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England, expat life, humour, shiok food, Singapore

And my life is complete

There’s always something – an invisible thread – that ties an expat to the motherland. This bond often manifests itself in food.

IMG_7364In West Africa, I was tortured by cravings for Heinz Baked Beans. This affliction spread like a contagion around the Brit community, so much so, that one friend who often traveled to Nigeria would smuggle back a suitcase laden with green tins to appease our hunger.

Now that I can buy baked beans – the English recipe, no less! – in every supermarket, I’ve lost the pang. Now, I’m beset with a longing for proper fish ‘n chips.

Sadly, you can’t get a haddock, chips and mushy peas in a tin. But, happily, the owner of the Wok Inn hawker stall in Toa Payoh has even more experience of fish ‘n chips than I do – Singaporean Michael Molina spent 40+ years living in London where he worked for a time in a chippie.

He even speaks with a charming East London accent, innit.

The food isn’t quite authentic – no cod, lah – and there aren’t enough chips. There should always be an unnecessary amount of chips, more chips than a sane person could ever hope to eat, enough chips to get drunk on vinegar. But there is coleslaw, an innovation I approve.

So I’ll be a regular to Michael’s Wok Inn – and the existence of his stall adds to my conviction that there is absolutely no reason to leave Toa Payoh. All the world is here.

***
How to find the Wok Inn:

Address: Blk 21, Toa Payoh Lor 7

It’s a bit of a walk from the Toa Payoh MRT station but doable. Or there’s a handy car park right next to the hawker centre.

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About jofurniss

I'm a writer, living on the 31st floor in Singapore.

Discussion

11 thoughts on “And my life is complete

  1. I’m a long-term (15 years) American expat living in South Korea, and can totally appreciate how food keeps you connected to the home country. I love Korean foods, but there are some American staples I can’t do without. Little things like peanut butter and jam sandwiches, Buffalo wings with Blue Cheese dressing, coffee at 7 a.m. (not 4 pm over a mound of cake). Like you, I don’t even eat them all the time – I suppose I may have lost the “pang”, as you put it – but I need to have them around.

    Posted by Bosmosis | September 26, 2013, 3:14 pm
    • Nice to hear from you over there in S Korea! The funny thing is that after just six months in Singapore I’m getting hardened to the Brit stuff and find it easy to resist – only this morning I walked away from Ambrosia Cream Custard… I would have snapped that up in Switzerland and, in Cameroon, bought the whole shelf-full just in case it never appeared again :)

      Posted by jofurniss | September 26, 2013, 5:17 pm
  2. Usually, in my experience, this sort of conversation ends in a prolonged argument about the relative merits of English-style vs Australian-style fish and chips. But if you want to skip that part I’d be more than happy ;)

    Son often ends up hitting the fish and chip at the Luna food court East Coast Park, and hasn’t complained yet. They put a little serve of baked beans on the side.

    Posted by B | September 25, 2013, 4:24 pm
  3. I know Switzerland is not the motherland, but do you ever miss anything from here? A proper fondue or raclette perhaps?

    Posted by Rose | September 25, 2013, 2:09 pm
  4. Does he have proper brown sauce, or just soft southern ketchup?

    Posted by The Husband | September 25, 2013, 11:53 am
  5. Did he used to be in the basement of Far East plaza? I Remember there used to be a British chip shop there, but not been in ages…..

    Posted by Expat Dad SG | September 25, 2013, 11:24 am

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