Archive for the 'Singapore' Category

A Taste of Singapore

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

The food in Singapore was definitely one of the highlights. Especially after arriving from New Zealand where things cost the same as they did in US, driving us to cook rice & beans or peanut butter sandwiches for every meal.

In Little India we went to a southern Indian restaurant where you were served a scoop of rice on a banana leaf surrounded by a bunch of little cups of sauce. You pour some sauce on the rice, mix it around with your right hand in an attempt to form little balls, and then pop it in your mouth. Using your left hand is rude and eating rice one-handed was a huge challenge – but very entertaining. The locals sitting behind us were opening cracking up as Jamie took this photo. Thus, the look on my face:

One of my favorite things in all of Singapore were these cute little flower shaped steamed rice cakes filled with coconut. They were made fresh when you ordered them so you got to watch the woman fill the mold with rice flour and coconut and pop them under the steamer. We asked to take a picture of her, but she was too shy and said no.

The was a little bun filled with sweet red bean paste. At first it tasted odd to me because I was expecting it to be more sweet and less bean-y. But then after I got over the initial shock I loved it:

Our guidebook claimed this is one of the most popular desserts in Singapore. It is shaved ice with different fruit syrups, a little coconut milk, and then a sprinkling of sweet red beans on top. Buried in the bottom was an assortment of brightly (and I do mean neon) colored gelatin cubes, circles, and droplets. Each part on its own was tasty, but I’m definitely not used to eating all these things together in one dish:

The dragon fruit is bright pink with green spikes and is about the size of a softball. It is served chilled then cut in half. You scoop out the flesh and edible seeds with a spoon it is almost like eating sorbet out of a real fruit cup! It has a mild but slightly tangy flavor and the crunchy seeds are very tasty.

Some Like It Hot

Friday, March 16th, 2007

It is hot here in Singapore. So hot. And amazingly humid too. We are at 1o 18′ N and only 136 kilometers North of the Equator. Right now it is 82° with 89% humidity. Every time we leave the air conditioned condo and step outside, we are amazed at how sticky it is. We constantly ask each other, “Am I sweating?” as we walk down the street and then burst out laughing because we both look like this.

It’s going to be interesting bicycling in this weather. Very interesting.

We made it!

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

We arrived in Singapore on Saturday without any more problems. Our flight even arrived 30 minutes early, and Singapore customs was basically non-existent. I was expecting to be searched for illegally imported chewing gum but we were waved through by the lone customs guy without a second glance.

We are really enjoying staying at my friend Jennifer’s condo, in the heart of Singapore. This place is amazingly gorgeous – I feel like I’m at a resort! There’s even a pool outside, a private balcony where we’ve been eating breakfast, and a private hot tub on the top balcony which we haven’t used – it is too hot for that! We leave for Thailand in only two days, and Jamie and I are both going to be sad to leave.

View from the balcony:

The pool:

We have been spending most of our time eating and checking things off our To Do list so we’re ready for the next bicycling segment of the trip. You know, exciting things like buying spare bike parts and laying the tent out to dry so it doesn’t get all moldy. Jamie’s also been spending tons of time on the website.

Food is definitely the highlight of Singapore. The city is known for its ‘hawkers’ which are food vendors that gather in an area to create a kind of outdoor food court. Everything is freshly made, exotic (to us), and delicious. Each meal costs only S$3-4 so we are in cheapskate heaven! Our favorite areas so far are Chinatown and Little India. There are also tons of fruit and vegetable stands all over the city. I am addicted to mangoes.

Drinking coconut milk out of a fresh green coconut. The little old lady I bought this from (for only S$1.20!) expertly hacked the top open with a gigantic meat cleaver, stuck a straw in, and handed it to me. Yum! That’s a street in Little India in the background

Here’s a dish I do not plan to try. Now I just have to hope I do not accidentally order this when the menu does not have English translations. Quick, memorize those Chinese characters!

Outdoor market and hawker area in Chinatown:

There are a few Hindu temples scattered around the city. They are so colorful and beautiful!

Another Hindu temple:

Colorful building downtown:

Today we’re on a mission to take pictures of the delicious food we spend all our time eating, so check back tomorrow!