Tag Archives: Singapore

Little Creatures Pale Ale

26 Mar

Singapore isn’t a place I get excited about drinking a beer, since it’s mostly mild lagers like Tiger (good with spicy food, but that’s about all I can say for it) and other similar beers. Plus, a single beer can easily cost $10-$15 US.

But holing up during a downpour over the weekend, I came across a bar with Little Creatures Pale Ale- excellent. Hops reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest, but leaning towards spruce or balsam instead of pine. My favorite Australian beer and up there in my favorite pale ales overall.

Laksa

23 Mar

I just had Laksa for the first time, for breakfast, and I think I’m in love (I do like a savory start to the day).

A spicy broth with coconut milk and chili paste, noodles, sliced fish cake, two hard-boiled eggs, fried tofu, shrimp, rice noodles, some other unidentified chewy bits that I think were seafood, and I’m sure other spices or broth ingredients I didn’t recognize:

Pepper Crab!

22 Mar

Delicious “Sri Lankan Black Pepper Crab” from Long Beach Seafood (their signature dish). No single bite was too spicy, but the peppery butter accumulated in a slow burn… I feel only a little guilty for devouring a 2lb crab myself.

Chicken Rice at Bukit Batok 109

20 Mar

(still good the second time)

image

Scenic Drinks in Singapore

26 Jan

Along with eating in Singapore, I had drinks at a few memorable places.

The stout and blonde at the scenic Level 33 brewpub were my favorite:

I had an unremarkable beer (maybe a Tiger?) on the rooftop deck at Prelude, a bar above the Boathouse restaurant adjacent to the Fullerton Hotel. Another nice place to spend a balmy winter evening.

Finally, I had a “Tony Stark” (a transparent and successful attempt to sell a “manly” cocktail): it involved caramelized pineapple and black pepper, and was cute but a waste of money at $24 Singaporean ($18 US)). The 57th-floor views from the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino made up for that, though:

Eating in Singapore

25 Jan

If a few days of eating near Shanghai let me down, eating in Singapore blew me away– the food was so consistently good, and varied. And some of my best experiences were street food or other inexpensive food (I already posted some photos of my amazing chicken rice experience at 109 Bukit Batok, West Avenue 6). Some other photos:

The Maxwell Road Hawker Center (near Chinatown), a combination indoor/outdoor bazaar of many independent food vendors.

In particular,  I had the grilled whole mackerel with grilled chicken, rice, chili, and pickles from the “Japanese and Korean BBQ” stall, and it was fantastic:

I also heard that Halal Seafood and Tian Tian Chicken Rice stands in the Maxwell Hawker Center were good, but I didn’t get to try them.

Roti prata (fried flour-based pancake, almost like a naan but a bit thinner, with a curry dipping sauce), also from a stand in the same hawker center (I don’t remember the exact name):

Getting even further away from the shiny new hi-rises to the Arab Quarter and the Mustafa Center, a sprawling many-block-long complex of grocery stores, housewares, moneychangers, and other shops.  Here, there were three long aisles of only different kinds of rice:

A whole aisle end cap of ghee…

And durian, which I didn’t try, alas (though apparently I wouldn’t have been able to bring it on the subway afterwards…)

Peeling and eating longan (a.k.a. dragon eye), which I know is common in Southeast Asia, but I’d never had it. It was something like a lychee in taste and a grape in texture, and the solid seed inside was a surprise. I liked it quite a bit.

I saw someone making this roti prata in a random street stall near Mustafa’s, perhaps on Serangoon Road, and had to get it (it was fine, but the one from the Maxwell Hawker Center was better):

Tangentially related, an elegant museum exhibit of spices, behind an exhibit on street food:

Rambutan:

Sugar cane juice, fresh squeezed in a mechanical press, from a street stall:

Another day, as part of a big group lunch with hosts: a salad including raw fish, shredded radish, and many other ingredients, which we stood around and tossed / mixed together communally with our chopsticks to celebrate the New Year. A later Google search suggested this is yusheng a.k.a. “prosperity toss”.

I asked for something spicy, and they brought out very hot red peppers in vinegar as a condiment. Two pieces mixed into a pile of rice was enough, four pieces was painful. But it had real flavor– it wasn’t just a macho spice experience.

One evening, I went down to Boat Quay, where dozens of open-air restaurants crowded along the water. At an Indian place (perhaps Haldhi? I’m not sure), I had a whole sea bass, prepared tandoor style. It was what I wanted– protein and not too rich a sauce, and was good, but not great (other people I ate with had the same feeling about the restaurant). Part of the attraction here was to be eating in balmy evening weather along the water, in a bustling cheery area.

At one point in the trip, I had a mango jelly with chunks of fresh mango) with tapioca pearls and condensed milk– quite good.

There was more eating packed into the week, but this was the most memorable food.

Singapore Hainanese Chicken Rice

24 Jan

Chicken rice tops chili crab as an informal national dish of Singapore, and locals have strong and differing opinions about whose is best (FD said he’s heard it rivals the “Best Mission Burrito” religious wars).

Generally, it’s rice cooked in chicken fat and broth, giving a rich, meaty flavor on its own, topped with cooked chicken (typically bone-in dark meat with skin), along with some ginger and chili paste.

Simple in concept, and yet so delicious!

My favorite version of it (shown above) was from the “Roasted Delights” stand in informal cafe a local liked, at 109 Bukit Batok, West Avenue 6. In fact, this might be my favorite meal in Singapore (and at under $2 US, I enjoyed it more than the twenty-times-as-expensive fancy Indian restaurant Rang Mahal, which I thought was good but overrated).

I’ve also read online that many people like the Tian Tian Chicken Rice stand in the Maxwell Hawker Center, but I didn’t get a chance to try that during my brief visit to Singapore. Next time, perhaps.

Other trivia from a museum exhibit I saw there on the history of Singapore street food: “Originating from Hainan Island, China, chicken rice was originally eaten as hand-rolled rice balls (bui jin in Hainanese), as the round shape represented harmony and family cohesion. This practice started to face from the 1950s, partly due to government laws requiting hawkers to conform to hygiene standards in the preparation and serving of food.”

Sleuthing addendum: I actually didn’t remember the name or address of the place I’d had my favorite chicken rice above– all I had to go on was this nondescript photo I’d snapped on the street outside it, and the knowledge that it was in or near the Bukit Batok neighborhood:

However, through the magic of Google Street View, I was able to browse around the virtual streets in that area and find a collection of buildings that matched, even if the awning has faded, and track down the address. Success!

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