Like misstamchiak, I too, discovered New Udon Thai Food ironically.
I had come with Darren to Golden Mile to dine at Nana Thai. I remember him presenting a few choices including Rochor Thai and Nara Thai, but for some reason, I was never really ever fully convinced by all that. And once we were there, even though we (or at least, I was) were enjoying our dinner, it was quite frankly, difficult to ignore the snaking queues and the good-looking faces participating in the line, and not to mention, the fragrant and inviting aroma of steamboat and skillet.
Very simply, mookata is a Thai variant of barbecue and steamboat with the word, mookata referring to the skillet of pork. The structure is characterized by a grooved convex dome on which the meat is fried, and at the base of the span, a shallow trench for the broth. But more importantly, mookata, like so many other Asian dining customs, is a medium and means of communication and connection.
This evening, I’m joined by Titus whose agreement to go along with me on this was…surprising to say the least. Then again, I don’t think he had any idea what he was in for judging by his surprised expression when we got there – it was after all, his first time here.
And he’s not alone.
For all the events that the state tries to pack into the calendar, Singapore largely remains an unexciting city. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not ungrateful or anything like that…we’ve so many art, music and lifestyle festivals that have undoubtedly livened up the cityscape. But what’s lacking, is the movement from below. The population, either because of one fucking reason or another fucking reason, isn’t becoming more cultured. A select few do, but it’s all but a persona, which can be dropped at any moment. This lack of mass organic movement from the grassroots will always place us behind cities like Paris, London and Tokyo, even if surveys place us ahead of them in terms of standard of living and ease of doing business. But I cannot accept anybody who says that Singapore’s food scene is dull. Sure, Singapore may never get the Michelin guide, but we’re in Asia. While we may have needed the white man to sort our legal systems, rights, governance and the way we treat our women, we’ve never needed them to tell us how good and varied our food scene is. With a bit of effort, you can find all the cuisines of the world right here – authentic ones…and not so authentic ones – without ever traveling overseas.
As for Udon Thai, the whole business of mookata…it gives us an authentic tease of what it’s like in our favorite shopping and eating destination, Bangkok. That, and the really well-spiced meats, keeps Thais and Singaporeans coming back.
I’ll be back.