42 dishes in 21 hours

42 dishes in 21 hours

When Mr Joel Teo said he wanted to eat 24 iconic Singaporean dishes in 24 hours, nobody took him seriously.

So he spent a few months crafting a plan of action and upped the ante to 42 dishes, calling it an eating "marathon".

"The idea came to me some time last year when I was eating my way through Hong Kong and Penang. Whenever I travel, I hunt down the best cuisine and try to eat everything the place has to offer.

"But I realised that I never actually did that in Singapore, which is odd because Singapore has really great food," he says.

The self-styled hedonist explains that the thing he will miss most about Singapore when he flies to London for university later this year is the food, and he wanted to dedicate a day to local fare before that.

He began planning in January, listing as many iconic local dishes as he could, before looking for reputable hawkers stalls that sold "exceptional" examples of each.

He then shortlisted the stalls based on their opening hours and rest days before deciding on a final itinerary.

Then, armed with tissue packets for "choping" (reserving) seats, several litres of soda to wash down the food, plenty of gung-ho and a couple of friends to chart the journey, the 20-year old set off on his food marathon at 8am on May 23.

Laksa, chicken rice, mee rebus, nasi lemak, Indian rojak and roti prata - Mr Teo ate them all.

"I tried to fit in nearly everything you can think of when you say 'Singaporean food'. The only exceptions are things that are too costly or time-consuming, like chili crab," he says.

But despite his careful planning, there were hiccups along the way as some stalls were inexplicably closed, or ran out of ingredients before he arrived.

So, some dishes were replaced on the fly, like chendol for cheng tng.

Mr Teo was not satisfied with merely trying a few bites of each dish before moving on.

For most dishes, he ate about half of the serving while his friends helped him to polish off the rest. For smaller dishes like goreng pisang, he had a full share to himself.

But by the 18th hour, at 2am, the food fatigue finally caught up.

Wearily, he resolutely spooned orh luak (fried oyster omelette) into his mouth.

At nearly 6am, some 21 hours after they ordered the first plate of roast meats, Mr Teo finished the last dregs of his kopi gu you (coffee with butter), shaking his head.

"I am never, ever doing this again," he says.


8.35am Char siew and roast meats @ New Rong Liang Ge Cantonese Roast Duck Block 269B, Queen Street
10.15am Laksa @ Janggut Laksa Queensway Shopping Centre
11.05am Pork rib prawn mee @ Hokkien Street Famous Hokkien Prawn Mee Hong Lim Market and Food Centre
11.12am Bak chor mee@ Ah Kow Mushroom Minced Pork Mee Hong Lim Market and Food Centre
11.20am Char kway teow @ Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee Hong Lim Market and Food Centre
11.26am Teochew porridge @ Teo Heng Porridge Stall Hong Lim Market and Food Centre
12.21pm Sliced fish soup @ Jin Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon Maxwell Food Centre
12.35pm Chicken rice @ Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Maxwell Food Centre
1.25pm Yong tau foo @ Rong Xing Yong Tau Fu Tanjong Pagar Market and Food Centre
2.08pm Bak kut teh @ Outram Park Ya Hua Rou Gu Cha PSA Tanjong Pagar Complex
3.16pm Lor mee @ Tiong Bahru Lor Mee Old Airport Road Food Centre
3.27pm Mutton soup @ Hougang Jing Jia Mutton Soup Old Airport Road Food Centre
3.34pm Wonton mee @ Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wan Ton Mee Old Airport Road Food Centre
3.47pm Goreng pisang @ Geylang Lor 20 Banana Fritters Old Airport Road Food Centre
4.30pm Putu piring @ Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring 970, Geylang Road
4.45pm Nasi padang @ Hajjah Mona Nasi Padang Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre
5.35pm Hokkien mee @ Hainan Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee Golden Mile Food Centre
5.48pm Beef noodles @ Kheng Fatt Hainanese Beef Noodles Golden Mile Food Centre
6.15pm Muah chee @ Hougang 6 Miles Famous Muah Chee HDB Hub
7.28pm Kway chap @ Lao San Kway Chap Pig Organ Soup Block 232, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
7.37pm Pig organ soup @ Lao San Kway Chap Pig Organ Soup Block 232, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
7.59pm Satay beehoon @ Centre Satay Bee Hoon Block 724, Ang Mo Kio Central Avenue 6, #01-12
8.10pm Soto ayam @ Yunos N Family 8.17pm Mee rebus @ Yunos N Family
8.14pm Satay @ Yunos N Family Block 724, Ang Mo Kio Central Avenue 6, #01-01
8.28pm Cheng tng @ Four Seasons Ching Teng Block 724, Ang Mo Kio Central Avenue 6, #01-34
9.30pm Nasi briyani @ Allauddin's Briyani Tekka Centre, 665, Buffalo Road, #01-229
10.36pm Mee siam @ A. Rashid Khan
10.43pm Kambing soup @ A. Rashid Khan Ayer Rajah Market and Food Centre
10.50pm Indian rojak @ Habib's Rojak Ayer Rajah Market and Food Centre
11.41pm Claypot rice @ Geylang ClayPot Rice 639, Geylang Road Lorong 33
12.16am Nasi lemak @ Ponggol Nasi Lemak Centre 965, Upper Serangoon Road
1.27am Orh luak @ Geylang Lor 9 Fresh Frog Porridge
1.30am Frog porridge @ Geylang Lor 9 Fresh Frog Porridge 235, Geylang Road Lorong 9
1.36am Hor fun @ Lor 9 Beef Kway Teow 237, Geylang Road Lorong 9
3.15am Scissor-cut curry rice @ Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice 229, Jalan Besar
3.46am Otak-otak @ Nam San Mackeral Otah 261, Joo Chiat Road
3.55am Roti prata @ The Roti Prata House 246, Upper Thomson Road
4.19am Beancurd @ Rochor Beancurd House 232, Upper Thomson Road
5.03am Carrot cake @ Ah Huay Hokkien Mee Block 10, North Bridge Road
5.41am Kaya toast @ Heap Seng Leong Coffee Shop
5.46am Kopi Gu You @ Heap Seng Leong Coffee Shop Block 10, North Bridge Road


This article was first published on June 1, 2014.
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