Makansutra: Eatz Vadai revives famed Gordon's prawn vadai
Gordon's prawn vadai makes its return
That fluffy, full-bodied Gordon's prawn vadai is back.
This addictive little snack, originally from Sri Lanka and called isso vadai, has been converting makan devotees here since before I can remember.
Gordon Koh initially ran a few pubs in Singapore, where the main lure in the pantry was his Singapore-style prawn vadai. You can imagine this with sips of whiskey.
Then he went off and opened a "retirement pub" in Bangkok at the ripe young age of 75.
Thankfully, his niece Wendy Koh and her makan buddy Edward Chan decided to get that vadai recipe from him and set up Eatz Vadai at Jalan Benaan Kapal Food Centre, a charming little place not far from Stadium MRT station.
The pair now helm this one-snack stall, which suddenly lends more colour and flavour to this favourite taxi driver kopi haunt (where you can still get a cuppa at 50 cents).
Onions and curry leaves are blended into the dough and the aroma and subtle taste comes through.
Gordon was also there "training and fine-tuning the recipe" with the brand new equipment.
While people in Sri Lanka eat their vadai with a sourish yoghurt sambal sauce, the version here is loved with raw green chilli. The correct way to eat it is to bite into the hot prawn vadai and chomp on that crunchy green chilli at the same time.
The result? Utter bliss.
Said Edward: "I felt this dish should not fade into the sunset. It is so easy to like, yet not many (places) are offering this."
So he gave up his former day job as a corporate travel agent and set up Eatz Vadai earlier this month with Wendy.
You can count on one hand just how many hawkers offer prawn vadai in Singapore - or Malaysia for that matter (perhaps two hands and a foot).
If you are comparing, this is a very different version from the other famous Gina's Vadai at Dunman Food Centre, which comes flatter and thinner, with a lighter batter.
Edward's ($1 each) is bold and yet fluffy with more bite, like a good fluffy doughnut.
Three of these will fill you up whereas Gina's will take up to five before your tummy feels the love.
The prawns I like to see used is the swa lor or little soft shelled shrimps, which cost more than Gina's garden variety ones.
But for now, Edward uses baby grey prawns that yield a soft yet crunchy bite.
Swa lor prawns are difficult to obtain and stocks from Malaysia are thinning out this festive season.
To me, the perfect prawn vadai is a mash-up of both versions - something bold yet light and airy, with a clever blend of onions and curry leaves and perhaps a puff of curry powder in the dough using swa lor prawns.
But I am still waiting. Come on folks, it's not rocket science to set up a shop with such a recipe. Folks of all creeds, colours and statuses will love this as a snack.