Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee
Hokkien Mee is a local noodle and shrimp dish in Singapore that has always puzzled me. It smells great when the hawker stir fries this concoction in a hot wok with lots of garlic. And that wonderful aroma always leads me to think that I'm going to get a salty/greasy plate of lightly scorched noodles. But instead it comes out drenched in a thick (but clear) goo, covering up that garlicky grease that attracted me to it to begin with. I could never quite figure out why this was necessary, and wished that they made a "dry" option instead.
My opinion of this dish has changed for the better though. Stall number 147 at Whampoa Hawker Center (the temporary one, anyway) still served it covered in that slimy goo today, but that very same sauce was so full of warmth and richness that it really enhanced the dish. No, I couldn't taste the salty garlic grease that I had been seeking, but it didn't matter. I just had the wrong expectations going in; I was thinking of the consistency of something like mee goreng, but instead I should have expected something more like a rich Italian cream sauce.