WBEZ | Singapore http://www.wbez.org/tags/singapore Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Tempest in a chicken pot: Hainanese chicken rice http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/tempest-chicken-pot-hainanese-chicken-rice-106683 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8657825514/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/singaporechickenrice.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Hainanese chicken rice at Yet Con restaurant in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Having eaten nearly every kind of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/chinas-poultry-passion-persists-despite-bird-flu-blues-106432"><u>bird possible in Shanghai</u></a> despite the <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez-worldview/roger-ebert-and-global-film"><u>new bird flu</u></a>, then a half dozen <u><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/thick-and-thin-historic-kaya-toast-singapore-106603">eggs with kaya toast</a></u>, I saved the best for last: Singapore&#39;s national dish, Hainanese chicken rice.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Hainanese chicken rice is a chicken stuffed with garlic, ginger, and scallions then poached whole. The bird is served&nbsp;chopped on the bone with savory white rice. The grains are first sauteed with garlic then cooked in the chicken&#39;s shimmering gold liquid.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; "><div class="image-insert-image ">In Chicagoland you can find similar chicken, listed on <a href="https://www.grubhub.com/chicago/go-4-food/"><u>menus as Princess Chicken</u></a> served with ginger scallion oil, or <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2008/09/hainanese-chicken-rice-singapore-recipe.html"><u>make chicken rice</u></a> yourself.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8656735603/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/singaporechickenwhole.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Hainanese chicken at Yet Con restaurant in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">Yet Con restaurant, open since 1940, is Singapore&#39;s last remaining restaurant to prepare the chicken in the old Hainanese style (resulting in a bird some locals find too intense).</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8656743845/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/singaporechickenblock.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Hainanese chicken at Yet Con restaurant in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">But even Yet Con&#39;s recipe has had to change slightly. Purists say the chicken in chicken rice should be cooked only until the red has barely set in the bones. Since the last bout of bird flu, that&#39;s changed.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8656729371/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/singaporechickenplate.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Hainanese chicken at Yet Con restaurant in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">The pale pairing is a&nbsp;deceptively flavorful dish even without the ginger and &quot;chilli&quot; sauces.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8656750929/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/singaporechickensauces.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Ginger and chilli sauces at Yet Con restaurant in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">Both beer and lime juice are served over ice to battle the year-round heat and humidity.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8657860706/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/singaporechickendrinks.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Tiger beer and lime juice on ice at Yet Con restaurant in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">If you get to Singapore, I highly recommend the chicken rice at Yet Con, but get there fast. The elderly man working the abacus and hand writing checks is the owner and the last in his family line. Who knows, the restaurant may continue beyond him, as seems the trend in Singapore with a number of former white collar professionals preserving heritage cuisine.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">A big thanks to the invaluable <a href="http://ieatishootipost.sg/"><u>Singapore food blog ieatishootipost</u></a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu"><u><em>Follow Louisa Chu on Twitter.</em></u></a></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8656808011/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/singaporechickenabacus.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Abacus and hand written checks at Yet Con restaurant in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 17 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/tempest-chicken-pot-hainanese-chicken-rice-106683 Thick and thin: historic kaya toast in Singapore http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/thick-and-thin-historic-kaya-toast-singapore-106603 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8638908525/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kayakillineybutter.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Kaya toast at original Killiney Kopitiam on Killiney Road in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><p>SINGAPORE &mdash; Greetings from the Republic of Singapore, the Southeast Asian city-state-island country that&#39;s roughly halfway between China and Australia. Though we&#39;re 9,364 miles or so from Chicago, about 21 hours on a plane direct with United, the question of thick or thin crust rages here too. But in this, the Lion City, we&rsquo;re talking about kaya toast, the national breakfast dish that consists of toasted bread spread with kaya then tiled with butter, served with soft-cooked eggs, and coffee.