Singapore – saving the best for last

On day 2 of our stay in Singapore, we made a list of everything we wanted to eat and realized that we would have to basically eat constantly for the rest of our vacation and even then we wouldn’t be able to taste it all.  We had a lot of amazing food in Singapore over the first 3 days, but on our last day in Singapore it was basically do or die (ok, not die, just never taste again) so this was a really food crammed day… and it was absolutely fantastic. Best.food.ever!  Are you guys ready? This is going to be A LOT to feast your eyes on ;)

We started the day a bit late and skipped breakfast in favor of saving room for lunch and other eats.  While waiting for No Signboard Seafood Restaurant to open for lunch, we relaxed by the Espanade. Beautiful!

The Esplanade

No Signboard Seafood is known for their chilli and white pepper crabs. Since the stuff is not cheap, we decided to split the chilli crab.  While waiting for it to cook, we munched on some peanuts we were served (and then were charged for… grrr).

peanuts and sauces

Chilli crab: fresh Sri Lanka crab cooked in robust chilli sauce flavored with prawn paste, garlic and many other spices.

chilli crab

The sauce was so incredibly flavorful – I wanted to drink the stuff!  Good thing we got little rolls to soak up all that deliciously nutty sauce. Yeah, it definitely tasted a bit nutty. A.mazing!

little rolls

The crab was really hard to eat. We were the only ones in the restaurant (it was only 11am) so the whole staff was staring at us while we were trying to not make complete fools of ourselves.  It was so embarrassing. I think we went through a pack of napkins and wet naps. No joke. Totally worth it though :D

To burn off some lunch calories (and make room for more food!) we went to Little India. Our guide book said it was just like the real India, without the confrontational side of it.

Little India

gorgeous colors

I have to say that despite the colorful picture above, the neighborhood was still a bit depressing looking – kind of dirty and sad.  We walked around a bit, and then went to check out another hawker center – the Newton Hawker Center.  Most of the shops were closed, but we enjoyed the space in peace and had some delicious drinks.

Adam at the Newton hawker center

Newton Hawker center

Adam got a beer and I got the sugar cane juice. It was so cool. The woman took a bunch of sugar canes, ran it through this machine that squeezed a bunch of juice out of it and topped it off with ice. Voila – sugar cane juice. This was really refreshing and so delicious. Adam thought it was overwhelmingly sweet. I found it to be mild. Weird, right? I loved it!

sugar cane juice

What did we do next? Went shopping (and ate) of course! This sounds kind of bad. Seriously we did not just stuff our faces all day, despite what this looks like. The crab didn’t actually have that much meat in it.  At least that’s what I tell myself so I can sleep at night ;) I clearly do not hold back on vacations :D

So while gift shopping, we stumbled upon one of many department store food courts…

supermarket "food court"

Adam was SO excited when he saw the octopus ball place (Tony Bourdain had these in his Tokyo episode). He liked them :)

Adam in front of the octopus ball place

I was having serious brownie withdrawals so I got a brownie. This looked amazing but was just ok. Helped with the brownie craving though :)

European style brownie in Asia

And then I saw this yogurt place (conveniently called “The Yogurt Place“). I thought it was frozen yogurt but they were giving out samples and I was so shocked that it was just greek yogurt with lots of mixins.  I didn’t realize how much I missed yogurt so I had to get a little cup of it as well :D They should have places like this in the States too. Maybe they do already – do you have one in your part of the country (or the world)?

greek yogurt with chocolate syrup and hazelnut chunks

And then we went back to the Newton hawker center…

back to the Newton hawker center

And had 2 things the locals we met at the cooking class said we absolutely had to try: string ray and oyster omelet.  Both sounded kind of weird, but I insisted that we try them since they were highly recommended… and I’m so glad we did!

Sting Ray shop

sting ray with sambal

Adam digging in

I love sting ray

And so does Adam :)

The sting ray tasted like a very light flaky fish. The sambal over it was really what made the dish special. Actually the sambal tasted just like the one we made so that was pretty cool. If you like fish and ever see string ray on the menu, don’t be afraid of it. Actually I’d even go as far as to say that it’s fish for fish haters – really, it did not taste fishy at all!

Oyster omelette shop

oyster omelette

The oyster omelette was more of a brave move. It was all fried so it didn’t taste bad. In fact it tasted quite nice, especially with that hot sauce on the side, but the texture of the oysters was definitely a little funky. Adam (to his surprise) liked the dish so while he was picking at it, I went to town on the string ray. Ha.

