The evening I was in Singapore a few weeks back, I met up with a group of friends to go to a Zhap Chai Peng place. “Zhap Chai Peng” means “mixed dishes with rice”, referring to pre-made dishes. It is colloquially known as “economy rice” because of its affordability. The one we went to is in the Tiong Bahru neighborhood.
The clean, well-lighted shop is open-air, with the attention focused on the row of more than two dozen prepared dishes.
The selection runs the gamut from curries to stir-fries, to stews. Meat dishes sit shoulder to shoulder with vegetarian ones. And the influences of Singapore’s many different cultures can be seen.
Bonus points if you can guess what this is. Answer at the end of the post.
Boiled peanuts with Chinese five spice
Goose braised with soy sauce
Stir-friend squash – very beautiful color
Otak – a steamed fish mousse with spices. The Thai counterpart to this is called hor mok and the mousse is steamed in little cups made of banana leaf and it is topped with some coconut cream.
Bitter gourd with garlic
Salted cabbage with pork belly
Scrambled eggs with tomatoes
As for the mystery dish? That’s fried SPAM. All in all, a tasty and inexpensive meal. Very similar to khao gaeng shops in Bangkok, about which I’ll be writing soon.