It’s funny how smells and memories work. There are so many stinky things in the world that I associate with deliciousness – durian, fish sauce, sauerkraut, blue cheese…all these smells make my mouth water and my tummy rumble, even though there are some who would turn their nose up in disgust. I guess it comes from growing up in Singapore. Once you start associating stinky with delicious at a very young age, you start getting very excited to try the weird and wonderful. And hey, if nothing else, it’s a great ice breaker at a party.
Fermented shrimp paste is one such favourite that really baffles my friends. This stuff hits your nostrils the moment the seal on the jar is open, and has a somewhat sour/salty aroma that is quite similar to fish sauce. But add that to chicken and the deep fryer? And you’ve got prawn paste chicken (had jeong gai), a local favourite that graces almost every special occasion, family gathering, and children’s birthday party.
Trust me, this stuff is freaking delicious.