Food we used to love


What was your comfort food as a child? My earliest memory of food was when I was four years old; my grandmother would feed me a small bowl of white rice with some soy sauce for lunch. Some days, if I was lucky, there would be a half-boiled egg to go with it.

My mother was appalled when she found out, as it was surely not the most nutritious meal for a child. But my grandmother defended her choice of food as she said a child that young can’t really eat much anyway!

Me? I was quite happy with that food combo, and even now, on days when I don’t really feel like eating, a piping hot bowl of white rice and a couple dashes of good quality soy sauce over a poached egg tastes amazing!

StarEats asks around to find out what people used to eat when they were young.

1 Crispy fried egg

I remembered when I was in primary school, my mum would cook several dishes for lunch or dinner for the family, including a crispy fried egg. The yolk would still be runny, and she served this over white rice with some light soy sauce and pepper. I loved it so much, I could finish a whole plate of rice with just this egg alone. There’s a trick to frying this sunny-side-up egg as you need high heat to get the edges crisp. It can’t be done with a coated non-stick pan. Now, my son loves it too! — Chee Hong, photographer

2 Curry chicken

I grew up in Penang and could eat spicy food from a young age. I was only six or seven years old, and my favourite food then was curry chicken. Whenever my mother made this, I would load my plate with a chicken drumstick, potatoes and lots of gravy! For special occasions, my dad would make loh bak which I also loved. Even today, I’m still not tired of curry chicken! — Ben, IT cybersecurity engineer

3 Watercress soup

When I was young, we ate very simple food − lots of homemade soups and steamed dishes like taufu and fish. My mum was a teacher so she didn’t have time to prepare complicated dishes. But she always made a point to cook our meals. One of my favourite comfort foods was watercress soup, of which she would make a big pot for both lunch and dinner. At that time, I didn’t really appreciate it but now that I’m a mother too, I realise that simple meals doesn’t mean they’re easy to cook. — Marriane, engineer

4 Egg fried rice

As early as three years old, I remember my mum cooking this for me. Add in some soy sauce and I was over the moon. I was much easier to please back then! I still love this even now. — Shireen, PR consultant

5 Steamed egg with minced meat

My earliest memory of this dish was probably when I was around eight years old. I liked the smooth, soft mushy texture of the egg contrasted against the minced meat. It was easy to make and probably relatively cheap those days. We were not that well off back then and having meat was considered somewhat of a treat. — Chern Fa, media practitioner

6 Dhal curry

Before primary school, I was in the care of my Indian babysitter who would feed me and my brother dhal curry poured over white rice. She adjusted the spice level as we were not good with spicy food then. Nowadays, I quite dislike dhal as it’s so plain tasting. But I really miss my babysitter who has since passed on. — Sharon, marketing manager

7 Sweet and sour fish

Back in the day, I wasn’t really into food. But these days, I’m always craving for the taste of home-cooked meals from my hometown, Penampang, Sabah. Both my parents were working so they hardly had time to cook, but growing up, I have fond memories of one dish that my mum used to make − Red Snapper in sweet and sour sauce − it was simple but tasted so good with rice. — Rohani, real estate agent

8 Stir-fried egg with tomato

My childhood comfort food was Chinese-style stir fried egg with tomato, which my grandmother used to make for me when I was young. I still look forward to having this whenever I go back to visit her. There are many ways of cooking this; some people make an omelette or have it scrambled, but my grandmother stir-fried it until it was cut up into small pieces and this paired really well with rice. — Iris, PR executive

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