And yes, that IS a Carpenters’ song reference, and I’m back from Singapore!!
The holidays are never long enough I swear. So here’s a mammoth recap, because om nom nom nom…
We had BBQ Chicken wings on touchdown, naturally. These super shiny chicken wings are first marinated in a soy based mixture, then slowly barbecued over charcoal, and served up with a super spicy fresh chilli sauce and fresh lime! So addictive, I could eat at least 10 in a sitting.
And Satay. These thin skewers cost about $0.60 each, with a minimum order of 10, usually to share. I absolutely love the pork ones, because they thread small pieces of pure lard through the meat, resulting in a super delicious burst of fat through every bite!! Mmm pork fat.
Then we went on to something a little bit lighter: Samsui Chicken – poached chicken is served at room temperature with a soy based dressing, ginger sauce, cucumber and lettuce cups to eat the chicken in. This dish was created by the Samsui women of Singapore: Chinese women who migrated to become construction labourers in Singapore, and as part of the community, vowed never to marry. They are usually recognized by the red cloth hat that they wear to work.
450 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #01-10
Toa Payoh Hersing Centre
Phone: +65 6352 2889
And of course, you can’t go to Singapore without having Singapore Chilli Crab! All from No Signboard of course. Succulent mud crab is cooked in a thick sweet and spicy sauce, enriched with egg, and served up with deep fried mantou (milk buns) on the side to mop up all the delicious sauce.
No Signboard Seafood
414 Gelling Road
Phone: +65 68423415
Opening Hours: 12nn-1am
I know that Singapore has street food galore, but I must admit that I miss certain fast food items. The KFC in Singapore has Cheese Fries.
CHEESE FRIES, MAN. KFC AUSTRALIA, WHY U NO HAVE?
Sure, it’s not gourmet stuff, but it’s ridiculously satisfying in a junk food sorta way.
And while we were there, we tried the Tom Yum Chicken flavour that they had. Eh. The hot and spicy is better.
Also, as a matter of tradition, we visited the Kwan Yin Temple on Waterloo Street. Kwan Yin is the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, and we pray to her for good health and a general good year. Usually, we pick up the incense at the entrance, light it, and then pray to the sky, before praying to the goddess, who is situated in the temple. Then we head on inside, and give a small donation to 添油, which literally translates to “top up the oil”, referring to keeping the oil lamps going in the temple. You then pick up a small piece of candy on the dish, so that you can symbolically leave with sweetness in your life.
Kwan Yin Temple
178 Waterloo Street Singapore 187964
Phone: +65 6337 3965
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 6am-6pm
We also had a mini-holiday within the holiday, and were treated to a luxurious staycation at Marina Bay Sands by my Mum! Overlooking the city on one side and Gardens by the Bay on the other, this first class hotel also boasts the Sky Park and the Infinity Pool on the 57th floor, where you can enjoy a stunning view of the city while lounging in a massive 140m-long pool.
And like any hotel stay, there’s always a breakfast buffet to look forward to! And I do love an all-you-can-eat. Rise, located in the hotel’s lobby, offers up fresh fruit and salads, local delights, omelette stations, ham stations, cured fish, pastries, and other choices! The cured swordfish is my absolute favourite, but I just have a thing for cured fish.
Marina Bay Sands
Hotel Lobby, Tower 1
Phone: +65 6688 5525
Of if buffet breakfasts are not your thing, you can also try the local kaya toast with soft boiled egg! A set that includes the toast, eggs and coffee costs maybe $4 (?), and I just love how they include slices of butter within the kaya, and the warmth from the toast softens it slightly so that it melts in your mouth in every bite!
And if you’re a fan of the sweet/savoury combo, try dipping your kaya toast into the oozy soft eggs with a dash of dark soy and pepper.
For more local concoctions, you have to visit Por Kee Eating House. This is where the Cereal Prawn – a favourite amongst Singaporeans – was created. Malt, oats, curry leaves, chilli, dairy creamer, and butter are fried with fresh prawns, creating a crispy, sweet/savoury/spicy delicious bite that will leave you scraping the plate. Some people choose to peel the prawns, but they are just so darn crispy that I love eating the whole thing, as it is. While you’re there, get the Champagne Pork Ribs as well – these innocent looking ribs are an off-the-menu order, and the sticky coating is all sorts of wonderful, and especially delicious on a bowl of white rice.
Por Kee Eating House
69 Seng Poh Ln #01-02, Singapore 160069
Phone: +65 6221 0582
Nonya kueh is also a local delight that you just have to try. It refers to the cakes made by the Peranakan women – people descended of mixed ethnicity due to a large amount of immigration and the cultural melting pot in Southeast Asia. The result is a deliciously unique cuisine, which uses spices and coconut milk in quite typically Chinese cooking techniques.
This is a culture filled with elaborate rituals and traditions, and what better place to gain insight than the Peranakan Museum, located conveniently in the city. It brings you through the different types of Peranakan people, as well as showcases the beautiful artwork and embroideries that have been passed down from generation to generation. When you get your ticket at the door, they give you a little circle of paper that allows you to collect embossed stamps at different locations throughout the museum, turning it into a delightfully interactive experience!
39 Armenian St, Singapore 179941
Phone: +65 6332 7591
For more savoury options, dine at Peranakan restaurants in Singapore! They offer up classics like Ayam Buah Keluak – nuts from a mangrove tree are broken open, its contents scraped out, pounded to tenderise, before being stuffed back into the nut shells and cooked with spices, tamarind, and chicken into an aromatic stew. Bakwan Kepiting is also something else to try – flower crab meat is mixed with pork mince and bamboo shoot, and cooked into a clear soup that’s light on the palate.
Muslim Indian food is also crazy good, and if you like Roti Prata, then Murtabak might be up your alley. This filled cousin of the popular Southeast Asian flatbread is filled with chicken, mutton, or beef (and sometimes other, more exotic options), and cooked to a crisp and served with curry sauce on the side. One place known for their Murtabak is Zam Zam, which also serves up a mean plate of mutton Biriyani. Definitely go with a group to share the food though, and bring your patience, because the service there is pretty much as bad as the food is good.
Zam Zam Restaurant
697 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198675
Phone: +65 6298 6320
Remember Rojak that I mentioned in a previous post about Singapore foods?Well the one at Whampoa Hawker Centre is a particularly good version, including generous amounts of crunchy jellyfish in the black mix, adding a fantastic texture to the salad of turnip, apple, dried tofu, Chinese donuts, and shrimp molasses finished with peanuts. YUM.
90 Whampoa Drive
Phone: +65 6253 0137
And for the restaurant experience, do drop by Pince and Pints for some delicious fresh lobsters! The menu is crazy simple – you take your pick of grilled/steamed fresh lobster, chilli lobster, or lobster roll, and sit back and enjoy the meal. Succulent and briny, these lobsters are so much better than the pre-
overcooked stuff that is so commonly sold in Sydney. Such a treat, and I really have to thank my friend Yina for the recommendation and the dinner!
Pince and Pints
32-33 Duxton Road
Phone: +65 6225 7558
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 5pm-11pm, Sat, 12nn-11pm, Sun, CLOSED
And before we knew it, it was time to head back to Sydney. All too soon, and all too hungry!! Oh well, there’s always a next time!