Hello, my name is Sophia, and I am a Sleeporexic.
There. Phew. Now I feel better.
Yes indeed, I think I have a problem with sleep. It doesn’t matter that research continuously stresses the important of a full 8-hour night’s sleep.
I get guilty—horribly guilty—when I sleep more than 7 hours. Why? Because I feel like I’m slacking off.
Walk into my journalism classes, and you’ll always see at least two seats empty. Why? Because they are catching up on their sleep. Or finishing up a last-minute assignment after staying up all night for a political science paper.
One of my classmates rushed into the middle of class panicking because he had closed his eyes “accidentally” in the library to a 4-hour nap.
There is a girl in my class whom I think is very pretty…if only she could get rid of the dark circles and yellow tinge on her face (sign of too many all-nighters).
Every time, I hear my fellow journalism classmates wail, “I only got 12 hours of sleep the entire week!” or “Oh my God! Why oh why did I choose a journalism major?” or “Those f**king PR majors have it so easy…”
I think if someone were to make a movie out of my class, it would be of a bunch of zombie staggering the halls of USC with a notepad and camcorder in hand.
Well, ever since I dropped my art class, I slept 10-12 hours a day for the next couple of weeks. The snooze buzz gets hit over and over again because when I don’t have a good enough reason to wake up, my lazy body takes over and just wants to continue lying around.
If any of my classmates knew about my sleep quota, they would be salivating with bitter jealousy.
But you know how I feel? I feel horrible. And jealous of them and their busy, sleepless schedules.
I know. That’s why I say I have Sleeporexia (coined by my witty friend Eden). I have a very disordered attitude towards sleep.
To me, less seems better because apparently that means I’m “doing” something other than acting like a corpse. And I know, logically, it is crazy, that my production level goes down, my emotion stability goes haywire, blah blah blah…but I can’t help it.
My instinct response to a full 8-hour sleep is immediately: “Shit, I slept too much.” Or “shit, I just wasted time.”
This leads to me thinking, “Well, I already blew it, so why not just sleep till I freaking die?” which leads me to sleeping 4 hours more and then crawling out of bed with an aching head and a dry throat.
Am I the only one having such disordered thoughts towards sleep? I blame America and its competitive “work hard, harder, hardest” culture. Because back when I was in Singapore, the more sleep I had, the happier I was. Now it’s the opposite.
I need to return to who I was Singapore. Well, maybe not entirely, because I was a lazy ox back in Singapore; all I did was read trashy novels and daydream in class.
I just need to find a good balance. But how?
Before I think too deeply on that, perhaps I should eat something. Because, you know, thinking burns tons of calories.
And which food is more appropriate for this than Singaporean food? Perhaps it will somehow inspire me to adopt back the blasé, natural attitude I had towards sleep when I was living in Singapore.
Just a while ago, I met up with my new friend Daina. If you recall, she was last year’s L.A. Times intern, the same spot I will be working in this summer. We met up again because she is super cool and we have a devious plan to one day rule the L.A. Times together.
Anyway, there is a new hotspot open in Little Tokyo, and it is called The Spice Table. But unlike most other Asian eateries dotting Little Tokyo, this one isn’t Japanese or fusion. It features a dominantly Singaporean menu.
Obviously, I HAD TO visit this place. And Daina, being a closet foodie, was excited to try it as well.
After a whole day of chasing after the downtown people asking for interviews (don’t ask), I finally met up with Daina in the evening and we trudged down to The Spice Table.
We didn’t make reservations. Big mistake. The place was packed. The hostess told us that it would be at least a 40 minute wait, and that the only seats available would be at the bar. We pouted, but what could we do? We left my cell phone number and decided to walk around Little Tokyo.
10 minutes later, the hostess called us and said someone left early and we could have an hour of table space until the next reservation group came. Score!!
The Spice Table is a small, bare-bricked restaurant that annoyingly only opens for dinner. But the interior is pretty interesting and hip, like the bare light bulbs encased in South-East Asian style bird cages. I tried to get a picture of that but the picture turned out horribly dim.
But I did try to get a decent pictures of the food at least. The following pictures aren’t that great, but it didn’t matter so much because the food was AWESOME.
When I saw Otah in the menu, I just knew I had to order it, despite the fact that at $14, it was one of the more expensive dishes. But it’s my most most most favorite dish in Singapore, and I was curious to see how close The Spice Table would hit the flavors of the nostalgic Singaporean street food.
I was a bit dismayed at first when I saw this:
Uh…three single otah sticks for $14?! You’re freaking kidding me. It’s 60 cents in Singapore!
In case you’re wondering, otah is a fish pate, a smooth, spicy concoction of fish, coconut milk, and various complex spices. The paste is stuffed into a banana leaf and then grilled until charred and fragrant.
Do you now understand why I had, absolutely had to order this? Luckily, it didn’t fail me. One bite and it silenced my whining. It was slightly different from the ones I remember from my childhood.
The meat was better quality and the heat level was sharper; instead of an even, mellow spiciness, the spice was mild until it whipped the back of your mouth at the very moment before you swallowed.
Mm. Yummy. I think even Lequan would approve.
The second dish was another that I thought was overpriced, but forgivable. We got the Hainanese Chicken Rice:
It’s probably Singapore’s national dish. It’s supposed to be an economical dish because you use up almost all the chicken parts: the flesh, the bones, the fat. But at $12, it wasn’t made not so economical.
Bah. Los Angeles.
I guess once again, the quality was better than the ones at Singaporean hawker centers. The chicken was most probably organic and free-range, and instead of chopping up the meat and bones, the chef left it whole and artistically arranged on the plate.
And boy oh boy, the chicken was FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!! After eating countless of frozen chicken breasts, you kind of forget how good chicken really is. This piece of chicken thigh was fall-of-the-bone tender; every inch of the minimally seasoned flesh was flavorful and rich with its own juices.
As for the rice? It’s not just bland white rice. It’s rice that has been coated with pure chicken fat, simmered in chicken stock, garlic and ginger. I challenge you to find more flavorful rice than this.
Actually, I’ll spare you the trouble. You won’t.
The dish came with a trio of dipping sauces, which you didn’t really need:
(From left) Garlic cilantro sauce, spicy sambal, and hoisin sauce.
Now. For the last dish. This dish isn’t Singaporean, but I had to order it because every reviewer on Yelp raved about it. Behold the star of the night, the Fried Cauliflower:
AAAAAAHHH! I swoon!
I’m munching on peanut M & M’s while I’m typing this, and they taste like sawdust compared to these wonderful, glorious, ethereal golden crunchies.
Every white nugget had been lightly battered then popped into the deep fryer just long enough until the exterior was gold and crunchy, and the interior was slightly firm yet juicy.
Forget raw salads. I am convinced that every damn vegetable ought to be deep-fried. If I had the money I would hire a professional deep-fry chef to fry all my veggies.
Okay, I’ve cleared my thoughts. In order to cure me from my Sleeporexia, I need to go to treatment center where they will feed me Singaporean food three meals a day. Plus snacks.
Hey, my Sleeporexia is very serious. It requires more than one meal. It needs intensive care. And I say that care is Singaporean food.
I think it makes sense, doesn’t it? No? Perhaps I’ll let you sleep on that one.
Question of the Day: Any fellow “Sleeporexics” out there? I’m lonely.