Savouring the Commando Culture – Changi Village
By The Editorial Team, 1st Commando Battalion
40th Anniversary Commemorative Book “RED”
October 8, 2015
Having been situated in Hendon for over 40 years, Changi Village (once known as Changi Point) has become one of the Commandos’ favourite hangouts. Due to its proximity to Hendon Camp and the wide selection of delicious food, many Commandos regularly visit the area to have a good supper, to relax with friends, or simply, to take a break from life in camp. Coupled with the fact that Commandos love to eat (they eat as much as they train), the cuisine in Changi Village has naturally become an integral part of the Commando culture.
Red Tea Longan is known as the "Commando Dessert" but few know why it is named as such. Many suspect it has something to do with the Red Beret but the name was actually coined by soldiers from other units. Seeing the Commandos frequent the dessert stall ordering the same Red Tea Logan time after time, the dessert became known as the "Commando Dessert", and the name has stuck till today.
5th Coy is a dessert made of red jelly, mango syrup, sea coconut and nata de coco. The owner’s son was once in 5th Company, and chose these ingredients to create an off-the-menu dessert, and till this date, this dessert is still extremely popular with the current soldiers in 5th Company. Similarly, 6th Coy, a dessert of red tea jelly, chinchow jelly, sea coconut and nata de coco was created by an ex-6th Coy solider.
Jipa hor fun and nasi lemak are perhaps two of the most iconic dishes in the Changi Village Hawker Centre. There are a number of stalls offering the nasi lemak set (International & Mizzy’s Corner) and there is much disagreement as to which is the best. Nevertheless, a meal of fragrant coconut rice and a crispy chicken wing from any stall never fails to satisfy the hunger of any Commando. The jipa hor fun stall is so popular that it occupies two units of stall space in the newly renovated hawker centre. It boasts the best fried chicken cutlet for miles around, and anyone would be hard-pressed if asked to find a better one. The noodles are equally mouth-watering, paired with the signature sauce; a visit to Changi Village would not be complete without sampling the dish.
In the past, there was a dispatch service that would deliver supper straight to the Hendon Camp guardroom. It was customary for guard duty personnel to order the set meal of jipa hor fun, nasi lemak and Red Tea Longan, clearly reflecting the prominence of these dishes in Commando culture.