We meet K. F. Seetoh down one of Geylang's alleys. Tiger beer bottles roll across the ground as we hear the clang-slam-roar of woks and metal tongs and open flames. The middle of the alley cradles a czecha called J. B. Ah Meng, an outdoor eating house ripe with the odors of smoky stir fries and sweet ocean crab. Above it all the air carries the candied funk of durian from a fruit market down the street. Why has one of the experts on Singapore's food culture brought us here?
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You've already seen a proper Singaporean wet market; now it's time to take a look at another way Singaporeans shop that's more familiar to Westerners—no fish gut-strewn floors, to start.
When Singaporeans shop, there's no better place to go than the wet market. It's a jumble of fresh seafood, meat, produce, spices, and sometimes also connected to a marketplace for clothes, housewares, and home goods. Wet markets are so named because their floors are slick, as seafood shops can be, with the melted ice used to keep the fish fresh (okay, and a little bit of stray fish gut too). Check out these snapshots from the wet market.
What can you expect for breakfast? Noodles, both stir fried and in broth, are common options. As are rice dishes like porridge and chwee kue, steamed rice cakes topped with preserved salted radish. But the real national breakfast is a plate of pandan-scented kaya toast with some runny-yolked soft-cooked eggs topped with white pepper and dark soy sauce.