Saturday, July 19, 2008

Onboard Expedition 'H': From Coconuts to Kaya!

This afternoon, I went onboard my first Expedition 'H' trail. Realising that it could be Journeys Pte Ltd that are in charge of guiding most of the trails, I decided to choose the trail that would take me to a place where I have not been onboard with Journeys Pte Ltd.

I was right, except for Trail 5, all the other trails are done by Journeys Pte Ltd. Since I have never attended any tours by Journey Pte Ltd that takes me to Katong, the choice was clearly the trail From Coconuts to Kaya!: A Cultural and Culinary Adventure of Katong™. In some way, it goes to show how I have enjoyed the tours by Journeys Pte Ltd so much that I have already been to almost all of its existing tours.

Our first stop was the Eurasian Community House at 139 Ceylon Rd. It was my first time stepping into the Eurasian Community House, and I was delighted to know that it houses a museum. Here we had the chance to sample some delightful and interesting Eurasian food at the Quentin's. I like the sugee cake especially. Yummy and nutty. Other than these, we also tried Curry's Devil and learnt about the story behind the dish. The chef also shared some interesting personal anecdotes with us while we were dining at Quentin's. I am impressed and touched by his passion to keep the art of Eurasian cooking alive. By the way, I learnt that Quentin's offers a Sunday Buffet Brunch at a pretty affordable price. The ambience is rather cosy. Do consider checking it out if you are nearby Ceylon Road.

Inside the museum located at the Eurasian Community House.

After a delightful sampling of Eurasian food, the group then board the coach and headed to the next stop. While we were on the coach, the guide also shared with us the origins of the word Katong. The next stop brought us to Kway Guan Huat at 95 Joo Chiat Rd. This establishment is perhaps best known for its hand-made popiah skin. We were lucky that the establishment gave us a demonstration of the making of the popiah skin. It is certainly an art that needs years to master.

The making popiah skins at Kway Guan Huat.

The making of popiah at Kway Guan Huat. Available from 95 Joo Chiat Rd.

We also were treated to a demonstration of the making of popiah. Afterwhich, everyone in the tour group gets to sample the popiah. Interesting, at Kway Guan Huat, the tasks of making popiah skin and making the popiah ingredients were divided according to gender. The popiah tasted fresh. I intend to bring friends from overseas here if I get the chance.

One of the stops of the trail was Masjid Khalid. I particularly like the part where a personnel from the mosque shared with us about the term halal. Many thanks to the mosque for hosting us and treating us to kuehs and pastries.

The trail also brought us to the 328 Katong Laksa stall at 51/53 East Coast Rd. The best part of this part of the tour was that our group had the privilege to hear directly from the boss of the stall, Ms Nancy Lim, some interesting anecdotes including what makes the 328 Katong Laksa different from other laksa that are sold in the Katong area. At this tour, the group learnt from the boss the meaning behind the name of "328 Katong Laksa". We each sampled the 328 Katong Laksa too.

Sampling 328 Katong Laksa.

At the final stop, Kim Choo Kueh Chang at 109/111 East Coast Road, we learnt more about the art of making dumplings the Peranakan Chinese way. I tasted one of the Kim Choo Kueh Changs. It was good.

The making of Kim Choo Kueh Chang.

This is not simply a tour that only brings people to sample food. It is a tour that helps us better understand the history of Katong and the heritage behind many of the well-known food establishments there. At the end of the tour, it struck me that the people who have built and/or operated the various food establishments on this trail deserve credit for their passion and diligence. It probably takes a lot of passion and diligence to make those delicious food. They are heroes in their own right.

There was a lot more that I have learnt at the trail, but I suppose it is best that one checks these out by joining one of the trails. If not, do check out any of the tours by Journeys Pte Ltd. More information can be found here:


Doreen said...

Now I am missing katong Laksa.....

oceanskies79 said...

Doreen: When is the next time you may come to Singapore?

eastcoastlife said...

Interesting. I have been to all the places you mentioned and tried all their food. :)

I live in katong. haha....