Oyster omelet in Sinagpore

Oyster omelet in Sinagpore

One of the snacks I had in Singapore was an oyster omelet. It’s an odd snack for some but it comes straight out of the book of low-carb dieters. Don’t want to feel full? Oyster omelet is just the thing for you. While my preference is for the kind I grew up with in Taiwan, basically any variation of this theme is generally good when executed in Asia. I’ve seen this dish twice interpreted twice in a western kitchen on some brunch menu. Both times it was an omelet that Bocuse would be happy about, and then the oysters were fried separately. Folks (all four of you), we all know that’s a fail. It was a delight to try the one in Maxwell Hawker Center in Singapore. You put the oyster in the omelet people, and you cook the living shit out of it. That’s how it’s done.

This one that I got came with some sort of sauce that’s maybe like an XO sauce? Very different than the sauce you get in Taiwan when you order an oyster omelet. No worries though, it was still delicious because this is a dish that’s hard to fuck up unless you care that your chickens were happy when they hatched eggs, and you want to fry your oysters nice and crispy. This was only a few Singapore dollars which is like a 20% discount compared to the USD.

Hawker centers in Singapore offer tremendous value. The other week I was reading this blog post on Eater about what chefs don’t like about diners and one of the complaints was that diners complain too much about value. The basis of those claims was that diners don’t know how expensive the raw food is and other factors that play into the price. So here to explain to all four of you what you should tell restauranteurs should you ever encounter one… (btw, rest of you can stop reading, I’m just ranting from here on out).

Value in a restaurant is purely and simply dictated by the answer to the following question, “Do I feel full?” As a diner, it’s not up to me how a restaurant sources ingredients or where it chooses to pay rent or whether it cares if its employees has paid sick days. This is call abstraction. I go, I eat. You want to open a restaurant and serve food when the customer pays for it? OK! Great, we have a deal.

The problem is that most restaurants (not including fancy pants ones), charge between $25 to 35 per entree. There are other restaurants that buck the one entree = one plate trend by making smaller shareable plates, and then having a douchebag server say “Three to four plates per person should be enough.” Then you can really see where value comes into play.

I would dare say that except those who have good jobs or small stomachs, the rest of us enjoy feeling full after a meal out at a restaurant. To feel full, that might cost $25 or $50 or $100 per person. Obviously the more you spend, the lesser the value for many people. It’s only for those without a budget or dining on a special occasion that dining becomes purely an experience. For the 90% percentile and below, dining for us is about satisfying the period of caloric consumption called lunch or dinner.

As an added bonus, if I wanted to give you the ‘fair and balanced’ spinorama on flipping it back to cooks who complain about diners who complain, it’s done like this: It is callous to flippantly disregard the concerns of normal, everyday individuals who spend their hard earned dollars to enjoy a good meal. But these restaurants design the menu and prices to only work for the privileged. To say to an everyman that spending $30 on an entree doesn’t guarantee being full is a slap in the face of good ole American values. To channel that classic Paul Cole song, where have all the value restaurants gone? (Hint: they are all in Asia!)

Posted by Danny on September 3, 2013 at 7:26 pm

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