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Not Quite Jambalaya

It’s kinda wet and kinda rainy … perfect weather for a not-quite-jambalaya.

I suppose any weather would be perfect for a jambalaya – hot and spicy really do transcend weather. I can eat stuff like this in the dead of winter or the dog days of summer. I really do love my spice.

I’m sitting here trying to think of where I’ve had the spiciest foods in my life, and I’m thinking it may have been in Singapore. Street food and bar food were the foods of choice as a poor sailor – although I did have the obligatory Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel.

The Raffles… The old girl was showing her age a bit in 1973 – but there have been a few renovations since I was there – and another going on right now. The Long Bar – where the Singapore Sling was invented – was in the lobby. During an ’80s renovation, it was relocated to an arcade wing.

It wasn’t all touristy like it is in the above picture… the glasses didn’t have “Singapore Sling” printed on them, for one… In fact, I think there were served in a standard collins glass… But I do believe there were peanuts – not in a printed burlap bag, though…

But I was thinking spice – not hotels…

Like the original Long Bar, the street vendors of yore don’t exist, either. In fact, old Singapore is gone. Some of the greatest food on the planet prepared on a cart with a wood fire, gone with it. Today, Singapore is a city of sleek, modern, skyscrapers. Tiger Balm Gardens has changed and been renamed. Even Bugis Street – where the transvestites hung out at night and where I got into a brawl with a few hundred Australian sailors – is gone. They’ve tried to semi-recreate it, but it’s another Disney ride for the tourists… the old place had a bit of an edge at night… A great place for a 20 year old kid to hang out…

There was a public bathroom with a show on the roof-top every night… Alcohol was always involved. And no, I never partook…

But alcohol and antics aside… the food was stellar. And this shows the importance of a well-rounded education. One should always be able to have drinks at a 5-star establishment and sling beers with transvestite hookers at 3am in an outdoor street environment while catching the floor show atop the local latrine – within hours of one another, when possible.

Well-rounded, indeed…

And well-rounded is what our dinner was, tonight… Spicy, but flavorful. It was a mock-jambalaya with andouille sausage, chicken, and crab, black beans, peppers, onions, tomatoes, thyme, and hot, spicy boonie pepper from Guam. All cooked together and served over rice.

And now I need to see if I can find some more pictures of what the place was like way back then…


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