Zichar is a huge part of my life. It is what I want to eat after a long trip abroad and a zichar experience is must for overseas friends. For the unfamiliar, “zichar” literally means “cook-fry”. Zichar stalls can be found in almost every coffee shop in Singapore. A meal can be cheap, like $4 for a one-dish-meal of fried rice or noodles, or it can also run into the hundreds, like in the case of communal dining where prawns, crabs, fish and many other dishes become the stars of the table.
One of my must-order dishes whenever we go out for zi-char is Kam Heong Lala (clams). I love lala and tried to cook it once at home during Chinese New Year (I think it was last year or 2013). Let’s just say I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience. To clean fresh lala, you have to soak them in a basin of water with a bit of salt for to purge out the sand and impurities, and then change the water a few times and repeat. It took me a much longer time than expected to get them clean, so I decided to go with prawns this time.