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Singapore Cafe

I've been all obsessed with Singapore lately so I really wanted to try out
this new Chinatown restaurant and I really wanted to like it. But it was
just one of those bad Friday nights where time gets away, no one can decide
what to do and moods sour. By the time I met James for dinner it was already
10:30pm, fine for some places, but not this particular one. A serious pet
peeve of mine is going to a restaurant that's closing in half an hour. If
possible, I'd prefer to be seated at least one hour before closing. But this
isn't James's way so he doesn't understand my annoyance with being the last
ones in an establishment. Not to get all Meyers-Briggs on you, but it's a J
vs. P thing.

The first strike came when I was told it was too late to order the
laksa, the one thing on the menu I definitely wanted. Fine. The roti canai,
chow kueh teow and jumbo hot & spicy shrimp sufficed, but the overall vibe
was dour. And when the waitress asked for a different $20 bill because the
print was too pale, James nearly lost his shit. I'd be willing to give the
place another try, possibly during lunch time, but there's no way I'll be
able to convince James to accompany me. (12/8/01)

When staff at an Asian restaurant tries steering you away from menu
items, you usually suspect it's a rare delicacy they're afraid to offer to
fussy Americans. At least I used to believe so. I also used to proclaim my
love of laksa. I know there's two breeds: Singapore (which I like) and Asam
(which apparently I'd never had). This was Asam, I was warned and I paid the
price. I have an extremely high tolerance for pungent, strong flavors, but
this was too much. It was like murky swamp water filled with twigs, stiff
leaves, fish bits, beef? and an underlying liver taste offset with sour,
minty notes. I hate to admit defeat, but my stomach honestly couldn't handle
it. I took half home to try the next night, and could only down a few
spoonfuls. The only other flavor I haven't been able to deal with is malta.
Those beverages are completely intolerable.

SingaporeCafe * 69 Mott St., New York, NY

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