Having cai png (economical rice—but it’s not exactly cheap, actually) for lunch has become a staple for most working adults in Singapore and Malaysia: with only less than one hour of lunchtime, and thirty minutes comprising the walk and queue to the food stall, it’s absolutely imperative that we get our food fast and filling. It is almost like an oriental fast-food.
When you go to any cai png stall, don’t you realize the dishes are often the same? In fact, even we order the same dishes over and over again without getting sick of them. Here are the top six dishes that we definitely choose!
Sweet and sour pork
The best ones are those that are still crispy on the surface. But since they have been there for hours, you should be satisfied that there are still some left.
Read after me: kang(1) kong(1). Still can’t pronounce it? Well, just point to one of the vegetable dishes that looks spicy. That is kang kong, and who the heck in Singapore and Malaysian doesn’t like spicy food?
There are two versions, so make sure you know what you’re getting as you point at the yellow pool. There’s one with pork in it and another with mere egg. The one with pork is priced at a “meat” price while the one with only egg is at a “veg” price.
Kung Pao chicken
It’s chicken cubes fried with dried chilli and spices that can be bought in NTUC. The worst part about choosing this is that sometimes, you get more dried chilli than the chicken. Once, I even counted the number of cubes I have.
Potato cubes with sliced hotdog
Sounds western? Nope; top it up with sweet and sour sauce and it will taste Chinese. Just don’t order this with sweet and sour pork; they usually use the same sauces.
Vegetables in curry. Old boys like me still take meat more than vegetables, and it’s the curry that makes me choose this. A nice trick to make us go healthy…until we take more curry than vegetables.
To get the best taste, get the person to “浇curry汁先”. Now you know why at the end of the day, the curry chicken are left but the gravy is all gone. Did I mention that it’s free?