I was in Singapore last weekend on a low-budget eating trip. The restaurant was billed as having the â€œUltimate Fried Riceâ€ so how could you resist that after a morning exploring Chinatown and Clarke Quay and in bad need of carbohydratesâ€¦ we sat down at this second story restaurant on Clarke Quay, ordered some wonderful dishes like chicken with dried chilli peppers, beef with black pepper sauce, baby kailan with oyster sauce, sweet and sour pork and then asked the waiter what kinds of fried rice they had. Ultimate was itâ€¦ they only had one kind, duhhâ€¦ Marketman. So we ordered one medium sized bowl of the Ultimate and waited hungrily. When the food arrived, all looking pretty good, the smallish medium sized bowl of rice arrived and I knew this was simply not enough for a table of five people so I asked for 3 bowls of plain rice as wellâ€¦
The answer – â€œwe donâ€™t serve plain rice, only ultimateâ€ was already a tip-off for the rip-off that was about to come but in desperation and a desire to ensure proper carb loading (probably partially a psychotic after-effect of a week on my South Forbes Diet) I quickly ordered yet another bowl of the Ultimate Fried Rice. What bloody kind of Chinese restaurant has no plain rice? Especially when plain rice is used in making fried rice? I can honestly say this is the first time in 40+ years of eating in oriental restaurants that I have ever encountered this. So what is the Ultimate after all? Itâ€™s a bowl of fried rice made with lots of egg, scallions and green onions, peeled crab meat, a few peeled shrimp, probably some fish sauce or soy sauce and pepper. Big deal. It was good but I wouldnâ€™t say the Ultimate. What was Ultimate was the priceâ€¦ the modest lunch cost over USD120!!! Thatâ€™s pricey, even for Singapore. The bloody bowls of rice were probably in the neighborhood of USD20 each! For that amount, I could recreate that rice in a massive serving platter oozing with crab meat from two kilos or more of live crab! So be forewarned when anyone says they are serving the Ultimate!