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 what I thought was another roti prata [edit: but ended up being chapati, an unleavened flatbread] in a random street stall near Mustafa’s, perhaps on Serangoon Road, and had to get it:

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


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.

3 Responses to “Eating in Singapore”

  1. Anonymous November 29, 2014 at 2:16 am #

    Hi! Your blog’s great, and I’m really glad you enjoyed Singapore’s food (I’m Singaporean!). Just wanted to let you know that the second ‘prata’ you had is not a prata at all, it’s a chapati (an unleavened flatbread).

    • max November 30, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

      Ah, thanks for the correction! If I make it back to Singapore I’ll have to try more of them.


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