My plan was to grab lunch at the new Vego on Street 294. I wasn’t that hungry but – and this is why eating alone can be easier – my dining partner was famished. The salad, even a large salad, would not cut it for him. We needed something more generous. We needed something more exciting. We didn’t exactly need an enormous plate of red chili prawns, but that’s what we decided to order at Geylang, the new Singaporean restaurant on Street 178, named after the district of the island famed for prostitution and late-night food.
A half kilo of succulent prawns came drenched in a milk and chili sauce and served on a round saucer. I’ve eaten a lot of rubbery prawns lately but these were tender and the gloopy sauce sweet and tangy. Delicious, but left a belly-full of grease. Chili sauce was everywhere. My friend asked if I was disgusted when he licked the sauce off of his fingers. Then he ordered a second box of napkins, since we’d run out of the first.
Added to prawns was an order of something called cheese crab, which had a lot of cheese and not a lot of crab. I don’t remember taking more than three bites. It was salty and buttery but ultimately too heavy. Perhaps we should have gone for the ginger and spring onion, but the picture looked so creamy and appealing on an empty stomach.
With its red chairs and flimsy tables, the setting resembles a beer garden. But that’s where the similarities end. Beer gardens are cheap. At this place, the bill ran to about $34. Be careful with how you order, as the prices come by the kilo. The vegetable dish was a run-of the mill green bean affair with a little shrimp sprinkled on top. Satisfyingly crunchy but otherwise unappetitising.
The restaurant is not great for lunch, but I had visions of a vast dinner there among beer-drinking friends or a post-nightclub seafood binge – the place stays open til 3am.
I’m just guessing, but I bet red chili prawns taste better with Cambodia beer than 7-UP. I wouldn’t have had these problems at Vego, but then I wouldn’t have had finger-licking prawns on my salad, either.
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