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Every now and then, you get that craving for something savoury and satisfying but you aren't necessarily hungry. It's the kind of vacuum in your foodie soul that is best filled by foods such as sausages, satay, bak kwah, cheese, yakitori and potato croquettes.
Another really great snack to satisfy that umami craving has to be the otah! Whilst the more common form of otah are the ones served in coconut leaves, you are more likely to find stalls selling the banana leaf version when you are in the Joo Chiat or Katong area. That's because the Peranakans are widely accepted as the originator of this version.
Nothing beats a freshly grilled otah. The aroma of the chilli fish paste and the burnt banana leaf is probably one of the most alluring smells! Though I have always liked the usual mackeral otah, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the white fish (non-spicy) mackeral otah. I have never liked non-spicy otah because it tasted like ordinary fish cake to me. But this one was very different. It was spicy and savoury without the heat and the texture was soft and smooth. It had that special quality, and you could easily down five pieces at one go. It was that powerful!