We’re not afraid.
Downtown Singapore is, let’s face it, like almost any other cosmopolitan city (with exceptions, of course). It’s modern, it’s clean, and it’s easy to navigate. But head out of downtown, and it gets decidedly more provincial, with open-air restaurants with plastic chairs, fewer English speakers, and—we hoped—more authentic food. Driving north out of downtown, my mom had spotted The Roti Prata House and was dying to try it. So dad did some city bus research, and mom and I set off on the bus—in a direction opposite every other trip from home we’ve ever taken—and traveled half an hour to sample the roti prata.
Roti prata is another of those “top 10″ Singaporean foods—a flat bread (“roti” means bread and “prata” means flat) quite like a crepe. And just like a crepe, savory foods can be wrapped up in them or they can be eaten plain with sugar. Curry is their best friend. We got the chicken murtabak, which is a large prata with chicken, carrots, onion, and spices stuffed inside (bottom of the photo below). It’s served with a bowl of pale curry sauce (top left). The filling was light, with the shredded carrot giving it a sweetness, and the curry was nice and spicy. We also got the mutton briyani (middle and right), which was excellent. The curry it was in was my favorite—I pretty much scooped some in every bite.
A glance into the back of the restaurant revealed a small cart with an “Indian Rojak” sign. Rojak is another Singaporean staple—it’s a salad—but this? This was not normal rojak. We asked our sweet waiter, who was amused by us and our picture-taking and patiently did his best to explain things to us in his limited English, if we could have some. He made it clear that we were to go up and choose it ourselves. Huh? OK, I’ll go.
What we’d thought was fruit from afar turned out to be a whole assortment of fritter-like objects. I finally got him to tell me what they were. There was a whole range, from prawn fritters (top right) to coconut-onion (middle top—YUM), to fish cake (bottom left—I put that one back) to tofu squares (bottom right). I also picked a veggie fritter (top left). I started to walk back to the table with the plate but he stopped me—no, you give it to them and they re-fry the fritters and bring them to us. OK!
In fact they then chopped it up, mixed it all together with raw cukes, green chiles, and onions, and served it with a heated sweet sauce. A mixture of different fried fritters in a salad? That’s my kinda salad. It was really tasty (I didn’t like the sweet sauce, though).
Our only major “miss” in this meal was the drink we saw someone else drinking and decided to try, on a whim. Rose bandung. Um. I did no color correcting to this photo. And it tastes EXACTLY how it looks, only MORE perfumey and nasty.
In all, the meal for the both of us (which probably qualified as a meal for 3 people) cost $14 Sing! That’s probably about $10. We were stuffed full and happy. YUM.