean Olympic athletes to return then do it together? They did not put in any less effort to compete for Singapore.
"Oops, I forgot we are a society that focuses on meritocracy. No medal or glory, no talk."
But did many care? Thousands didn't as they thronged the parade route and pit stops such that crowd control became a problem.
A parent at the Marine Terrace market pit stop recounted: "My kids and I were there and we left angrily. There were many kids standing at the front and the adults were the ones pushing everyone.
"Luckily, I held on to my kids. If not, you would see many kids and people being stepped over!"
And you thought the Pokemon Go crowds were crazy.
Even Schooling couldn't manage more than a mouthful of his beloved fried carrot cake because of the mob.
Did anyone eat his leftover food and maybe have a taste of his DNA?
The parade itself, with the swimmer on an open-top double-decker bus, also caused two road accidents, one of which the Schooling confessed to being responsible for.
He told Mothership.sg: "So I was eating a pear in the bus downstairs. I was trying to make funny faces at this lady with her two kids through the glass and they're freaking out. They're like 'oh my god!'
"So this lady tries to get her kids to wave at me and she has her steering wheel turned towards the bus. So when the bus starts moving, she gasses it and her car goes straight into our bus and rams, T-bones our bus.
"And I was like 'oh my god!' That just happened. I just caused an accident."
(For those unfamiliar with the University of Texas student's Americanisms, "gassing it" means stepping on the accelerator and "T-bone" in this case doesn't mean the steak but a vehicle colliding with another at a right angle.)
Someone even questioned the wisdom of putting Schooling on top of an open-top bus: "The weather is so hot lately. Are you guys trying to 'barbecue' him?"
Well, he does look pretty tasty.
And on top of all that, some were unhappy that the parade was on a Thursday: "So kiasu… want public to support but conduct it on week day. Why no authority to ask companies to give half-day leave to line the street to support a historical event. Really shameful!"
And this is why we can't have nice things like a victory parade.
When on Monday, Parliament "moved a motion" to congratulate Schooling, it also had the chance to move a motion to declare Thursday (or any other day) a public holiday to honour him even more.
But it passed the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill instead.
Safe to say, more people would have preferred a Let's Have A National Holiday Because We Just Won Our First Olympic Gold Medal Bill.
There wouldn't be a seven-hour debate over that.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin probably spoiled the market by suggesting a National Schooling Day where "everyone will have to go to school" because he couldn't resist the pun.
And this is why we can't have nice things like an extra public holiday.
We can only envy Fiji, which did declare a public holiday after winning its first Olympic medal by beating Great Britain in the rugby sevens final to get the gold.
That is, if we can find Fiji on the map.
But even though we didn't get a holiday, McDonald's offered six free chicken McNuggets to the first 50 customers at all its outlets (excluding iFly, Resorts World Sentosa, Lido, Gardens by The Bay and institutional stores) on Monday from 11am.
Why free McNuggets, you ask, and not, say, a free Fillet-O-Fish? Since, you know, Schooling swims like a fish.
According to McDonald's, it was "to celebrate our hero and golden boy Joseph Schooling, on winning his own golden nugget at Rio".
So now you know why athletes bite their medals when they pose for photographs.
Ummm… because the medals resemble chicken nuggets?
They should start giving out curry sauce with those McMedals.
But McDonald's and other companies that are promoting themselves while congratulating Schooling are not allowed to do this.
The Singapore National Olympic Council told The New Paper: "While we celebrate Joseph's victory, we must also stand guided by the rules and guidelines protecting the assets and marks of the Games.
"Henceforth, we would like to advise commercial entities to comply with these rules and not infringe or exploit the assets for commercial purposes."
And this is why we can't have nice things like free McNuggets.
Perhaps everyone took Schooling a little too literally when he said to the crowd welcoming him home at Changi Airport last Monday: "This is not for me. It is for all of you."
Too bad the International Olympic Council isn't as generous.
But on his part, Schooling has been true to his word, sharing the greatest moment of his life with all Singaporeans on the victory parade and elsewhere last week with a ready and winning smile.
And that's a nice thing we do have.
Guardiola making his mark with City
Like Mourinho, Guardiola's EPL stint is off to a flyer
STOKE CITY 1
(Bojan Krkic 49-pen)
MAN CITY 4
(Sergio Aguero 27-pen, 36, Nolito 86, 90+5)
Two games into his Manchester City reign, Pep Guardiola is already shattering myths.
Cutting it in the wind and rain at the unforgiving surroundings of Stoke City's notorious stadium yesterday, he sent out a strong statement of intent.
With the 4-1 win, Guardiola has quickly set about defying the doubters who believed he could not handle the pressure that comes with vying for the English Premier League title.
Riding their luck one week and rampant the next; continuity has yet to become a staple of City under Guardiola's tenure, but Sergio Aguero is certain to aid the smoothing of that transition.
It has remained business as usual for the Argentinian under his former La Liga nemesis after taking his tally to six goals in three games as Stoke were comfortably seen off.
Anticipation is already building for next month's Manchester Derby as Aguero's duel with his opposite number Zlatan Ibrahimovic is threatening to live up to its increased hype.
Manchester United may boast an evergreen goal magnet in the form of the mercurial Swede but, anything he can do, Aguero is already more than capable of emulating.
The footballing world may marvel at Ibrahimovic's moments of brilliance, but the prospect of a see-saw battle for supremacy ensuing with Aguero threatens to provide a greater sub-plot than the renewal of Guardiola's long-standing feud with Jose Mourinho.
With a goal apiece on the opening weekend followed by a brace each this weekend, there is little separating the pair following near-identical starts to the new campaign.
A Champions League qualifier had allowed Aguero to indulge in some leisurely shooting practice, but it was the Bet365 Stadium which provided him with a moment of redemption.
Successive penalty misses against Steaua Bucharest in midweek had suggested that the Argentinian's prolific powers were finally on the wane following an emphatic run which had seen him record an average of 29 goals across the three previous seasons.
That weight of expectancy has empowered him far more than hindered, as he showed with a two-goal haul yesterday that ensured City remained atop the EPL, just ahead of United.
United continue to attract the attention and fanfare with players who live up to their self-proclaimed status as the glamour club of English football.
Yet it is City who currently have the upper hand with a largely understated need to court the spotlight, with Guardiola's side with an embarrassment of attacking riches.
Kevin de Bruyne's influence shows no signs of lessening as his floated free-kick found the head of Aguero to double the advantage yesterday.
Raheem Sterling may have struggled to banish the inconsistencies of his debut season at the Etihad Stadium, as he regularly fluffed his lines when gifted goalscoring opportunities.
But what the England international lacked in goal scoring finesse, he was able to compensate with in a developed sense of on-field selflessness, notably teeing up Nolito for his second of the game in the final seconds.
That collective harmony is a far cry from the seemingly self-orientated set-up at Old Trafford, which currently sees three heavyweights of European football vying for its limelight.
Individually, Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Paul Pogba are able to excel at the peak of their abilities, but the pressure of them forming a functional and blossoming triumvirate in time for the Sept 10 showdown with City is well and truly on.