Hotplate tofu is my must-order dish when I eat at Zi Char stalls. “Zi Char” is a dialect term which literally means “Cook” (zi) and “Fry” (char). Dishes are almost always eaten with rice and often prepared on high heat in a Chinese wok. My favourite hotplate tofu is from a zi char stall at Blk 279 Bukit Batok East Ave 3. The signboard reads “Mei Chin Seafood” (maybe from eons ago) but the packaging and receipt all read “大食家”。The dish is just a little spicy, with onions, shallots, a bit of chilli bean paste, tofu, prawns, minced meat, vegetables and beaten egg served in a hot plate.
My brother’s helper, Lyn (who has put on 10kg since she started working for us), recognised the aroma floating through the air instantly when she entered my home. “Adobo!” she exclaimed excitedly as she dropped her keys on the table and dashed right into the kitchen. Ok, I am exaggerating a bit here. How to “dash” to the kitchen from the door when we’re living in a 4-room HDB flat? The distance 就那几步罢了。Haha.