As a teenager in the late 1950s, Mr Pak Lah, as he prefers to be known, remembers eating nasi ambeng at a function his mother took him to in a village in Lorong Marican.
Now 68, the owner of Satay Power in Bedok Corner Food Centre started selling the Indonesian rice set a few months ago after observing a few stalls doing so.
Nasi ambeng is a festive dish of rice with meat and vegetable accompaniments.
He calls his version Nasi Ambeng Asli 10-in-1, or 10+1 in short. The original set serves four, but there are also servings for one, two and three people.
He says the number 1 refers to the "oneness" so people sharing the set come together to enjoy the meal and try to finish everything.
The 10 refers to the number of dishes in the set, which comprise sambal belacan, urap (raw vegetable salad), potato (begedil, for example), salted fish, tempeh goreng, tauhu goreng, sambal goreng, chicken or beef rendang, sambal sotong and serundeng (grated coconut with spices). It is eaten with rice.
If you order for one, the serving comes on a big plate and costs $6. Larger servings come in a dulang, or round tray. A two-person serving costs $14 and it is $21 for three and $28 for four.
I order the $6 plate, asking them to replace the beef rendang with chicken as I do not eat beef.
At a glance, it looks like curry chicken, though the gravy appears a bit pale. When the stinging sensation hits, I realise it is spiced with chilli padi. The gravy is delicious, albeit a tad oily. Later, I find out it is ayam lemak chilli padi.
What I also like is the urap, with the crunchy uncooked kacang botol, or winged bean, adding a different texture to the meal. The tauhu goreng, serundeng and begedil are good too. Mr Pak Lah says the nasi ambeng is prepared by his cook using her Indonesian mother's recipe. He adds with a tinge of pride that his new dish is doing so well at his six-year-old stall that by about 3.30pm, it is sold out.
Stall No. 8, Bedok Corner Food Centre opposite Bedok Army Camp)
Open: 7.30am to 11pm, closed on Thursday
This article was first published on April 19, 2015.
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