So… I’m studying, now. Yes, after months and months of what must seem like empty talk to my friends has finally happened! There’s a sophisticated simplicity in academia that’s strangely comforting and understandably empowering. With an education that has largely been influenced by everyone else besides me, I feel a certain invigoration in this, a fresh burst of enthusiasm and excitement that I’ve never felt before. The only other time I was this determined to learn something was canoe polo really. I really did truly and honestly gave that sport my utmost. In spite of all the difficulties I faced – and I’ll tell you, there were challenges – while picking up the sport, I loved every second of it, even the shit bits. As Batman Begins’ Ra’s Al Ghul once honorably put it, “Your training is nothing. [Your] will is everything. If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely”.
I might not know exactly what I want to do with my new skills upon graduation, but every day, every hour, every second, I get a clearer picture of what I want to do with my life. It’s certainly an intensive drill. Every week, you learn something new and at the end of the week, you’re assessed, not so much for facts (because anyone would fail), but for understanding and application. Today was an unusual one, so it gave me an unexpected earlier day off – so early in fact, that I was at a loss at what I was to do. I don’t know about you, but I’m a really boring person. If I’m not working on my freelance projects or studying, I’m eating and working out. I’m not even fussing about dates and relationships. It’s not that I don’t care, but my previous relationship set the bar pretty high. And having experienced a love that was nearly unconditional, I feel like I don’t ever need to fit into someone else’s mould, ever.
Anyways, bored and a tad restless, and after being enticed by a mouth-watering image on my course mate Weilin’s Instagram, she, along with Flora, another course mate and I decided we’d have it for what was appearing to be a late lunch. The Instagram image, as is common among Instagram accounts in Singapore, is a picture of food. But it wasn’t just any dish. It lacked the finesse and precision of fine dine cuisine, but its earnest, down-to-earth presentation alluded to a hearty and comforting embrace that few dishes on the planet ever achieve. Most surprisingly, it wasn’t even Singaporean.
Located one city block north of Lavender station, at Kitchener Complex sandwiched between a multi-storey carpark and an NTUC Fairprice supermarket, is a clean, brightly lit coffee shop. One of the stalls here, besides from a potentially interesting Japanese ramen stall, and a wanton mee stall which has been graced by many local food variety television programmes and other local food awards, is the kitschy named Pot Shop Boys. Pot Shop Boys sells only one dish (well, not anymore, since it now also sells Bak Kut Teh). It’s a street dish from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Claypot Mice Tail Noodles. That’s Mee Tai Mak or Lao Shu Mian to the locals. So named because of the characteristic noodles which look like the tails of mice, and not because there’s actual mice in the dish. It’s a little morbid, but oh well, tradition is tradition. The noodles are cooked in a claypot where a soy sauce combination of minced pork, pork liver, pork balls, prawns and lard are braised together. To add to the richness, a raw egg is cracked atop this concoction which is so rich in juices and lard-laden that it cooks it almost instantly. It’s so sinful, it’s good. The temptation doesn’t stop there. The sweet spiciness of the added sambal chili is the maple syrup to this Claypot Noodles’ pancakes.
Quite an unexpected find, but definitely worth a check out.