I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

August 24, 2010

Singapore Noodles

Apparently, I may not be me.

After 20yrs of marriage, BigJ and I are planning a trip away. We have never had a holiday before. Oh, we visit The Farm, in Queensland, but staying with family is not a holiday. A holiday means: not cooking, not cleaning, not seeing anyone you're related to (unless invited), the whole day stretching ahead of you just to explore, and having people wait on you for a change! Apart from 3 weekends away from our children, that has been it.... for 20 years! I deserve a holiday!!

Unfortunately for me, the Australian Government disagrees. You see, I have a secret past. I was not born in this country.

I was born in Singapore.

Now, I've always thought of that as 'exotic and exciting'. When I was born, my sisters cried because they wanted an Asian baby like the others in the hospital. They didn't consider me exotic or exciting at all, and I've never been able to convince them otherwise. But secretly, I know I am. Our holiday plan is to revisit the place of my birth.

The trouble is.... I'm not who I say I am.

I only have a foreign birth certificate. The passport office doesn't like that. Apparently it doesn't count. When I entered our lovely country as a toddler I came in on my mothers passport. OK, to get my own I need original papers proving I was registered at the High Commission. I don't have any. Not originals, and certified copies are just not the same.
I also need to prove my change of name. All the official documents with my photo and name, like drivers licence don't count either. I need to prove when I changed my name at marriage. So off I went to apply. I then found out I don't have an 'official' marriage certificate! We are married (I checked!) but way back then, you were only given a ceremonial certificate, it's no longer acceptable as a legal document.
I went to apply for a new marriage certificate, but then found out I cannot get one here as we were actually married about 5kms over the state border. I need to apply interstate.
In order to do that, I need to prove who I am.
I only have a foreign birth certificate.
See the problem?

My husband finds this highly amusing.
I don't.

Anyway, in case I'm deported, I have decided to embrace my Singaporean roots and cook... Singapore Noodles.

I know that this dish is not authentic, rather a Westernized ideal of what a real Singaporean is like. Just like me... a bit confused, and stuck between two cultures. I take solace in the fact that the dish is delicious, and proves that somehow, it all works out alright in the end.

Start off with about 300g of chicken thigh fillets. The thigh has much more flavour, and if you're just chopping it up anyway, no one will know. Marinate this in 1/4 cup of gfree soy sauce, 2 tabs of Chinese cooking wine, and 2 tabs of crushed ginger. Leave while you get everything else ready.

For my family, I use a whole packet of rice noodles. They need to be soaked in boiling water for 10mins or so, until softened, then drained.

While everything is soaking and marinating, chop up your veggies. I like to use sliced snow peas, red capsicum, spring onions, mungbean sprouts, celery and shredded carrots. Try and make them fairly uniform in size so they cook at the same time.

I buy yummy BBQ Chinese pork at a take away place as we like the flavour, but you can leave it out or use some ham or Chinese sausage if you want.

Throw in a handful of prawns to add a nice sweetness of flavour.

You also need 2 eggs, about 1/2 a cup of lfree milk or stock if you prefer, and the most important ingredient..... 2 tabs of plain old curry powder. That's right, plain old curry powder. Whisk together and put aside for now.

1. Heat your wok and cook off the drained chicken. Take out and put aside. Lightly cook the prawns, but be careful as they will heat through later and you don't want them to get dry and chewy.

2. Toss in the veggies and stir fry with a bit of water to moisten which will help add some steam and cook quickly.

3. Add the noodles and meats and stir thoroughly to heat through and mix evenly- or some one will complain that they didn't get her share of prawns, or he got too many veggies.

4. Pour in the egg and curry mix and toss around and around and around. The egg mix will coat the noodles and cook off with the residual heat.

5. Dish up and enjoy!

So Readers, do you have any hidden secrets?


  1. When I was in High school I paid my cousin to write my essay on animal farm.

    I ended up winning the term english award based on the essay.

    The worst part was that my parents were SO proud they both took the morning off work to come and see me yet the award ( my grandma came too!)

  2. Oh good grief, what a pain for you! I was born overseas as well, but came here when I was four - yet when I recently had to fill in government forms, they asked me for citizenship papers and date of arrival details. Grrr. Took ages to figure it all out! I hope you get it all sorted soon. In the meantime, I guess your Sing noodles are a comforting and delicious consolation. :)

  3. Oh dear, I hope it all works out for you! A holiday is something to look forward to. Although once you get it, I suppose it will last you for ages. And Singapore? That's where my mother is from! :)

  4. OMG! This is a turn up for the "Red Tape" books! I hate it when silly weird crap happens like this, I can feel myself mentally drumming the tabletop & clenching my teeth. My mom got her passport for the first time last year and all all manner of hold ups & had to spend a fortune getting the proper certificates to prove she was who she said she was. Fingers crossed it'll all work out in time for the big holiday. (20 years and only 3 weeks holiday...., you deserve more than that g/friend) :)

  5. wow - that is an amazing story. Bureaucracy drives me WILD- I hope you can prove who you are and go on your holiday!! I can't believe you haven't been on a holiday for that long- I thought I was hardly done by as I haven't been on a real, non family oriented holiday since 2006!

  6. Oh no!! Paperwork is a pain! BUT you were born in the same country as Soy and I! And I had to chuckle about the Singapore noodles being confused. I have to tell you that I have never had Singapore noodles the entire time I've been in Australia because it's my little revolt! Soy says the equivalent dish is curried noodles in Singapore. I really hope all your passport issues work out, because it sounds like you really do deserve that holiday!

  7. Thanks for all the well wishes Readers. I'm sure it will all work out in the end.

    It sounds like all the best people come from Singapore!

    Jess, I think it's very brave of you to own up to your secret past, did you ever 'fess up or did your cousin dob you in?

    Anna, that's 3 weekENDS, not weeks, and yes,I really need this holiday!

    I'll let you Know how it works out, Readers thanks for your happy thoughts!

  8. You totally deserve a holiday and for someone to cook Singapore Noodles for you! They look delicious, perhaps you could use them as a beaurocratic bribe!?

  9. Very frustrating for you...but the prospect of a holiday in Singapore with all its yummy food should make it feel worth the effort, yes? And I agree that the nicest people come from Singapore - my son was born there. Funnily enough the government insisted that he have his own passport (we travelled quite a bit for work) and he has this ridiculous passport with a photo of him at a one day old, all wrapped up in some disney blanket (hospital photographer took the photo without us even knowing). And he had to travel on that passport until he was 5!! Reading your story makes me glad that we do have the ridiculous passport for him!