And then there were drinks… :)

We started with a roof top bar called the Loof.  It was conveniently located close to our hotel and we really enjoyed this spot. Roof top bars are the best! :D

The Loof decor

The Loof bar

The Loof Life: rum, pineapple, lychee, juicy lime chunks and fresh mint springs. Best drink of the trip!

drinking the Loof Life cocktail

It was pouring very lightly outside so the drinks were 2 for 1 (bar policy). We stayed perfectly dry under the roof so this was definitely a bonus.  I didn’t complain though, that’s for sure, and got another one of these babies :)

The Loof Life cocktail

After round 2, we headed to the New Asia Bar at the Swissotel the Stamford.  The place was gorgeous (standby picture from their website since my camera did not do the place justice)…

New Asia bar decor

The Stamford is tallest hotel in the world, so the view from the New Asia Bar was sick ;)

My drink, however, was not :( I got the sangria blanca: fresh orange, lime and lemon muddled with sugar, laced with Patron tequila, Grand Marnier, apricot liquor, and light dry and fruity wine topped with soda. Sounds good, right? Yeah, not so much.

sangria blanca

It’s ok, I probably had enough food and drinks by then and just enjoyed the scenery. It was an excellent last day of the trip. I didn’t want to go back home the next morning!

Singapore – Anthony Bourdain’s way

Sorry for being completely MIA since the end of last week.  I honestly don’t know what happened. It was nice out, we were busy, then I was tired and thought that if I blogged it would be a really boring post.  My dad actually called me this morning asking if I was ok because I haven’t blogged in a while.  Oops :oops: My loyal readers, you know I’m usually much more consistent with posts, and new readers that came after finding out about the Country Bob’s sauce giveaway (btw, don’t forget to enter, if you haven’t already… only 1 day left!) – I promise I’ll be better in the future. I don’t want you to leave me :D

So anyways, let’s move on to the fun stuff. I can pretend I’m back in Singapore.  Actually it was over 90* here in Boston today (gorgeous weather!), so it was a little bit like Singapore :)  Did I ever mention why we went to Singapore? If I did, here is a reminder:

  1. It’s 90* there during winter (when it’s freezing cold in Boston)
  2. Anthony Bourdain says Singapore is a foodie heaven.

Hey, we’re foodies and we like warm weather – winter vacation spot picked! :D By the way, Anthony Bourdain is my husband’s idol.  I’m not kidding – the man changed the way my husband eats. So yeah, we take Tony’s (we’re on first name basis here – why not ;) ) word and recommendations very seriously.  That’s why our very first chicken rice (probably Singapore’s favorite dish!) had to be from the hawker center seen on No Reservations, and the lunch from today’s post was also Tony inspired.

But first, we had to have breakfast.  Not just any breakfast – a locals’ favorite – Kaya toast at Ya Kun Kaya Toast (hehe, do you think they sell Kaya toast there?).  Kaya is a coconut jam made of coconut milk, sugar and eggs.   Ya Kun had so many different toast combos with kaya. I was indecisive but finally got the kaya french toast and coffee.

Kaya french toast

+ coffee

I was expecting a strong coconut flavor, but instead this was just a sugary jam.  It was a very unique (and pleasant) flavor, but I would not say it was coconuty. I guess because there is only coconut milk and not actual coconut flakes in it.  Anyways, I enjoyed this breakfast and it fueled me well for lots of window shopping and walking around Singapore.

shopping on Orchard Road

inside one of the malls

gorgeous weather!

And then it was time for lunch! Straits Kitchen at the Hyatt by Orchard Road looked so good on No Reservations, we knew we had to go there.  What we didn’t realize at first is that it was buffet style food. Good thing we were hungry because we needed to get our money’s worth ;) This is the most beautiful buffet restaurant I’ve ever seen in my life… just look at it!

the Hyatt decor

mmm rice

last pic of the decor (+me)

the juice bar

The juice bar was so cool. I tried rose petal juice (it definitely tasted like rose petals but it didn’t taste like I was drinking flowers – it was just mildly sweet and delicious :) ) and barley juice (yum!).

And then I got to business. Food!! It was glorious. I definitely concentrated on the Indian fare although they had a good variety of other Asian foods.

my first plate - mostly Indian food

second round

+ this roll (didn't eat the other stuff)

roll closeup

I didn’t eat all those desserts – just tried little bites of everything to pick my favorites. And by the way, that’s the rose petal juice on the right. Good stuff! :)

dessert tasting plate

The little round cookies were warm (what a great surprise!) so I went back for 2 more + little scoops of ice cream.

mango + coconut ice cream and 2 warm little cookies

And just to be extra adventurous, I decided to try the durian ice cream.  I knew I mostly likely would hate it so I had it in a separate bowl.  Good thing.  This was the most disgusting thing that’s ever touched my lips.  I was curious. Never again.

durian ice cream - ewwwwwww

Have any of you tried durian? Do you like it? The stuff stinks so bad, they don’t even allow it on the subway or in hotels. It’s actually illegal!

no-durian

So yeah, let’s just say I ate more than my fair share. We ate lunch at around 1pm and I couldn’t even think of food until the next morning. This never EVER happens! The food was high quality, and was clearly made with love. If you’re ever in Singapore, I’d definitely recommend this spot!  And if you don’t believe me and want proof that this is also an Anthony Bourdain approved spot (despite being in a hotel restaurant!), watch this clip.  Yep, we had to go to both of those places! :D

Vacation recaps continued: 1st day in Singapore

Whoa, we did a lot on our first day in Singapore.  I’m going to make it detailed for those that are interested, but I won’t be offended if you skim through this ;)

