A Singaporean (or, I believe Malaysian) – Malay kitchen would not be complete without a bottle of this:
This may be alien outside a typical Singapore-Malay home, but this bottle of sweet black sauce (most commonly known as kicap manis) is one of the things I grew up with. It is one of the things which I have refused to compromise or even think about a substitute and till today, remains as one of my must-haves to bring back to Bangkok with me after each visit to Singapore.
It brings back lots of childhood memories at meal times- boiled rice, a dollop of butter, several drops of kicap manis, fried egg and we kids would be good for a meal! Even as an adult, I enjoy the occasional aforementioned simple combination.
In my opinion, there’s no other sweet soy sauce that is as good as the Habhal’s. I’ll be so screwed if they take this off the shelves!
It is also with this sweet sauce that home-styled Asian dishes are created. My mom would often make this dish with either chicken or fish and they would taste just as good. The brownish-black colour belies the taste, and often, it’s mixed with various other ingredients and spices, making the dish sweet, spicy yet flavourful.