After a wonderful whirlwind weekend trip to Batam Island in Indonesia it felt a little strange to be back amid the skyscrapers and modernity of Singapore. I was quite surprised to see Jamie Oliver had a restaurant in the HarbourFront area but it was never in my mind to eat there as I had other plans!
No better way to start the day than with some mixed pig’s organ porridge for breakfast! Along with a lime juice that was consumed at Tiong Bahru market and it was actually very nice. Yet again I wasn’t completely full though so thought I would try something else. Carrot cake may be the name given to a delicious sweet cake in the west but in this part of the world it is actually radish cake stir-fried with eggs and other seasonings which is then steamed and then pan-fried. Oh and there aren’t even any carrots in it! Chai tao kway is the local name and there are two types; black (uses sweet sauce and the egg is mixed in) or white (without sweet soy sauce and fried on top of a beaten egg to form a crust) with the latter being the one I had and it was rather tasty.
City Hall MRT station was next and St Andrew’s Cathedral provided a quick stop before I found myself outside Raffles Hotel. Now, unlike most people I had no intention or interest in going inside this famous hotel but as I was passing by I was a little intrigued to poke my head in to see what it was all about. Well, what do you know but one thing led to another and somehow I ended up having a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar! The red cocktail, which no Singaporean’s actually drink, was actually quite nice and it certainly helped me offload some of my remaining dollars!
Just up the road from Raffles was Chin Chin Eating House which I wanted to visit for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it featured on ‘The Layover‘ (S01E01) on the Travel Channel and secondly the name has a rude meaning in Japanese and a photo of the exterior was a must for me! I wanted to try chicken rice at this popular place but it sadly wasn’t as simple as at the hawker centres. The place is geared towards groups of people sharing the food so, as a lone diner, I was left with no choice (if I wanted to sample it at all!) but to order half a chicken for myself! Naturally I couldn’t finish it all (and didn’t really want to as I needed to save room for some evening dishes) as it was my third meal back in Singapore but it was still good to try it and I managed to polish off about half of it.
Feeling rather full, I thought it best to walk it off so I continued heading north via Bugis, Arab Street (including the Sultan Mosque) and the Thieves Market. Although I didn’t buy anything I did enjoy the latter, named as in the past it was the place to buy stolen goods, which is basically just a flea market selling all kinds of bric-a-brac.
Having eventually located my hotel for the night I had some much needed rest before taking a stroll round the Little India area where I passed the very colourful and bustling Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple before settling down for some Indian grub.
I eventually found a popular outdoor stall selling some back-to-basics banana-leaf style food so I stopped there for chicken biriyani eaten with the hand (not the left one though!) and then I found the Tekka Centre which I wish I had started at as it was packed full of stalls selling all kinds of Indian fare. I sampled a few little things before calling it a night. I would return for breakfast the following morning for one last culinary experience on a trip which had been pretty much been dominated by mouthwatering food.
On the afternoon of the day I arrived in Singapore I soon realised I wasn’t going to bother with the likes of Orchard Road, the Botanic gardens, Night Safari, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and so on. I’m sure I’ll get round to seeing them next time when I arrive with my wife in tow though given her passion for such culinary delights it may be difficult to tear ourselves away from the Hawker Centres!