Google the word “Rojak” and this definition will come up: a “mixture” or “eclectic mix” in colloquial Malay – and we love how aptly this defines and describes how Uniquely Singapore is; a little red dot with such a diverse mix of cultures coming together in perfect harmony.
In Singapore, a plate of rojak is often seen enjoyed and shared with friends and family at food centres, concept restaurants or in the comfort of homes – and we are blessed to have the opportunity and easy access to different cultures and renditions of this popular dish made by the Indians (or Indian-Muslims) and Chinese locally.
As we countdown to Singapore’s birthday, The Luna Space team called on Srisun Express and Soon Heng Rojak – 2 established and well-known food brands selling Indian Rojak and Chinese Rojak respectively – to share with us more insights about how rojak is their rojak, really. 😜
Hi Srisun Express, please share with us…
What makes a good complete plate of Indian Rojak?
“Indian rojak has several components to it, the fried batter/dough items – and also other popular picks such as potato, tempeh, sausage, fried bean curd, fishcake etc. Almost no one orders Indian rojak without the highlight which is the fried batter/dough items. The rest are really up to personal preference. Everyone loves the sauce, so that’s also a must!”
So... what is this sauce made of?
“The sauce is made of mainly peanuts, and there is usually sweet potato added to make it thicker (than normal satay sauce) and to give it a sweet and savoury flavour.”
What are the different types of fried batter/dough items available?
“There are plenty! We have the cabbage, spinach, prawn, onion, ikan bilis, potato and plain in different bright colours.”
How long does it usually take for the chef to prepare the ingredients for Indian Rojak?
“It takes about 4 hours to prepare the fried batter/dough items as they are made from scratch in-house. The dough is a yeast dough; hence it requires time for it to rise.”
Hello Mr Chow, thank you for taking time out to sit down with us!
Can you share with us what ingredients are there in your rojak please?
“Our ingredients include fried crispy you tiao, cucumber, kang kong, beansprouts, mang guang, tau pok, sweet juicy pineapples, a little bit of finely-shaved ginger flowers and a generous amount of crushed peanuts. The shaved ginger flowers will give a hint of fragrance to the whole rojak!”
What is the sauce made of?
It’s Hae ko (prawn paste) from Penang!
How long does it usually take for your whole preparation?
“Long! The dish may look simple, but there are a lot of things to do. For instance, I will usually prepare the paste (sauce) at night for the next morning. Including the other work needed to be done, the total preparation time can take up to 3 – 4 hours.”
From sheer interest turned to passion and full-time career, Mr Chow has started selling rojak since his completion of National Service in 1978. When asked, Mr Chow said that there is no special reason why his stall is named “Soon Heng” – but we guess it is always good for everything to be “soon soon” (smooth) and “heng heng” (lucky)! Mr Chow shared that his business partner and him are in the midst of looking into expansion plans, and to that, The Luna Space team would like to wish Mr Chow a “soon soon” and “heng heng” prosperity of his business!
(Mr Chow Kam Seng, founder of Soon Heng Rojak)
(Soon Heng Rojak in Gourmet Paradise Food Court at Toa Payoh HDB Hub)
Interestingly, Indian rojak is actually not originated nor available in India (Wait, what?!). It is a dish unique in Singapore and Malaysia, and was actually created by the Indians who migrated here in the early days. As times gone by, there is more variety of items such as ngoh hiang, lobster balls, hotdogs, fried chicken etc. It is also believed that the colorful fried dough items in an Indian Rojak was actually inspired by the different colors that Malay kueh kuehs have.
(One of Srisun Express’ four outlets in Bukit Batok)
The Luna Space team would like to sincerely wish SriSun Express and Soon Heng Rojak many abundant days filled with fortune, happiness, prosperity and goodness - just like how a plateful of rojak is!