While it may sound like a type of cleaning product, rojak (Malay for “mixture”) is another tasty dish found in Singapore. (Other versions of the dish are also found in Malaysia and Indonesia.) The Singaporean version consists of pieces of pineapple, cucumber, green apple, fried dough, fried tofu, and bean sprouts in an addictive, sweet yet savoury sauce – made from lime juice, chili, shrimp paste, sugar, and water – and covered in ground peanuts.
The term “rojak” is also used to describe the multi-racial culture of both Singapore and Malaysia. To me this is similar to referring to America as a”melting pot.” But while both imply a mixing of ingredients, the ingredients in rojak remain distinct whereas those in the melting pot theoretically melt together and become indistinguishable. On a related note, I find it curious that the government makes a big deal out of classifying everyone as “Chinese,” “Indian,” “Malay,” or “Other.” Why not just call everyone “Singaporean?”
(Speaking of classifications, there is also a dish in Singapore called Indian Rojak. It’s basically a plate of fried dough, fried shrimp, fried potatoes, fried squid, fried tofu, fried coconut dough, and fried prawn cakes. For the sake of my cholesterol, I haven’t tried it yet. It comes with a sweet potato-chili dip that will probably be the reason I do try it.)
The best regular rojak I’ve had was from Clementi Brothers Rojak at Block 449 Clementi Ave 3 #01-211. There’s a related stall run by the brothers’ uncle at Zion Rd Stall 21 – I’m assuming it tastes similar, but I haven’t actually tried it there.