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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.


About jofurniss

I'm a writer, living by the jungle in Singapore.


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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