After dinner with my Singaporean kaki

Kaki is a Singlish expression (lifted from Teochew) meaning friends/buddies/mates. I got into the habit of using the word in the last couple of years, definitely thanks to otterman, who frequently sprinkles it in his tweets and blog entries.

My Singaporean kaki in London are a ragtag bunch of mostly postgraduate students. I suppose what we have in common, other than Singapore, is the sense of a finite, too-short time we have in this alluring, expensive, extravagant city. We're all in our late 20s or early 30s (okay *cough*mid-30s*cough*), and have taken the time (and money) out for one reason or another to come and study something we couldn't have studied at home: cultural studies, art and politics, architectural conservation, development studies. Also, for various personal and/or professional reasons, we're mostly going home when our study time is up.

So we get together every so often to talk-cock-sing-song-lim-beer, and sometimes this throws up random conversation gems, like:

In the middle of tucking into grilled lamb rib served with rice at a Cantonese restaurant, we were wondering why the restaurant serves it --- very nicely done, by the way --- since lamb/goat doesn't really feature in Cantonese cuisine, to our (five-Singaporeans-and-one-Malaysian's) knowledge anyway. Then one of us recalls in a broken fashion some legend from Guangzhou about five goats coming down from heaven to rescue the city from some crisis or other. Another friend wonders: "So did the people eat the goats after that?"


It turns out Guangzhou has a statue commemorating the legend, so I'm guessing: not so much with the eating, then.

Another mystery that popped up over beer later: where does one get good goreng pisang (deep-fried battered bananas) in Singapore these days? I couldn't even think of one place to get them, though the goat-legend-telling friend mentioned the Lim Kee stall at Maxwell Market.

Funny thing is, I can almost recall the last place I bought them, maybe three or four years ago, it feels like. I remember the oily texture of the battered snack on wax paper in my hands, I remember telling the hawker how many pieces I wanted, maybe some of the battered sweet potato pieces too for the person I was with --- but where the hell was it?

Labels: , ,


At 3/03/2011 8:16 pm , Blogger budak said...

suspect it's less from kaki-lang than the Malay 'kaki-tangan' >> minions on hand

chinese style goreng pisang sucks. fat more starch than sugar confections obscured by heavy batter. any anonymous roadside stall up north (or Geylang Serai) beats it

At 3/03/2011 9:10 pm , Blogger Sivasothi said...

I would think the word 'kaki' it comes from the Malay "kaki-tangan" - and more from its meaning of accomplices rather than minions, ahem.

Commenting here rather than facebook in recognition that you are still blogging, well done! The ephemeral nature of facebook would wash these thoughts away too easily.

At 3/04/2011 5:59 am , Blogger Unknown said...

remembered there was one at bedok bus interchange market, not sure if it's still there... The other would be at middle road's market.

At 3/04/2011 6:01 am , Blogger Sivasothi said...

Hmmm...goreng pisang - how about the couple of shops at Changi Village?

At 3/04/2011 6:27 am , Blogger Tym said...

Reminding me once again that I really should sit down and study Malay when I get home.

Thanks for the suggestions of where to get goreng pisang. Will share with my London-Singaporean kaki. I have a sweet tooth and confess that I grew up eating the Chinese version.

At 3/05/2011 12:08 am , Anonymous Sarah said...

Goreng pisang - try the Long House hawker centre at upper thomson


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]