Mark Sisson calls bone marrow “the first reliable source of large, fatty animal products our scrappy ancestors were able to procure… It’s made of osteoblasts (which form bone cells using minerals), adipocytes (fat cells), fibroblasts (which form connective tissue), and osteoclasts (which are responsible for bone resorption).”
It is about as caveman a food as you can get. It’s messy and requires gnawing and sucking on a bone.
My Malay friend Hussein brought me to Lavender for bone marrow recently. In Singapore, this is known as soup tulang. It’s a Tamil Muslim dish that was invented in Singapore and consists of mutton bones with the marrow intact.
We arrived at M A Deen Biasa on a weekday night and the restaurant was largely empty. They claim to be the King of Soup Tulang, which is quite a bold statement considering that the most famous stall is supposed to be Haji Kadir & M Baharudeen at Golden Mile.
We ordered the soup tulang, which comes in three sizes from small to large, as well as a bowl of kambing soup, which is a spicy broth of mutton soup.
The soup tulang came covered in a bright red sauce. Hussein said the sauce was made from tomato puree and some chilli. I didn’t really like the sauce because it was slightly sweet and tasted like sugar had been added to it.
The meat itself was very tasty. There wasn’t much meat on the bone per se but the prize was the marrow inside the bones. There are two methods to get the marrow out. Hussein’s preferred way was to turn it upside down and knock it out. But doing that will cause the red sauce to splatter on you. I chose the daintier way of sucking the marrow out using the straw provided. The marrow was utterly delicious. It tasted like a combination of fat and jelly. I really enjoyed using my hands to eat. I felt like a cavewoman with the spoils of my hunt.
The kambing soup, in contrast, was less spectacular. The broth was thick and tasty but there wasn’t enough meat. It was decent but not the best I’ve tasted.
Apart from these two dishes, my three dining companions ordered chicken murtabak, briyani and mee goreng. They declared that these dishes were delicious as well.
Eating at M A Deen Biasa was a good experience for me. The highlight was of course the soup tulang. However, I didn’t feel like it was good enough for a second visit because I was put off by the sweet red sauce, although I am now inspired to roast my own bone marrow at home with just salt and pepper. I think it would also make a great bone for my dog to chew on.
M A Deen Biasa
95 Jalan Sultan, Singapore 198998