Saturday, January 10, 2015

in Singapore try Tamil at BANANA LEAF APOLO (1-4-15)

We returned to Singapore at the end of our voyage and I wanted to relive an experience I had 25 years ago when I first visited that I have never forgotten.
We headed over to Little India and BANANA LEAF APOLO, where I had been for an amazing lunch ages ago in a restaurant that has been now open for over 40 years.
Back then, at lunchtime, the place was heaving with people going from station to station choosing their dishes and condiments and having it all served up on a giant banana leaf.
Today, it is table service, and while we ate at 4pm on Sunday, it was very quiet, although many Hindi people were enjoying the various Southern Indian cuisine (or Tamil) that they are famous for. Now, the menu also includes North India cuisine, so Samuel begged for Garlic Naan which he spotted on that menu, but it was  not as good as the naan we know from Northern Indian restaurants back home. He also chose two Tamil dishes: APOLO CHICKEN 65 and APOLO PEPPER CHICKEN.The former was a dry dish on the milder side spicewise, the latter a curry-like hot pepper chicken in a thick sauce. Everything is still served on a giant rectangular placemat-like banana  leaf. I knew my family would not go for the famous Fish Head Curry, so Will agreed to the FRIED FISH CURRY which was another sauce-laden and no super spicy dish.
Pappadam comes to quell the spice and while Will had a local beer, I drank plenty of water!
We ordered BIRYANI RICE & VEGETABLES which is also a great foil to the spice as the vegetables were pickled in a light curry flavor and actually also quelled the spice.
The spiciest dish was the Spicy MUTTON CURRY which I liked the best and declared the winner, but my experience was sadly not as memorable as it was back in my younger years.
Perhaps I shall return in another 25 years and it will be better. It just was not what I wanted it to be, and since Samuel is not a spice nut, he stuck with the lighter Chicken 65 (we never did find out what the number means). Perhaps my ancient memories are blurred.
Next stop-Beijing.