Toa Payoh Rojak @ Old Airport Road FC
Only in Singapore can we find hawker stalls that are named after a location, but the stalls are not where they're supposed to be! Why is this so? Well, its largely because many popular hawker stalls are legends and have been handed down from generation to generation. They were also largely situated at older hawker centres or coffeeshops which may no longer be in existence or the hawkers may have moved to newer locations. Information about many of these stalls were spread by word of mouth, which does not always have all the other pertinent details beyond location.
The day after I returned from Bali, fellow blogger ieatishootipost and I were on the prowl for food along with his mom and a foodie friend at Old Airport Road Food Centre (temporary location behind the original food centre). One of the items on the To-Eat List was Toa Payoh Rojak. I used to have to wait in line for this rojak but they've since adopted a numbering system. Take a number and wait for your number to be buzzed before placing your order.
Rojak is a fruit and vegetable salad that derives its name from the Malay word "mixture". The typical rojak in Singapore consists of cucumber, pineapple, turnip, bean sprouts, Tau Pok (fried tofu puff) and Yew Char Kway/You Tiao (fried dough fritters ie Chinese Churros). Some hawkers add green mangoes and finely chopped Bunga Siantan (ginger flower). The dressing is made with Hae Koh (shrimp paste), toasted Belacan (fermented shrimp), sugar, chili, and lime juice. The rojak ingredients are cut into bite-sized portions and tossed with the dressing then topped with coarsely chopped roasted peanuts before serving.
I love the fact that Uncle takes the trouble to ensure that the Yew Char Kway and Tau Pok are toasted so well that they're both fragrant and crispy; all ready to receive the sweet, sour, savoury and spicy dressing. The ingredients are tossed quickly. Rojak should be eaten immediately so that you can enjoy the warm and crispy goodness of the dough fritters before the dressing gets fully absorbed. Unfortunately, I think the standard is not as good as before. Its worth a try (just to satisfy your curiosity) but no longer worth the half hour wait. Sorry, Uncle.