Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Singapore - Hookah, Drinks, and Dinner on Arab Street

When I heard hookah and beer, I said "Sign me up!" Our friend told us she had planned drinks and hookah followed by dinner on Arab Street. For anyone not familiar with hookah, it's basically a Middle Eastern influenced water pipe used to smoke sugar/honey infused tobacco. The tobacco is very wet and sticky and comes in a variety of flavors from your more traditional apple to even combinations like orange, mango, mint. Not sure why a lot of people think it's illegal. So let me clear things up, there are no drugs involved, you just won't find them all that often in the US anymore because of the indoor smoking bans. If you've never tried it before you would probably be surprised by how smooth and flavorful the smoke is and it's the perfect accompaniment to a beer. Usually I like to smoke hookah after a big meal, but this time it was a pre-meal activity.

The hookah was off to the side of the table, not to be confused with the lantern on the table.

Emi with her Singapore Sling which we had to try since we were in....Singapore. It was super sweet. The drink originated at the Raffles Hotel back in the early 1900's, but to get one there would run you about $30 so we went with the cheaper version on Arab Street. It's made with gin, cherry liquor, grenadine, pineapple juice, lemon juice, and bitters.

For dinner we met a group of people at Alaturka, a Turkish restaurant off Arab Street. We were excited to try it out because we are planning our summer Mediterranean cruise that will stop off in Turkey.

Alcohol isn't served at most of the restaurants off Arab Street because of Islamic practices. Instead we enjoyed apple tea, which really was like hot, sweet apple cider.

Coban Salata - a traditional Turkish salad - diced cucumber, tomatoes and onions. Served with feta cheese and olives in olive oil and lemon dressing. Reminded me of a Greek salad, but I'm sure somewhere along the lines of history someone conquered one or the other so who knows if a Greek salad is really a Turkish salad?

Lavash bread - balloon bread with sesame seeds. When they bring this out it literally is filled with hot air and looks like a balloon. You break off pieces and dip it in all of the different mezes (cold appetizers).

Haydari - Middle Eastern home-made yoghurt, herb, and garlic dip. Great with the lavash bread.

Meze Tabagi - assorted platter of popular mezes (cold appetizers) - hummus, babakanus (roasted eggplant with yoghurt and garlic dip), saksuka (deep fried diced eggplant in tomato based sauce), patlican (mashed eggplant in garlic dip), ezme (spicy Turkish style tomato dip), potato salad and dolma (rice with traditional Turkish spices wrapped in vine leaves).

Tavuk Sis - the best chicken dish in the house! Grilled chicken chunks on skewer with a smokey flavor. I could have eaten ten of these skewers, the chicken was amazing. Moist, flavorful, and delicious. Chicken kebabs can come out dry, but these were the highlight of the main courses.


Lamb meat patties

Kanafeh - my new favorite dessert. I saw Sunny Anderson from the Food Network on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" and she highlighted this sweet, unique, amazing dessert. When I saw it on the menu, I pounced. I think everyone was skeptical when it came out, but afterwards we were in love. My biggest regret from this trip was not ordering one for myself, instead of sharing it with everyone. Next time, I might stab a hand to protect this amazing dessert. It's hard to describe, but basically the crispy like cake is fried vermicelli (rice) noodles packed together. Then they pour over pistachios, sweet cheese, honey, and rose water. You've never had a sweeter, lick your plate clean dessert.

Next time I'm out in New York, I'm definitely hitting up Tanoreen which is the place Sunny Anderson recommended because that might be easier than hopping on a plane back to Singapore.

We had a fun evening checking walking around one of the more unique cultural areas of Singapore. They had everything from hand blown Turkish glass to carpets for sale. If you ever make it out to Singapore, definitely a must do.

- Kyle


  1. Now, I could all that yummy food but a few others are questionable :)

  2. Eating at Alaturka tonight in honor of your birthday, will post a photo of the Kanafeh!

  3. OMG, where do we find Kanafeh in Seattle!? Tell me please, you little foodie. I need to try it!

  4. food and shisha, its great experience for me. I take shisha my last time dubai visit