I don’t miss much of the old Singapore.
A lot of people apparently do, but I’d argue that this recent consciousness is a product of the present day fatigue rather than a genuine sense of nostalgia.
When I think back to the nineties, I see darkness, I see death. I see a sky so black, it’s night though it’s day. I see famine, I see fear, I see cows going crazy and pigs falling over. I see entire cities built for no one, I see heads cut over hatred. I see families in debt, I see hangings, I see notes.
There are some things I miss, though.
I miss my friends, I miss us together. I miss the old satay club adventure. I miss the Coney, I miss eating curly. I miss our old-time Orchard Christmas merry. I miss the old games, I miss our silliness. I miss the innocence.
But it seems like the older I become, the faster things inadvertently slip into history. One of those cast into the pensieve of lost memories, is South Buona Vista Road’s Lee Seng Lee Duck Rice. Even though there was literally, a less nauseating way to get there, I’d remember getting squeamish as my parents drove us up what seemed like an impossibly winding and dizzying track that is South Buona Vista Road to get to this outpost. I suppose it was the whole experience of “traveling” that seemed to make the duck rice taste so heavenly once we’ve arrived. We’d always have our duck rice with lime juice and their mythical sambal kang kong. In any other place, it was a ridiculous combination but at Lee Seng Lee, it made every ounce of sense. The brothers however, decided to play their last performance in July 2013. The whole charade, the long and winding road, and the duck rice at the end of it, came to an end.
That is, until recently when the owner’s brother-in-law attempted to resurrect the legendary stall…in Little India.
The duck, I’m happy to report, is tenderisingly braised and covered with that brown goo of a gravy which oozes hues of aromatic cinnamon. It’s not perfect. In fact, it gets a little salty but let’s face it, the original wasn’t either. The chili is rife with sambal, just how it was. For all the surprising ability to maintain the same flavors, something just wasn’t right.
It’s just sad, really, to see an institution gone, just like that.