Eat Stingray at Chomp Chomp

Eat Stingray at Chomp Chomp

Dear Blog,

It’s been too long! My bad for neglecting you for the better part of a month. You know how it goes, you get a homework assignment that only proves how ordinary and sub-par you might be, and poof, two weeks of free time disappears. During that time, I got really reacquainted with two of my old friends, self-doubt and loathing. They were feeling a bit alone, but it turns out they get better with age. Let’s talk more about food from vacation because it was a happier time. Seriously though, any time you get to eat sting ray in Singapore, it’s a good look.

For out last meal in Singapore, we decided to visit a hawker center that was kind of far away from the center of the city. In fact to get there, you pretty much have to take a cab for twenty minutes or so. But Chomp Chomp came highly recommended. It looked kind of like other hawker centers such as Maxwell Hawker Center, home of Tian Tian Chicken rice, or Tekka Centre. The only difference was that the crowd seemed younger. Whereas day time customers at the other hawker centers seemed to either be working folks on lunch or tourists, Chomp Chomp seemed to have a younger clientele.

We tried the popiah because I had no fucking idea what the hell popiah was. Apparently Wikipedia says popiah is eaten in Taiwan too, but I really don’t remember it. Basically it’s like a thin crepe-like (but thinner than crepe) wrapper, and in it goes some vegetables. It offers some elements of crunch like bean sprouts but mostly it just seemed like a vegetarian wrap. Trying for the sake of trying is a valid strategy while on vacation, so I thought it was OK. Wouldn’t seek this out though.

The carrot cake can be confusing to some English speakers, but actually wikipedia calls this dish, Chai tow kway or char kway. Carrot in this case actually refers to radish, more specifically daikon. In Mandarin, (I think) a carrot and a daikon are both radishes, but they’re differentiated by color of red or white. It’s just that in English, the word for carrot is so specific and the name of the dish is already set in stone. It’s really just stir fried radish. This dish comes in black and white forms, indicating whether there’s sweet molasses added. I read on a blog somewhere that many hawker stands in Singapore that serve carrot cake specialize in the white OR the black one, but very few are good at both. We had the white one, which was just OK. It made me think perhaps they were better at the black version…

Kway tiao is also a popular dish in many hawker centers in Singapore. We waited til the last meal to try it because there’s just too many damn good things to eat in Singapore. A couple of different hawker stands in Chomp Chomp had this, but by far the most popular dish amongst all the stalls there is BBQ Stingray.

The theme of the dinner at Chomp Chomp was probably misnomers of these dishes. BBQ Stingray isn’t actually fish that’s cooked slowly over wood like American BBQ or like any other barbecue you might be familiar with (Korean, Brazil, or others). It’s just string ray with some tasty sauce on top. The sauce reminds me of sa-cha-jian. Or as sacha sauce. When I was growing up in Taiwan, if we grilled/bbq meat, very often it would have that sa-cha-jian on it, so in a way that sauce is a “bbq sauce.” Anyway, this dish was super duper awesome. A tad on the spicy side, this was fun to eat since you scrape the flesh off of some parts of the stingray and the sauce is super good. Probably half of the stalls at Chomp Chomp sell BBQ Stringray and they all sell it at the same price. They probably all have a variation on their own sauce, and that’s how people pick their favorites. But you probably can’t go wrong with any unless you’re a connoisseur of the sauces on stingray.

Singapore eats on a whole was more exciting than in Hong Kong. I base this opinion on mostly no reason except it seemed like there was more variety on the low-cost end of the spectrum. And the availability of all the varieties seem to be higher than in Hong Kong. Now I’m going to spend two to four weeks on Taipei food posts. Get ready to be bored out of your mind!!!

Posted by Danny on September 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm

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