Thursday, December 18, 2008

Singapore eating

Okay so how was Singapore? In a word -- delicious.

Singapore is what you would call a 3-or-4-day city, not one of those places that could keep the tourist busy for a week or so like London or Paris, but it does have some things to do and things to see for a while. What were the touristy things I did? Raffles Hotel, Night Safari at the zoo, cruise down Singapore River, and went to see the Singapore Flyer (Singapore's equivalent of the London Eye). But mostly what I did was search out the various local cuisines available at hawker stalls and street markets throughout the city. A Singaporean colleague had given me a list of interesting night markets to try and dishes to eat. Sometimes finding those markets was a search in and of itself, and allowed me to see parts of the city that I think were a little off the beaten path of tourists. Not always of course, a few of these markets like Lau Pa Sat are well known but occasionally I was finding myself in places where were no other Westerners to be seen.

So rather than go into all the details here is a list of some of the things I ate during the trip:

Roasted duck noodle
Matcha lattes (from a place called OChaCha)
Toast with Kaya jam (from Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlet)
Hainanese chicken rice
Iced lychees
Spicy popiahs
Eel with green peppers
Sweet rice cakes with black bean and sesame paste
Laksa (sort of a curry fish soup)
Ice Kachang
Mixed-meat satay
Steamed BBQ pork buns
Chili tofu
Smoked eggs

The one thing I missed trying out on was deep fried carrot cake, a local specialty. Every time I went somewhere where I had heard they served a good version of this dish the place was either closed or too crowded. Maybe next time.

I know what you're thinking, going all these out of the way places to eat in night markets and stalls didn't I get sick? Well -- yes. Luckily though it was right at the end of the trip, literally as I got to the airport to catch the flight home. In the taxi to the airport I suddenly thought "I don't feel so good all of a sudden" and by the time I got to the airport my stomach had announced that it was time to sit back & relax as it was going to be emptying itself out about once an hour. So that wound up being the most hellish plane ride I have ever had. I was sick 4 times waiting for the flight and 7 more times during the 8-hour flight, I could not even keep down some water. Thankfully no one was sitting next to me as I would have felt really embarrassed being so ill. I was also grateful that it was just vomiting and not diarreha, but at the time that was a small consolation. When I got home I went straight to bed and was ill for another day.

Man, I had never experienced "traveller bug" before and don't want to again.

I have no idea what food caused it. I actually suspect it was a dish from a cafe at a mall that some cheese in it, not from some street stall, but I have no way to be sure.

And by the way the Raffles Hotel is the biggest rip-off ever! A Singapore Sling there was S$31 (US$21)! 21 bucks for one drink!! And a pint of beer was US$18, the same beer I could get for $4 down the street. Something about that hotel just seems to appeal to older Westerners who absolutely have to pay completely ridiculous prices just to say that they had a drink there. And no I did not have a Sling, for 21 US dollars I don't care that it was invented there. I went across the street to the Fairmont and had one for half the price.


Unknown said...

Hi Glen, Good to see you back but was sorry to hear that your trip ended badly. Did you see a doctor? My brother in law had to see one after he got sick from travelling, he did need meds to get rid of the parasite he pick up (even though he can be a parasite himself at times)((smile)).
I was thankful for the information on the new Museum you provided, my daughter and her husband are waiting for me to get there so we can all go see it together. How were your knees with all the walking.
Winter has hit Ontario fast and furious so I am looking forward to getting away from this for a while.

Glen McKay said...

Hi Karen. Didn't go to a doc, after a day resting at home I was fine. If I had been ill much longer I would have though.

Knees are doing better and can handle walks know. The museum is a decent but not huge size so a few hours wandering is enough to see it all.