Just one of the many delicious dishes I’ve had the chance to enjoy since moving to Singapore. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Letting stereotypes pushed on you by the media influence the way you behave towards certain people is ridiculous and it could cost you some mighty good meals too!
If you’re not familiar with this dish it’s a flat bread that can come with a few types of fillings. The ones I’ve seen are cheese, cheese and egg, and even sardine I think. It’s similar to murtabak, and sort of reminds me of eating American pizza crust.
A few weeks ago I posted an article about some Muslim food we’d tried. It was called Chicken Murtabak and it was pretty good. It took me almost a year to get up the courage to try out Muslim food. I think it was mostly because of paranoid fear over being poisoned or having my food spit on by Muslims because of where I’m from. Not to mention I spent some time in Iraq. Ya, sounds kinda silly and stupid right? But, for years the US media has been pushing it down our throats that all Arabs/Muslims could potentially be dangerous, and I spent a long time in Iraq and Kuwait, worrying about whether a guy was going to say hello or blow himself (and me) up at any moment. So, maybe the fear wasn’t so unfounded after all, but then again most people here ask me where I’m from. They don’t seem to recognize the accent.
Anyhow, we enjoyed the murtabak and had decided we would go back for more, but we put it off because it messed up our stomachs a bit. Tonight we finally decided to eat there again. The stuff tasted so good we were willing to risk stomach problems! Plus, we think it was the curry that’s served with the dish that caused the problem, so we were careful about how much of it we ate this time around.
As we walked up to the “Indian Muslim” stall, the guy behind the counter had an amused look on his face. Maybe there aren’t too many white guys that order Muslim food in this area? Well, that probably goes without saying. Anyhow, we got another order of murtabak, mutton this time, and a cheese roti prata. I also went to the next stall called “Muslim Food” and got an order of chicken rice. It had another name in front of that, but I can’t remember what it was. So, we had a pretty good spread of food between the two of us.
The mutton murtabak was good, but my wife says she likes the chicken version better. The cheese roti prata was fantastic. I’m going to get more of those tomorrow at lunch time. They remind me of cheese sticks from the US, or like a slice of New York cheese pizza without tomato sauce. It’s not that big, but they’re only 1.50 apiece so it’s not too bad a deal. Plus, I think I can get them cheaper around the corner from there. As for the muslim version of chicken rice, it was surprisingly good. It tasted as if it had been grilled over a real fire, which is a plus for me. I love grilled food! It also had a nice sauce poured over it. The rice was seasoned with garlic, which I enjoyed. Plain rice usually doesn’t do it for me. There was also a cup of a clear broth. That’s typical with meals purchased from hawkers here in Singapore. I wasn’t expecting much from it. Usually it’s just a chicken broth. Again, I was surprised. It had been seasoned with onion and garlic and tasted great!
It’s hard to get over cultural stereotypes, but in this case it was a good thing I did because I’d have missed out on a lot of good food.