My mother assures me that such is the case for all people as we grow older. Now don't get me wrong, I am still a good many years away from the geriatric ward but some evenings I cannot but help wish, that I was back at the food court (an embellished term for hawker center) in Ang Mo Kio or Bishan (in Singapore) enjoying a large plate of green beans stir-fried with ground pork and other such humble delights.
Since Singapore (and Australia) remain a 24 hour flight & an ouchie-to-our-pocket away, its best I whip up my hearts yearnings in my own kitchen.
When you first open the package or the bottle, it smells of old fish -- which it is. It is called balachan in Singapore & Malaysia and the amazing thing about dried shrimp & shrimp paste (which is never eaten raw) is that once it's cooked, it does what anchovy paste does for Italian cooking - the flavors and odors mellow & give a wonderful, salty, complex undertone to the dish.