Serendipity is one of those hippy-dippy things that almost never happens to me. But once in a while, the universe conspires to tell me something good and I am almost always surprised when it happens.
Some years ago, I start haunting a coffee shop in Ang Mo Kio, drawn there by a nasi lemak stall a colleague had reviewed.
One time, still hungry after my meal, I decide to order the chye tow kueh or fried carrot cake from another stall, for the whole table to share. It turns out to be much better than a mere tummy filler would suggest.
Eventually, the nasi lemak loses its lustre, but the memory of that chye tow kueh stays with me.
Recently, I start making tracks to the stall because I have been on something of a chye tow kueh bender. It is all I can think about some days. I cannot explain what has triggered it.
POTONG PASIR KING SPECIALIST CARROT CAKE
Block 532 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, Sunday F&B coffee shop, open: 7am to 7pm, closed on Wednesday
Rating: 3/5 stars
Perhaps I am puzzled by the Michelin Guide Singapore's description of the dish as "turnip pudding". The term makes me laugh because it's ridiculous, but it also makes me mad because the people behind the guide have so little respect for Singapore soul food.
Being hangry (hungry and angry) has led to chye tow kueh abuse. And it does not help that the dish is like a drug I cannot quit.
My preference is for black chye tow kueh, which is why Chey Sua in Toa Payoh, on the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand list, leaves me cold. It serves only the white version.
Potong Pasir King Specialist Carrot Cake offers black and white versions and will even add extra dark soya sauce to its fried carrot cake ($2.50 and $3.50), but you have to ask.
The stall also offers char kway teow, but I never bother with it.
What keeps me going back is a tower of huge, round, deep metal baking trays, filled with the kueh - made with shredded radish and rice flour.
The stall holder, a taciturn man, nods when I ask if he makes it. I do not see evidence of that at the stall, but the tower suggests that he does not use the factory variety.
I peer deep into the baking dishes and see shreds of radish packed into the rice flour cake.
Making the kueh in-house is one thing, frying it right is another, and it is done well here.
The kueh is cut into rectangular pieces. Some parts are crisp, others soft. The pieces jiggle. Less flour, more radish - always a good thing.
The egg is never overcooked. Chilli adds some heat, but the garlic and preserved radish are what I look for with every forkful.
When I ask for more dark soya sauce, it caramelises on the hot pan and that is the best part. The sear is not quite as fierce as that of Fu Ming Cooked Food in Redhill Lane, an excellent chye tow kueh stall, but it is still mighty good.
In fact, it is good enough for me to have gone four times in three weeks. I am no longer hangry. And may Michelin never find this place.