Anyone who knows Singapore knows that it is famous for two things – shopping and food! My wife happens to like both and is quite the foodie. Fortunately, her friend Abby was able to take us to some of the places local eat at rather than just the tourist spots.
The first food spot will definitely not be what you expect. We met Abby and went shopping before lunch. We went to the Tang Dept. store on Orchard Rd. My wife spotted a sign that said Krispy Kreme. She said “no way, it must be some knockoff”. When I said, no it is the actual name, she said “maybe it’s like those fundraisers in Alaska and Hawaii where people bring boxes of these on the plane from someplace that actually has Krispy Kreme. We went downstairs and found a no-kidding Krispy Kreme in the basement. Believe it or not this was their opening day. When went to the start of the line, my wife (who loves Krispy Kreme) asked the girl if they were hot. The girl was somewhat bewildered by the question and replied “well…they are warm”. Obviously they don’t train their staff on the vernacular of Krispy Kreme!
The doughnuts were SGD $2.60 each! Yes, that’s $20 USD for a dozen! I hope there are a lot of Krispy Kreme fanatics in Singapore.
After shopping Abby said it was time for lunch and we had to go to a “hooker center”. I asked her to say that again and heard the same thing. Now I like to think I am a free-thinking kind of guy, but going to a hooker center with my wife and her friend was a little too weird. Only later when we took a tour bus and they talked about going to a Hawker Center did I get what she was really trying to say! You would think after being married to a Filipina for 25 years, I would be used to understanding accents. A Hawker Center is their name for any small mall consisting of Mom and Pop shops and restaurants.
Ok, so we took a taxi to one in the suburbs of Singapore. Walking through I took a photo of something I smelled before I even saw it. A durian stand! I joked wife my wife about getting some and bringing it back with us – she was not amused. Passing by that, we went to a little outdoor restaurant that specialized in seafood. One of the best foods that Singapore is known for is crab, either chili crab or black pepper. We went for two of the black pepper ones along with an order of cereal shrimp. Weird name, but really we would call it shrimp with a panko coating. These gals are experts at demolishing a crab and the delicious food was gone in no time. The shrimp is that dish of crumbs in the middle with a dish of vegetables to the left and a couple of dishes of chili sauces. The whole meal cost me SGD $93 which is not bad for crab.
The next day we did more shopping (imagine that!) and came across a dim sum place in the basement of the Paragon Mall on Orchard Road. I had seen this same name so I guess it is a chain. The dim sum was not the traditional kind where they travel up and down the aisles with little carts and you grab what you want. Instead you order from a menu before you enter the restaurant and then they bring it to your table. This created one happy accident. I ordered Earl Grey tea with lemon and what actually arrived was a chilled sweetened ice tea, shown in the photo below. Fortunately hot jasmine tea was also served as a standard drink.
The wait was really long, but worth it. The shrimp and pork dumplings disappeared before I got a picture of them. Shown below are the buns filled with red bean paste and the chicken noodle soup. Note that this is not your Mom’s chicken noodle soup. The best part to Asians are the bones and joints! My wife was quite happy to give me the undesirable white meat and suck the marrow from the bones.
Here was something we saw near the Marina area. It was called white carrot cake which we would term a omlette. The black carrot cake looks like the same ingredients without the egg. Where they get the name carrot cake beats me and Abby couldn’t give us any answer.
Our final meal was at the Chinese restaurant in the basement of the Sheraton Towers. This was a white table-cloth affairs and the food was some of the best Chinese food we had ever had. I noticed that I was the only white guy in the place which is always a good sign that I am eating food that the locals consider the best.
The first dish was the best! Slices of duck breast and mango with glass noodles on the side. The lemon sauce made the whole thing a wonderful mix of tastes. Next is the filet that I got with some other roll of beef on the side. Very fatty and not to my tastes, but my wife really liked it. Finally the small order of roast chicken in a sesame sauce with peanut spread on the skin of the chicken. I thought they had accidentally given my the large order, but no the only charged me for the small. I can’t imagine how much food a large order would be! This first class meal was about USD $100.
Well that does it and I didn’t include the great breakfast at the hotel or some of the other snacks we had. An unbelievable variety of tastes in this fantastic city.