Ladies and gents, before jumping right into things here, allow me to introduce Wan Yan Ling, who will be serving as an intern for Serious Eats during her summer break. Ling, who's based in Southeast Asia at the moment, will be bringing us short reports on the various dishes to be found in the region. Today, kway chap, a Singaporean specialty. Enjoy! —The Serious Eats Team
By Wan Yan Ling | In a March interview with Anthony Bourdain, eater of eyeballs, testicles, and still-beating hearts, the man pegs his rise to "serious eater" rank to “when the Chinese and Singaporeans began to take me seriously."
While we Singaporeans aren’t exactly in the habit of breakfasting on lions (too mafan or hassle-ly to prep), we do take our food, or makan, with utmost gravity. See us put on our "game face" when tackling a steaming bowl of kway chap—spicy, stewed pig innards served alongside silken, slippery rice noodles. Dished up with flavor-packed hard-boiled eggs stained brown from the soy sauce broth, steamed fish-paste cakes flecked with chili and scallions, firm pressed tofu, and fried tofu puffs, it sounds like an omnivore’s delight. But really, it’s all about the offal—with everything on just the right side of chewy. Not forgetting the obligatory vinegar-tinged chili sauce, of course. Those of us who made the hike to Singapore Day know the locals like it mouth-numbingly, chilli padi (think jalepeños) hot.
About the author: Wan Yan Ling, Serious Eats's overseas summer intern, is an impoverished grad student and sourdough finger-crosser living in Singapore. She can usually be found in the kitchen procrastinating on "real work," or online tracking down obscure recipes. Ling thinks eating alone is no fun, and she still believes in hand-mixing.