Monday, September 14, 2009

Singapore: Miscellaneous eats

I arrived in Singapore on a late Thursday night a few weeks ago. Before that, the last time I landed in Changi was when I was about ten years old, which is longer than I care to remember... So this was all new to me - the airport, the streets - nothing looked familiar at all. It felt strange, as if my last visit was just a story my parents made up.

All this means I prepared for this trip like it was a completely foreign place. I trawled the internet, asked friends and family, and consulted travel guides. I tried to go to as many places on my list as possible, but in reality, given the horribly wet weather and our nice hotel rooms, we stayed in and were lazy and not entirely adventurous...

We landed, dropped our bags, and went for supper at Makansutra Glutton's Bay, Esplanade, which was recommended as one of the best places for hawker food. It started raining as soon as we got off the cab so we hid under the umbrellas at the open air hawker area and quickly gorged two plates - satays, which were wayyyyyy too sweet for me (but seems to be the norm in these parts - had similarly sweet satays in KL a month before) - so sweet that I've started calling them meat lollipops. The second thing was this stir fried carrot cake (actually turnip, but carrot and turnip are sometimes called the same thing in Chinese), full of sweet (maybe a bit too sweet), thick soy sauce goodness. The cake was soft without being mushy, and maybe even a little elastic/chewy.

Chin Chin Eating House on Purvis Street - this wasn't on my list at all - we had wanted to go to Yet Con for chicken rice, but were lazing around in the hotel for so long that we got there just as they were closing. Hungry, we went into the first place we saw - Chin Chin across the street. The auntie recommended we have their 'famous' pork chop - we saw a prize they got from a certain "Green Guide" for their pork chops specifically - but it was a complete flop (I guess that can only mean that the reviewers of the "Green Guide", whatever it is, have vastly different taste from yours truly). We were luckier with the mutton claypot (above) which was kind of like a rich, Malaysian-style bah kut teh (as opposed to Singaporean BKT which tends to be lighter and more peppery) with mutton instead of pork ribs.

For our final dinner we went to Jumbo on Dempsey Hill, as I felt guilty that we'd not had crab in Singapore. Pepper crab really isn't my thing (crab in general, isn't) so I asked around for the best place for chilli crab - Jumbo seemed to come up most, although for convenience (we were staying on Sentosa at this stage) we didn't go to the one on East Coast. In hindsight, maybe we should have because I was quite disappointed with our meal here. The crab didn't taste fresh at all, the sauce was too tart, but otherwise it was quite flat and bland... The second photo is of something I've forgotten the name of, but it's basically a Chinese cruller (yau za guai in Cantonese or you tiao in Mandarin) filled with shrimp paste, coated in sesame seeds and deep fried. It sounded like the perfect crossover of the super-crisp and elastic, gluten cruller and the Eurasian favourite, shrimp toast, but alas, the cruller lacked any kind of gluten 'stretchiness' and the shrimp paste almost tasteless. In short, I wouldn't go back.

Our last meal - a lightening quick chicken rice after we grabbed souvenirs for our hungry Hong Kong friends who specifically requested that we get them barbequed pork slices from Lim Chee Guan. We wanted to walk to Maxwell Food Centre, but I had stupidly packed my map into my luggage and no one around us was helpful with directions, so after a sweaty detour down a random Chinatown street, we settled on Tiong Bahru Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice. For SG$2 I got a small plate of decent chicken rice and for another $1, a weird barley cordial (which was nothing like the refreshing barley beverages I had in Malaysia) that tasted like cold, sweet rice pudding. I think it was our cheapest meal in Singapore, and it was far from the worst.


  1. Looks like you'll be my Singapore food & travel consultant for when I make my journey!

  2. I'm certainly no expert, but more than happy to help!