It has been five months since I visited Penang and I miss the food sorely. And judging from the crowds at York Hotel Singapore's recent Penang Hawkers' Fare buffet, it is clear that many Singaporeans share the same love for food from the Malaysian island.
A quintessential Penang dish I am particularly fond of is assam laksa. However, not many places in Singapore do it justice and I have had many disappointing, watered-down versions.
But I stay optimistic and place my trust in Sunday Times reader Daniel Wong, who recommends one that is "better than most in Penang".
Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre, 116 Upper Bukit Timah Road, 02-128; open: noon to 10pm daily or until sold out
Rating: 4 stars
I head to Penang Signature at Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre, which sells only assam laksa.
If you are focused on cooking one dish only, surely it has to be good.
For $3.50, I get a bowl of piping hot laksa, topped with a dollop of prawn paste.
Sorry, Instagrammers, it is not picture-perfect. But I love that it is a messy one-bowl-wonder with pieces of sardine, thinly-sliced cucumber, pineapple chunks and sliced onions, along with some tamarind and chilli padi.
The combination of flavours in the robust soup hits all the right notes of sweet, sour and spicy.
I like that the thick rice noodles are springy too, reminding me of what I had in Penang.
You can add more chilli padi, but I think the spice level is just right.
I hear some diners around me slurping up the noodles and saying how it is pretty close to what they have tried in Penang.
I completely agree.