'Looks like an edible UFO': Ghib Ojisan tries hawker dish 'even locals don't know' of

'Looks like an edible UFO': Ghib Ojisan tries hawker dish 'even locals don't know' of
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/Ghib Ojisan

If you follow Japanese YouTuber Ghib Ojisan close enough, you'd know there's no denying that he loves local food.

Whether it's chicken rice from the Hainanese community or Indian delicacies like vadai, he's not one to shy away from exploring the variety of food our country has to offer.

In his latest local food adventure, which he documented on YouTube last Thursday (May 9), the content creator claims to have tried a hawker dish that "even locals don't know" of.

Given Singaporeans' passion for food, this is quite a claim that he's making.

The Singapore-based YouTuber went to Chinatown Complex in search of this one unique dish: Wah kuih.

According to Ghib Ojisan, this dish was common in the 1950s but "only a few stalls [offering it] remain" nowadays.

Waking up at 2.30am

He had visited the Ah Kong Wah Kuih stall to try it out, and during his conversation with the stall owner, Ghib Ojisan learned that wah kuih translates to "cake [made] of rice" and apparently hails from Fujian, China.

The cake is filled with mushrooms and dried shrimp, before it is topped with garlic, handmade chilli and soybean sauce.

Before taking his first bite, Ghib Ojisan commented on the visual aspects of the dish.

He mentioned: "My first impression is that it's a bit unusual. It almost looks like an edible UFO."

Taste-wise, the rich and punchy flavours were something of a surprise.

Despite it not being the comfort food he expected, Ghib Ojisan enjoyed his first wah kuih experience, describing it as a rather "addictive" dish. 

And maybe the best part of it all is that it only costs $3 a plate.

That's quite a steal given the laborious process in creating the dish.

After finishing his plate of wah kuih, Ghib Ojisan headed back to the stall and the owner was more than happy to explain the process of preparing the dish.

"I wake up at 2.30am every day and I arrive here [at the stall] at about 3am," the stall owner said.

Preparing the kuih and sauce is a "long process" but he insists on making them in-house.

The stall owner shared with Ghib Ojisan that his grandfather also used to sell wah kuih and it was basically the dish of his youth. 

He added: "When I was young, I used to play with his [my grandfather's] rice mill. That's what I remember."

In the comments section, netizens were grateful to Ghib Ojisan for finding a stall that specialises in homemade wah kuih.

"Oh my god, I've been looking for wah kuih for many years! The last time I ate it was 20 to 30 years ago in Bukit Merah Hawker Centre," one netizen said.

Another user mentioned how they only had wah kuih twice, over four decades ago.

They added: "I always think about this dish. So delicious."

Local food blog EatBook.sg noted that wah kuih is a slowly disappearing traditional Hokkien snack and is one of the rarest hawker dishes in Singapore.

Where's the hor fun?

Now that Ghib Ojisan has given wah kuih a try, he scoured around the hawker centre in search of other local dishes that he has not come across yet.

This brought him to Poh Preserved Veg Hor Fun, and Ghib Ojisan was intrigued by the picture on the stall's signboard.

He said: "What's unique is that I don't see the hor fun in the picture."

Even after receiving his order, Ghib Ojisan was still puzzled.

"This is another super unique dish. It's hor fun but it also looks like an omelette," he said.

That's because the flat noodles are coated with a thick layer of egg, along with some prawns.

One bite in and Ghib Ojisan likened the flavours to that of another local dish, carrot cake.

"I love the char on the noodles and the egg. It gives the dish an extreme wok hei."

According to SethLui.com, Poh Preserved Veg Hor Fun is run by Chef Ng, who had previously worked in well-known hotels such as Shangri-La Singapore, Amara Hotel and Sheraton Tower's Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant.

A Vietnamese-Japanese twist​

While walking around Chinatown Complex, Ghib Ojisan ended up running into a fan who suggested he give Monan Pork Soup a try.

She admitted that it isn't the most traditional local fare but Ghib Ojisan was keen on giving it a go regardless.

A bowl of Fusion Pork Soup costs $4.30, and it seemed like the stall wasn't kidding about having Vietnamese and Japanese influences in their food.

Ghib Ojisan couldn't help but smile as he said: "This totally tastes like the Japanese salt-based ramen."

He seemed to enjoy how slurping into this bowl of soup in Singapore's Chinatown had managed to remind him of Japan. 

ALSO READ: 'Your face is getting red': Ghib Ojisan eggs tourists on to try 'bizarre' CNY goodies for the first time

amierul@asiaone.com

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