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