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Our original Makan Kaki, KF Seetoh returns this week with tales from his wanderings – he says there’s nothing like taking to your feet and going walkabout to see & sniff out good eats. He was wandering around the Holland Drive Food Centre when he saw a queue at a stall that looked decidedly hipster – beautifully designed, achingly instagrammable – with lots of prep space & a gorgeous wooden work surface ala Martha Stewart magazine! Upon investigation, he found a lovely (and yes, also achingly instagrammable) young lady manning said stall, intent on creating her version of Rojak, but with a twist that may have purists shrinking back in horror. The Rojak here is VEGETARIAN! Intrigued, our intrepid Guru of Gluttony decided to get in line for a taste.
Much to his surprise, this prawn paste-free veggie Rojak scores points for flavour. Now, this may be unbelievable, given the fact that prawn paste (hae ko), that thick, pungent goo, is really what gives rojak its distinctive taste, but Seetoh says it ticks all the boxes.
Hazarding a guess as to her secret rojak sauce formula, Seetoh reckons to replace the accent of hae ko, there are hints of plum sauce, a little tau cheo (fermented bean paste) and a touch of kicap manis for colour and sweet richness. Of course, the tamarind and sugar and rojak flowers are all in there too, which all add up to a vegetarian Rojak sauce that tastes like the real deal!
Smother chilled fruits such as Japanese cucumber, honey pineapple, red apple, ‘luohan’ guava & turnip, toasted premium dough fritter (you tiao) and bean curd (tau pok) in the sauce and you have the perfect mix of sour-sweet-savoury-pungency. This is one very creative vegetarian rojak that doesn’t disappoint. Seetoh rates it two and a half chopsticks – divine!
By the way, this rojak is not only Vegetarian, it’s also Halal.
All pictures via facebook.com/rojakline
Block 44 Holland Drive #02-13
Holland Drive Market & Food Centre
Open: 9am – 3pm, 5.30-8pm (closed Wednesday