19 Jan Singapore 2015
This post is way overdue, but better late than never! I stopped over in Singapore for two days on the way back to Melbourne and spent virtually all my time eating, sightseeing and walking everywhere. No time for shopping! Unfortunately I didn’t realise how terrible most of my photos were until I got home – sorry in advance – but they still help document my time there.
I actually ate at Saboten on the way out from Australia, and it supposedly has some of the best katsu in Singapore. I ordered the loin katsu (21SGD), though oyakodon (22SGD) was also looking nice. After ordering I regretted not getting the oyakodon because I realised what I really wanted was some home-style food. Oh well. I was first brought a giant bowl of shredded cabbage with sourish dressing and sesame sauce, a few pieces of baby octopus in quite a strong red-coloured sauce, a little bowl full of black and white sesame seeds and a pestle to grind them.
Then the katsu and miso came. The katsu was only OK. The bottom was soggy, even though it had been resting on a metal rack. There was green tea ice cream as the dessert, which was quite a bit more icy rather than creamy. When I was paying I was hit with a 10% service charge and 7% GST because I didn’t read the fine print on the menu, so the meal ended up being ~25SGD.
On my first proper day in Singapore my cousin and her husband took me to breakfast at a place that does mainly paratha and thosai. The menu ranged from 1.8~3SGD. I ordered a plain paratha, an onion thosai and a teh tarik. The paratha was incredibly crispy – probably lots of lard, but so yummy. The thosai was OK; some of the onion was a bit raw for my liking.
After exploring the area around Maxwell Centre I took a bus up to the Zion Riverside Food Centre. My plan was to try either the No. 18 Zion Rd Kway Teow (which is closed on alternate Mondays) or the Lau Goh Chye Thow Kwey. Both of the stalls are well known. My cousin said she hadn’t come across a char kwey teow she liked in Singapore due to it being more sweet than the Malaysian version, so I was more interested in the chai tow kway. Unfortunately they’d literally just sold the last plate when I got there, so I joined the line for CKT. It wasn’t a bad plate of CKT, but sweeter than I like. As for the photo…well, I really don’t know how to make a plate of hawker food look pretty!
From there I explored Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, then took the Helix Bridge to the Esplanade area. While walking along the bay I bought a coconut ice cream for 5SGD, topped with peanuts from Co Nut Ink. It was more like coconut water ice, served in the coconut shell and with a bit of coconut flesh. It also came with a cup of coconut water, but I couldn’t stomach it or the flesh lining the coconut shell (I’ve had a bad experience with fresh coconut before and haven’t been able to eat it since).
My cousins took me to Hua Yu Wee for dinner. It’s a restaurant that still sits on a rather large block of land that used to be on the seaside before the land was reclaimed.
We started with prawn sashimi, crispy baby octopus and some veggies. They also ordered seafood noodles, which had a very similar flavour to wat dan hor.
The crispy-skinned roasted chicken was very good. Even the breast pieces were really tender and the fat had been rendered so it was almost all gone.
The main event was the salted egg yolk crab, which was cooked very well and packed with flavour. The claw piece I tried pretty much fell straight onto my plate from the shell.
In the morning I took a bus to Bedok to try the mee chiang kueh at Blk 58 on New Upper Changi Road. When I was doing the research I didn’t know the shop was within a market (both a wet market and hawker centre). There were heaps of peanuts in the fluffy pancake, but still not really my kind of thing. It was only 70c though, and walking there also gave me an understanding of how to read Singaporean addresses.
Later I passed near Maxwell Food Centre again so I thought I should try Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. The line was long because lunch hour had just begun. It took about 20 minutes to get to the front, but the chicken rice was rather good. The rice was fragrant and the sauce they used was very, very tasty. The chicken was also tender despite me getting all breast parts. From what I’ve heard, the 20 min wait might not be as long as what some other people have had to experience.
Because of my disappointment of not being able to try the chai tow kwey yesterday at Zion Riverside Food Centre, I then set off to Redhill via the MRT to try the Fu Ming chai tow kwey at Redhill Food Centre. I couldn’t find it. I asked a couple of the cleaners but none of them had any idea. One other stall owner said it was ‘no more’ when I asked, but I wasn’t too sure if she was referring to the chai tow kwey store or her own food, given she was in the middle of closing up shop. There was another stall called Delicious Fried Carrot Cake. I hadn’t heard of the stall before, but thought I may as well try because I wasn’t sure if I’d have another opportunity to have it. They had both black and white versions. I had the black. It wasn’t bad, but not as crispy as I’d remembered the one in Malacca (in Malaysia). I also wondered if the one in Malacca was as sweet.
I then took the MRT to the Kampong Glam area. I had a nice chicken curry and beef rendang at Rumah Makan Minang (~11SGD) then walked along Arab Street and Haji Lane. I was surprised to find many Mexican restaurants along Haji Lane, and a lot of artistic graffiti on the buildings, giving the street a nice vibe. I also saw a hipster café called ‘I Am…’ where all the staff were dressed like…old school European hipsters.
I took the MRT to Orchard Rd to see what it was like, though I had no intention of buying any clothes. At the ION food court I tried a trio of kwey tu tu from Lau Tan’s Tutu Delights. There was a coconut, a peanut and red bean one for 3SGD all together. They were pretty dry so I only took a bite of each to taste.
I also had a curry puff from Old Chang Kee because I’d heard they were nice. It was only OK.
For my final meal in Singapore I was taken to East Coast Lagoon food village for dinner so I could have hawker food. We had oh chien (from Song Kee), satay (there were heaps of satay stalls and I’m not sure which one we bought them from), white chai tow kwey and rojak. The food was quite nice, but I was ridiculously full and couldn’t finish the sugarcane drink I had. The oysters in the oh chien were fat and juicy, and there was a decent number of them too.
It was only a short stay but I really enjoyed myself. The last time I came to Singapore was 17 years ago so there was so much to see and do.