Saturday, January 18, 2014

Singapore - The Food!

Gus and I finally made it to Singapore.  Craig went last year for a conference, so this was his second time. To start off, let's talk about the food.  It was fantastic. We totally forgot to take pictures of a lot of what we ate because it looked/smelled so good we just dove right in. We didn't get any pictures of the Hawker Centres we went to, either.  I think that was because they sent me into sensory over-load. Hawker Centres are buildings filled with different food stalls.  In the past, according to the Singapore Art Museum, hawkers would take carts (often attached to bicycles) around to different neighborhoods, cooking up and selling their food.  The country wanted to make sure they were getting their cut from sales, so they forced the Hawkers into set locations.  These places are big, loud, crowded, and there are 100 different smells.  On the first day, Gus and I went in with Craig but it was a little overwhelming trying to navigate with a stroller and everyone reaching out to touch my baby.  Gus was quite the attraction and, literally, 50 people probably reached out to rub his arm, cheek or head.  This was all done kindly and he loved it but I was ready to start charging. For the rest of the week Craig would venture inside while we waited in the shade.

 On the first night we went to a Malay restaurant, Zam Zam. Craig found it on the wikitravel page for Arab Street.
 The pancake thing, murtabak, is stuffed with mutton, you could also pick chicken, deer, or beef. You eat it was the peanut sauce.  It was one of Gus and my favorites.
 We also ordered this rice, nasi briyani. Good, but I would have taken a second pancake instead.
 For breakfasts we went across the street to
 Jollibean. They had delicious pancakes (mee chiang kueh) with ground peanuts, yams, or anko inside.
 They also had fresh fruit/soymilk smoothies. Gus enjoyed the papaya.
 We had lunch at Annalakshmi.  A free Indian buffet with the philosophy - "Eat to your heart's content, Pay what your heart feels." Yup, you can eat for free but it is so good I can't imagine not giving something in thanks.
 We stuffed ourselves at the buffet so we didn't have dinner before the night safari and went straight to dessert afterwards.  We got the banana split in an attempt to be healthy.
For lunch, we went to Din Tai Fung, a nice Taiwanese chain restaurant with lots of locations in Singapore. According to the NY Times, it's one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. They are famous for their Chinese buns. Gus got his own dish set featuring smiling buns. He liked the noise they made when banged against the table or dropped on the floor.
 Wontons in black sesame and chili oil.
 Bun stuffed with pork and chili crab. They were really good and surprisingly not oily.
 For dessert, almond custard with black sesame sauce.
 This Indian restaurant, Komala Vilas, Craig went to last year and remembered how much he liked it. He got a biryani plate.
 I got the dosa. The manager entertained Gus (or Gus entertained the manager) most of the time we were there. Apparently they usually only serve the dinner sets on the second floor; we were told this after we'd already sat down and ordered. I think the manager saw the annoyed look on our faces when we contemplated taking Gus back out of the high chair and wrangling him up a narrow flight of stairs and decided to make an exception for us. It also meant he got to hang out with Gus.
 While flying to Singapore we sat next to a really nice guy who lived there and took the time to write out some suggestions for us.  He told us that if we want chili crab, we should try a place called Jumbo Seafood. Of course we wanted chili crab. We also wanted to try scallops with yam ring,
duck and mango salad,
 and noodles.
 The chili crab was as good as we'd hoped. We were taking turns sitting next to Gus and it was Craig's turn at Jumbo - "you could starve while trying to get crab meat out of these shells and deal with a baby." He said something like that; I wasn't really listening. The food was too good.

On our last day we relaxed by the pool.  I could not resist drinking from a coconut.

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