When I finally saw the movie Crazy Rich Asians, my friend was literally hopping up and down on her movie seat.
You see, she lived for three years in Singapore, where the film takes place, and the movie took her back to those amazing days.
But it wasn’t the film’s locations she enjoyed, it was the scene in which the characters visit a Singapore hawker centre full of food stalls.
There, she glimpsed the delicious dishes she loved so much.
Food features prominently in the movie, but the culinary world in Singapore is an even bigger character in the book trilogy by Kevin Kwan, complete with footnotes on various dishes.
My friend introduced me to Singapore cuisine a few years ago, especially something called Hainanese chicken rice.
The problem is we had to go all the way to Richmond to find really good Hainanese chicken rice. We’ve tried others and they just weren’t that good.
We don’t have to travel anymore as we recently discovered a Malaysian and Singaporean restaurant in Burnaby called Green & Oak.
Located on Hastings, just east of Boundary Road, Green & Oak is incredible. The food is fresh, plentiful and affordable.
Oh yeah, it’s also delicious.
There are so many dishes I could write about, but I’ll stick with the Hainanese chicken rice.
It is chicken that is steamed and cooked in chicken stock and served at room temperature with chili and ginger dipping sauces.
It’s such a simple dish, but it’s divine. Whether you order white or dark meat, the chicken is ridiculously juicy. The chili sauce is good, but I’m in love with the ginger dipping sauce. The combination is outrageous.
As for the rice, Green & Oak serves rice that is cooked with turmeric, ginger, soup stock and lemongrass. It’s light, fully and full of flavour. The dish comes as a set meal that also includes a yummy soup.
We usually toss in an appetizer of roti-canai, which is freshly made Malaysian flatbread with a mild curry dipping sauce.
After eating a lot of different versions of this dish, I’m swooning that the best one is in Burnaby.
DISCLAIMER: I have not been paid by the featured restaurant to write this article. They don’t even know I’m writing about them.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.