Sunday, December 12, 2010

Toast@Work - Singapore

The Beginning of the End?
Nex is yet another new glittering mall in Singapore with restaurants throughout and a food court on the top floor.  You can eat in air-conditioned comfort, a welcomed respite from the unceasing heat and sun.  We navigated Nex to try out Toast@Work and while I have no specific complaints, I worry that these malls will slowly dilute the street food culture and doom the Singapore food scene.
I see signs of decline, which if not quite here yet, will be shortly.  Will the younger generation of Singaporeans take over their parents' stalls?  Doubtful - they've got better opportunities now.  Already, the better stalls have begun to clone themselves through franchising and many of the remaining have hired mainland Chinese.  This all makes sense - it's a tough gig and probably doesn't pay a lot.  My peanut butter toast was ok, it was buttered on one side and peanut-buttered on the other - a trick this greedy man appreciates.  However, it's not as good as the Toast Box version, which itself is an approximation of the thicker, tastier street versions I've had.
The French toast was not bad either in a "just good enough to not feel guilty about being lazy and walking 100 feet to the mall" kinda way.
When she grows up, will she even remember hawker centers?  Perhaps it's a sign of age that I lament the changes I'm seeing.  It's always this way, right?  The whole "back when I first came here, this was better and that was better, etc"   There's an older generation, the pre-hawker generation, who used to go to the street stalls and may feel reigning them in under a roof was the first step towards their eventual disappearance.
My girlfriend tells me not to worry - "if there is one thing Singaporeans will never give up, it's their street food."  I don't know, it could be death by 1,000 cuts.  First, they offer you a version in the mall that is only slight in decline, close enough for an air-conditioned trade off.  You forget the earlier, better version just in time for the next cut.  I, for one, will boycott these mall toasts.  Tomorrow I'm going to Chinatown for a real version (or what passes for one these days.)

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  1. Hi Puff,

    Nice Singapore Food Pics! :)

    Can I have permission to use your food pics for a variety show on MCS Channel 8??

    There's 1 segment where contestants have to guess what food we are showing. (It's a small world, 国际交易所。

    Please call or sms me 9350 9987 if possible?

    2000 Thanks first.

    Sincerely - Peng.

  2. @Anon - if I didn't know better, I'd think a friend of mine is playing a practical joke on me. None of my friends knows Mandarin, though.... Sure, go ahead and use all the photos you want, even the out of focus ones....