“Too few people understand a really good sandwich”
It was about 2 am and I was wide awake. Since we were staying in a capsule hostel, we each had our own bed. There was no easy way of knowing whether the other person was awake or not. I sent a short text to my wife to see if she was up yet, “I love you! Are you up?”. Success! Three small dots danced on my screen telling me that she was up. I finally had a friend to play with. We decided to meet downstairs in the lobby and agreed to take our chances of exploring early morning Chinatown.
The streets were completely empty except for a few early morning delivery trucks. It had just finished raining but you could feel there was more on the way. As we wandered down the streets, I felt a sense of calm rather than my normal anxiety. We were wandering around a new city with no plans or destination in mind. I was grinning from ear to ear, as we embarked on this new adventure.
It wasn’t long before we started to see signs of life. A long row of cars lined the side of the road and we could hear the banter of friendly conversation in the distance. As we got closer, It was clear that this was not a tourist spot but rather a simple hangout for taxi drivers and locals. A handful of men filled the patio, hunched over devouring what appeared to be delicious bowls of porridge. The patrons barely noticed us as we snuck inside to take a closer look and the menu. We had no idea what to expect but were grateful that I remembered to bring my wallet before leaving the hostel.
Although English is the official language of Singapore, the country is a true melting pot with people from all over the world. As you start to venture outside of the beaten path, you can appreciate this more and more. Dialects and accents are different wherever you go and even though two people could be speaking the same language, there may still be some confusion.
After fumbling our way through ordering a bowl of fish porridge, we sat down to just soak it all in. This was the first of many destinations we planned on exploring this year, so far it was off to a great start.
The food was simple but filling, I think what made it more memorable was the ambiance. As the locals chatted about their night or plans for the day we just listened. Some were preparing to get started while others were just wrapping up.
Kaya Toast | A Staple of Singapore
As I let my eyes wander, I noticed a sign over my shoulder for what looked like a collection of breakfast items, and drinks. I was eager to try something new but nervous on how to order it since we barely survived the last interaction. One of the workers in the stall noticed that I was interested but unsure. He came around the counter and guided me through my order: Kaya toast, eggs, and 2 milk teas since they were out of coffee. I wasn’t sure of what to expect but had high hopes given the photos on the menu.
After a Short Wait…
A small mug of boiling water with 4 raw eggs was brought to our table. We were told to wait for 5 minutes with the plates on top to let the eggs cook. Next, our tea was brought out along with 2 toasted sandwiches. The bread was toasted perfectly, and on the inside was a sweet jam, not overpowering but with hints of coconut. Nestled neatly within each sandwich was a small but think piece of salted butter. Coupled with a soft boiled egg dowsed with dark soy, this dish was amazing. The perfect balance of sweet and savory. Each bite was more delicious than the last until all we were left with was a stack of plates, a few crumbs, and some really sticky fingers.
We wandered back to our hostel shortly after with our bellies full and a memory that will last a lifetime.
It’s because of memories like this that we decided to travel, and we hope that everybody gets a chance to do the same at some point in their life. Let yourself wander and explore. Just remember, your adventures do not need to take you far away. There may be a memorable experience just a few streets over. Keep yourself open to the possibility.
Interested in watching the full Kaya Toast adventure and more? Check out the video below.
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