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8638902447/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kayayakunset.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Kaya toast set at original Ya Kun on China Street in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><p>Kaya is a pale green, sweet coconut milk jam infused with pandan leaves which impart color and herbaceous flavor. The eggs, always a pair, may be served in the shell or cracked in a bowl, but seasoned at the table to taste with white pepper and dark soy sauce. The strong black coffee, filtered through a fabric so-called sock, hides a layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom of the cup.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8639911212/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kayayakunbutter.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Kaya toast at original Ya Kun on China Street in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><p>The kaya toast origin story has it that Hainanese Chinese galley hands adapted the foods they served aboard British ships, when they landed in Singapore and neighboring Malaysia, into the <em>kopi tiam</em> culture. <em>Kopi</em> is Malay for coffee, and <em>tiam</em> is Hokkien for shop, a perfect mash-up for this multi-cultural society.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8638923035/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kayakillineyset.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Kaya toast set and French toast at original Killiney Kopitiam on Killiney Road in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p>Traditionally the dense crumb white bread is grilled over charcoal then served already spread and buttered.<p>The original <a href="http://www.killiney-kopitiam.com/" target="_blank"><u>Killiney Kopitiam</u></a> is the oldest coffeeshop in Singapore, established in 1919 originally as Kheng Hoe Heng Coffeeshop. There, they grill thick slices of bread, then stud the kaya with squares of cold butter which soften quickly not only from the warm toast but perpetually tropical heat and humidity. Eggs are served in shell.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8640019106/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kayakillineyeggs.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Server cracks and seasons soft eggs tableside at original Killiney Kopitiam on Killiney Road in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><p>At the original location of <a href="http://www.yakun.com/" target="_blank"><u>Ya Kun</u></a>, they are of the thin crust school of kaya toast, and the butter is laid as wide-planed shavings. They crack the eggs, served in bowls warmed with water.</p><p>To eat, you dip your kaya toast into the eggs, to meld the sweet and savory, soft and crunchy.</p><p>Like many of Singapore&rsquo;s favorite food shops, both Killiney and Ya Kun have multiple locations, usually within futuristic malls super-cooled with &ldquo;air-con&rdquo;. But to get the real heritage flavor so valued here, it&rsquo;s worth braving the intense heat, humidity, and crowds, through thick and thin.</p><p>(A big thanks to the invaluable <u><a href="http://ieatishootipost.sg/" target="_blank">Singapore food blog&nbsp;ieatishootipost</a></u>.)</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu" target="_blank"><u><em>Follow Louisa Chu on Twitter.</em></u></a></p></div><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8640040886/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kayayakundip.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Dipping kaya toast into egg at at original Ya Kun on China Street in Singapore (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p></p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/thick-and-thin-historic-kaya-toast-singapore-106603 Protesters: Pacific trade pact will help export jobs http://www.wbez.org/story/protesters-pacific-trade-pact-will-help-export-jobs-91530 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-05/PTP march.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About 500 activists marched Monday afternoon in downtown Chicago to protest U.S. trade negotiations with some Latin American and Asian nations.<br> <br> The march ended at the Hilton Chicago, where delegations from nine countries on Tuesday will begin their eighth round of talks toward what they’re calling the Trans-Pacific Partnership.<br> <br> President Obama’s administration says U.S. aims in the negotiations are jobs and prosperity for the American people. His team says it’s addressing shortfalls of earlier U.S. pacts, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.<br> <br> That’s not convincing critics. “Thousands of workers here in Chicago and all over the Midwest are out of jobs because of trade agreements like NAFTA,” said Tom Balanoff, president of the Service Employees International Union Illinois Council, at a rally before the march.<br> <br> NAFTA has also “destroyed the livelihoods” of millions of Mexican farmers, Balanoff added. “And what do they tell us in Washington? ‘Let’s keep following those policies.’ ”<br> <br> The protestors say they will deliver 10,000 postcards to negotiators on Tuesday. The cards urge the United States to make sure any deal protects labor rights, the environment and human rights.<br> <br> On Wednesday, AIDS activists are planning to protest proposed treaty provisions that would strengthen pharmaceutical patents. The activists say the patents lock in prices for life-saving medications that poor people can't afford.<br> <br> The Chicago talks are set to run through September 15. Besides the United States, the nations include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.</p></p> Mon, 05 Sep 2011 21:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/protesters-pacific-trade-pact-will-help-export-jobs-91530