The moveable feast : Where recipes are super and secret...


It was Sir Thomas Raffles, Rudyard Kipling and, best of all, a brilliant lady called Josephine who had me sampling delight after delight at Sing Ma in Patan. Sir Thomas Raffles founded Singapore city in 1819 and in 1887 an elegant hotel and tiffin room to his memory was being advertised by the poet Rudyard Kipling who said, “Feed at Raffles when visiting Singapore”. My hostess Josephine at Sing Ma said, “Singaporean and Malaysian food is a mixture of Indian, Chinese, and Malay food.” “I have been researching Malaysian food for two years and I find the most popular things are Mamak Stalls that are run by Indian Muslims and open from 7pm and go on till 3 or 4 am in the morning.” adds Josephine. Shanta the manager of Sing Ma assisted by Bijay brought on a Roti stuffed with cheese and tomatoes and it was a soft delight that changed taste to spicy when the thin curry was added. Says one food critic ,”In Singapore and Malaysia the bread got larger and larger. As vendors tried to attract the attention of passersby. In Malaysia today it is transformed into a square pastry-shell to enclose everything from tomatoes and cheese to chicken from a chicken curry .”

The Satay or barbecued meat on slivers of wood served with an unusual peanut sauce is typical of Malaysia and Singapore. But at Sing Ma the sauce was unusual and was almost like a Dalcha or stew of split peas, vegetable and ground peanuts, with the accent on the taste of peanuts. A hint of tamarind often adds a sour sweetness. My favourite dish was Nasi Lemark or coconut rice with the coconut lingering until you mixed it with the Rendang curry . “All our recipes are secret,”said Josephine. As I said good bye to Josephine with the taste of Tao Huay a desert made of pure soyabean served with sugar syrup I felt full and balanced and determined to call Sing Ma at 5520004 for more curries and secrets.