‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Galangal

I couldn’t believe my ears. Someone I couldn’t see in a room nearby had just broken out into what sounded like a line from one of my most-played songs of last year. In almost exactly the same way I’d gabbled the line in countless mad solitary post-midnight subwoofing dances in my room, she was saying “Galang galang galang”, and even managing a fairly good approximation of MIA’s singsong.

My first excited thought was that there might actually be someone in the office who listened to non-mainstream music. Although over the years I’ve grown used to having almost no friends who listen to the same sort of music I do, it’s still really nice to meet someone who does. My second excited thought was that with my now-pathetic grasp of current music affairs, maybe I was just unaware that by now Galang is mainstream music and it’s a hit! Either possibility would be cool.

And then the next line of the conversation burst both my hopeful little bubbles. She walked out of the room, followed by her friend, who was insisting “No lah, the best tau huay is at Selegie Road!” And what, then, did my ostensible fellow MIA-lover say? She repeated what she’d said before, same rhythm, same singsong – “Geylang geylang geylang!”

I’m crushed, but I might as well get something out of this disappointment – if you have a view on where the best tau huay is, please share.

[Note: This post is better understood if you are a) a music geek or b) familiar with places in Singapore, and best understood if you’re both.]


  1. i once had my boss greet me with “what’s the story, morning glory?” and i nearly fell off my seat in shock. was he a secret oasis, and hence indie music fan? (not that i like oasis).

    turns out he was quoting from the gordon lightfoot song or something.

    as for best tauhuay – the selegie road one is pretty decent. but nothing can beat the ones i used to have from Yick Sang at An Siang Hill.

  2. this morning i sang “let’s get cereal, cereal” to the tune of ‘physical’ by olivia newton-john to my roommate while i was getting a bowl of cereal. i was getting special k with red berries too.

    if only i had a leotard.

  3. Singaporean food is really bland. Sorry, that’s the truth boys & girls. I’ve tried that Taiwanese coffeeshop in Geylang. That’s ‘the best’?

    Or maybe it’s just us Malaysians being used to too much MSG in everything.

  4. My family is very partial to the one at Short St, which I believe is a branch of the Famous Rochore (sic) Road Tau Huay. Or something. It’s good, in any case; the Geylangeylangeylang one has not impressed me.

  5. i do like the Short St ‘rochore’ one too… but i stubbornly champion the geylang one too… or maybe its just my tastebuds being nostalgic here…

  6. “I’ve tried that Taiwanese coffeeshop in Geylang. That’s ‘the best’?”

    No! defintely not. That’s because it is not Taiwanese enough.

    Enough said, we’ll never have authentic tau huay or you tiao here.

  7. we do have authentic Yusheng though!!!!! *beams maniacally* and authentic non-authentic Madras Fish-head Curry!! go us!!! :P

  8. the best tau huay i’ve had is the stuff my grandmother bought from the hougang ave 3 market, located somewhere behind the hougang cc. but then, it might be childhood nostalgia flavouring my memory.

  9. Quoting Gordon Lightfoot might actually be more impressive than quoting Oasis. I just like the idea of anyone dropping in random lyrics.

    And “authenticity” is a rubbish criterion to judge food.

  10. Benny: But tau huay is meant to be bland! Bland but silky smooth as it goes down! What sort of crazy people would put MSG in tau huay…

    Daryl: I was once studying a shipping map of the waters around Singapore with a colleague. I remarked that I had never been to Bintan. He said “But have you ever been to you?” He generally specializes in cheesy eighties pop, and occasionally refers to me as Queen Latifah for some odd reason of his own.

    Everybody else: Thanks for the tau huay tips! I haven’t actually had the famous Selegie Road one yet (I always get distracted when I’m there by a nice little Italian place nearby, Trattoria Lafiandra) but intend to soon.

  11. I didn’t mean the tau huay exactly. I find Singaporean wan tan mee quite bland for example. And I didn’t know you guys put ketchup with it. Ketchup?!

  12. Benny, how can you a have so much to say about tau huay and not have anything to say about band names? Someone who immerses themselves in music as much as you must have come up with a few good uns’ over the years.

  13. I think there’s a nice element of camp inherent in quoting lyrics randomly at apropos moments – Charlene is especially quote worthy.

    But then, every now and then I get a little bit restless and I dream of something wild.

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