We got to our hotel at 1am after our flight from Hong Kong.  Our hotel room at Naumi was absolutely gorgeous from the first glance.  After the concierge showed us our room and stepped out, I actually squeaked in excitement!  Some pics of the room…

hotel "kitchen"

hotel room livingroom

hotel room bedroom

hotel room bathroom

Pretty gorgeous from the first glance, right?  We thought so (we love modern design!) until Adam opened the guest book and baby ants ran out of it all over the table.  On further inspection there were a few of them on the nightstand and some more all over the living room walls.  Eww!!!!  I called the concierge and told him we wanted to be transferred to a different room.  Unfortunately all of their rooms were occupied (it’s a small boutique hotel) so they just cleaned off the bugs and brought us this fruit plate as consolation (PS- the bugs came back every night after that).  Yeah, some fruit does not make a buggy room better!!  Gross gross gross.  Since it was past 1am, I didn’t touch this until the next morning.  I had just a few bites.

fruit plate

For breakfast the next morning we decided to hit the Ah Teng’s Bakery at the Raffles hotel, which was just around the corner from ours.

me in front of the Raffles hotel

This is my kind of breakfast! :D

coffee + cream pastry at Ah Teng's bakery

pastry closeup

I also had a bite of Adam’s delicious pastry too…

Adam's pastry

And then we decided to just aimlessly walk around and explore Singapore.  We ended up in Chinatown and completely randomly stumbled upon all the sites we planned on visiting.  Awesome!

Me in front of the Thian Hock Keng Temple

One of the guarding foo dogs

Inside the temple

Of course the food is one of the main attractions in Singapore.  We hit up the Maxwell Rd Hawker Center for lunch…

Maxwell Rd Hawker Center

Adam was so excited to try Tian Tian’s famous chicken rice (supposedly best chicken rice in Singapore!).  He felt like Anthony Bordain in this picture :)

Adam in front of the famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall

I had one bite of this without the sauce.  It tasted like regular chicken with rice to me.  Apparently it’s all about the sauce.  Someone was so busy eating that he forgot to share this with me ;)   J/K… I still wasn’t hungry from that huge breakfast pastry.

Famous chicken rice

I had some fruit a bit later instead.

fruit

More random walking/site seeing…

me at the night market (during the day)

me in front of the Sri Mariamman Temple

temple detail

inside temple

I really wanted to hike Mt. Faber but since we didn’t really make an itinerary, we ended up doing it on the first day.  Like my hiking gear?  It was SO hot… I thought I would die (mid 90′s and humid).  I don’t recommend wearing a dress and flip flops on a hike.  It was quite beautiful though, and the hike was super easy if it wasn’t for the heat.

hiking Mt. Faber Park

park views

views from the top of the mountain

See those cable cars in the background?  Adam made a deal with me that if he hikes this thing, we’ll take the cable cars on the way down.  I hate things like that, but since I wanted to do the hike I had no choice.

This thing was SO scary at first, but I got used to it after a few minutes.

in the cable car

views from the top - lots of construction

All of that construction is for a mega casino/resort they’re building.  It’s going to be huge!

views from the top

We took the cable car to Sentosa… really to go to a bar (we didn’t feel like going to the beach).  But first we walked around the park for a bit…

me in front of the merlion tower

inside Sentosa park

drinks at Cafe del Mar

Mmm, this was so good.  Strawberry + sangria = yes, please, I’ll have another one :)

strawberry sangria

Food republic at the Vivo City mall

Isn’t this food court entrance beautiful?  I wish food courts in the US were this awesome.  I forgot to take a picture inside.  This place was gorgeous!  Oh the picture after this one was of me from behind.  Apparently my dress is completely see through.  Yeah, awesome! :lol:

I was so overwhelmed inside but finally chose an Indonesian stall, Java Kitchen, because I’ve never had Indonesian food.  This dish was called “mini tampeng“  – special yellow pendan rice meal with chicken rendang, honey glazed tempe and assorted vegetables. Ok, I kind of got it because the rice cone looked too cute.  This was really delicious!  I liked how the rice was the star and the rest was like a tasting plate to go with the rice.  Every bite was a little bit different.  The veggies were mostly pickled (with sugar) and were a nice way to balance out the spiciness of the chicken.  I need to find an Indonesian restaurant in Boston!

Indonesian dinner

This food court was inside the Vivo City mall.  We walked around for a bit and came across these crazy “breads.”  They looked kind of funky and it took me a minute to figure them out. They are fake!  Crazy Japanese people (I’m pretty sure these were Japanese) :lol:

breadous

bear "buns"

toast you can write on

Ok, and we ended the night at the Quays… basically it’s a bunch of restaurants and bars on the river.  We had a blast!

beers at Brewerkz at Clarke Quay

my fruitBrew

the view (after it got darker)

Cute napkin at The Coffee Connoiseur (TCC)

I don’t get it…

water on a strange coaster

Dessert: chocolate devotion

more views from the Boat Quay

me with a glass of red

I think I only had 2 of these calamari… they were way too fried!

fried calamari

That’s that for our first day in Singapore.  It was definitely the busiest day.  We slowed down after that :)   Hope you enjoyed this recap!  More to come…

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