Tag Archives: singapore

SEVERAL GIRLS GALORE

Some tail end highlights from my trip to Singapore included a crucial visit to Tiong Bahru Market for crispy, amber-skinned whole roasted suckling pig over steamed rice and a flimsy styrofoam plate of chai tow kway, or diced carrot, scrambled eggs, diced garlic, spicy soy sauce and scallions fried in peanut oil. Simple, addictive and super salty, I have never had anything like it in my life and probably never will again. We went back for our second dinner to the trendy waterfront restaurant Indochine, and while its postcard-ready location was superior its pricey, Thai-influenced offerings were so bland and forgettable compared to the woozy, cheap delights at Tiong Bahru.

I made a last-second stop by the luxury mall ION Orchard and picked up heart-printed stockings and an indigo tie-dye silk jumpsuit with deep pockets at Topshop which is total Mom style and also officially my first item of clothing with spaghetti straps. I’m a convert! Final Singapore note: Meredith, I thought of you when I took the last photo of LGF‘s feet at the Home Club on the riverfront!

FINAL STRETCH

[Photos from PULSE exhibition we visited in Singapore.] Helloo + sorry for the long-ish blog silence. After what feels like an eternity posting photos from my trip, I’m so eager to share post-Singapore Portland recipes — failed blueberry crumbles, addictive raspberry jam scones, cherries for breakfast, tomato and red onion salads, salmon on grilled bread, fried lamb livers in bacon fat.

LOVE ACTUALLY

Bali is an easy place to fall in love with, but I don’t mind working a little harder to find the magic in Singapore — like the three-story bookshop Books Actually, the fish ball noodle soup at the Maxwell Food Centre, the rooftop flowers at the Esplanade, or the vintage record shops in Chinatown. I also documented the one massive fail meal I had the entire time I was in Singapore. I had spent all day at the National Library doing research and was famished for lunch and headed down to the library cafe downstairs… so I unwisely picked at random the ‘pesto’ pasta dish and was confronted with a slimy, watery mess of noodles and mysterious gooey green sauce. Never again.

SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDEN: BLISS IN THE OTHER PART

More Singapore Botanic Garden flowers (and croissant and club sandwich, both of which were surprisingly tasty and my only non-Asian food of the trip). My only comfort now is being so far from so much beauty is that Portland has the best roses in the entire world.

Part one of flowers here.

SINGAPORE + MY FIRST EPIC PEPPER CRAB EXPERIENCE

Black pepper crab and chili crab are two of Singapore’s most iconic dishes, and while you can certainly buy crab at any cheap food hawker stall, we did it the super swanky way, at the waterfront Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant. We showed up without a reservation (mistake) but promised to be fast and were seated anyway and feasted like kings for less than an hour. The pepper crab was clearly the highlight of the evening — overzealous crab cracking resulted in stray shells shooting across our table like bullets and narrowly missing the back of a lady’s head at an adjacent table, oops — but I also loved the salt-crusted whole fish, fried seafood noodles, and buttery wilted greens. I did NOT care for the strange, sweet baby squid, which were crunchy and insect-like.

SINGAPORE MARKETS: LITTLE INDIA

I saw so many unfamiliar foods in Southeast Asia, and one of Singapore’s crowning jewels is definitely the chaotic neighborhood Little India, which is a sensational explosion of smells and sights and an essential antidote to the overwhelming sterility of the city’s futuristic shopping malls. No idea what many of these vegetables are, but rest assured I wanted to devour all of them in their colorful anonymity.

SINGAPORE IZAKAYA GRUB

Introduced to the concept of the izakaya while in Vancouver, I am officially addicted to the idea of eating copious amounts of snacks as a full meal. From top: spring vegetable tempura; warm mushroom salad with spicy wasabi dressing and deliciously runny egg; crispy tonkatsu with lemon wedges; ikura + crab roll; soft bean curd.

INFINITE CHOICE

One of my favorite parts about Singapore is the proliferation of cooked food centers, or hawker centers, huge partially outdoor markets with hundreds of tiny food stalls. Perhaps the most impressive is Lau Pa Sat (“old market” in the Hokkien dialect), Singapore’s first wet market, located in the middle of the downtown business district.

The amount of choice is staggering and I was basically picking things at random, guided purely by what looked good to me. As a result, half the time I wasn’t sure what I was eating, like this mystery fruit below. Any ideas?

SINGAPORE + POPCORN PLAYS: THE TENDER BEGINNINGS

Ah, Singapore. I honestly don’t know where to begin, although I do like that I began this post with a photo of our backyard pool. (!)

Singapore has been such a jumble of sensations — intense equatorial heat + steamy rainforest environs, unfamiliar + spicy food, and throngs of sweaty people. This first post about Singapore will inevitably be as disjointed as I have felt in the past two weeks.

My mom had a really lovely opening reception for her show that is up at the Substation. The opening was held the same night that I flew in from Syracuse, New York, and I was crushingly exhausted. 23 hours in an airplane will do that.

We celebrated afterward with a fancy dinner at the stunning periwinkle-blue dining room at the Royal China at the iconic Raffles Hotel downtown. There were other traditional Chinese dishes that night — including slivers of  asparagus, roast duck, and crispy seafood noodles — but I was too tired to document everything properly. I was happy to have been awarded the fish head, though. MINE!

There is a brand new casino in Singapore. If you are a Singaporean citizen, you have to pay $100 to enter! Smart, Singapore government. Looking out for the welfare of their possibly gambling-addicted denizens. Tourists pay nothing, and in the 30 minutes that we spent there wandering around aimlessly I won $50 playing roulette. I put a $5 chip on the 32-33-34-35 corner, won, and that was the only time I could bring myself to play. I hate gambling because I can’t handle the idea of throwing money away, but I have to admit that the rush of winning was exciting. The only bad part was the crazy ex-pat Bob Marley cover band jamming away in a lounge overlooking the craps floor.

Not much to explain here. Delicious smoked meats found in any mall in Singapore. God, I could write a month’s worth of posts just on how intense and prevalent shopping mall culture is here.

Delicious Asian-western fusion snacks like battered shrimp on sugar cane sticks with chili sauce and spicy beef carpaccio with cilantro, shallots and lime are more irrefutable proof that I exist on this planet for a very good reason: To eat my way through it.