Monday, March 21, 2011

Singapore - Yes I ate all of this and more in one day

Another one of the perks of my job are the miles I'm able to utilize them from all of my work travel. Right around the new year, Emi told me she had five days of vacation she had to use by the end of March or she would lose them. So she informed me that we were going to Singapore... I supplied the miles and she planned the trip.

We have two really good friends who live out in Singapore, so with free airfare and a free place to stay why not? AND it freed up our money to spend on, what else, fooooood.

We flew out of Seattle on a cold, rainy Thursday evening into San Francisco. From there took a 14 hour flight to Hong Kong where we had another layover, before boarding another 3 and a half hour flight to our final destination, sunny and balmy Singapore! We left Thursday evening and arrived Saturday afternoon... We were tired, yet excited to begin our food mission; eat everything Singapore had to offer.

In the Hong Kong airport we grabbed some dim sum. This was probably meal 5 by that point in the trip since we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Seattle, another meal in San Francisco (it wasn't worth it), and a few meals on the airplane. The dim sum was great and now I can say I've had Chinese food in Hong Kong. The Chinese donut was the best part of the meal. I don't have it pictured, but it was perfect and made me want to search out some here in Seattle.

As soon as we landed our hosts knowing us too well immediately took us to Little India for food. With Singaporeans from all over the world, each ethnicity basically has their own community; Little India, Chinatown, Arab St. The diversity of cultures and focus on food is what made us want to come to Singapore. Also an episode of Top Chef where they had challenges throughout this food crazed country had our mouths watering and ready to book our flight.

In Little India we went to the Banana Leaf where you literally eat food on the banana leaves in front of you; no plates.

Our naan stuck to the side wall getting prepared for our first Singapore feast.

Butter and garlic naan with saffron rice.

Delicious, blackened tandoori chicken.

Potato and cauliflower curry with caramelized onions and other delicious herbs and spices. This was literally the best Indian food I've ever had.

The highlight of the meal; yellow dhal. I need to find a place here in Seattle that has this, it was amazing for dipping my naan in or just soaking up my saffron rice. Usually Indian food weighs me down or gives me a little stomach ache, but this stuff left me refreshed and ready to move on for more after 30 hours of travel.

A key drink and national favorite; lime juice (in the middle). Lime juice is made with Kalamassi Limes which are mini, sweet limes similar to Key Limes. They use the fresh squeezed lime juice and add in sugar, water, and a few other things to make this sweet refreshing, yet tangy drink. Lime juice is perfect on a hot day or when enjoying spicy food, which is a pretty common occurrence in Singapore, which is probably why it's so popular.

Keeping the Indian meal going, I went with a rich and creamy mango lassi. They blended ice with a fresh, sweet, local honey mango, and yogurt. Perfect dessert in a drink to finish off our meal while we walked around Little India.

For "dinner" our 10th meal of the day our hosts took us to Food Republic which was an upscale food court in one of their shopping malls. Food Republic specialized in a variety of authentic Singapore style dishes.

Barbecued chicken wings are popular, which is just my style. Why deep fry when you cook over coals and pick up the great BBQ flavor?

Emi's Hakkein Mee Noodles, which is a traditional street vendor style Singapore noodle dish served with prawns. A little salty with lime and hot sauce on the side. Also you can see the Kalamassi Lime on the toothpick.

I went with the Bak Kut Teh, which is exactly the type of dish I was seeking out in Singapore. I didn't want food I could get back in the States. They had Applebees, McDonald's, Wendy's, but when you travel for 30 hours across the world, you better eat what's unique to the area. My friend told me this was a popular Singapore soup that he had just tried and really enjoyed.

He warned me from looks alone, you might not be interested, but the flavor is really unexpected and great. Soup broth I learned is very popular in Singapore. You get a bowl of broth with everything. The bak kut teh was both salty, a little tangy, and spicy, which caught me off guard. The pork was slow cooked in the broth and best enjoyed with the dipping sauce on the side. What a fun dish because I've never had anything like it.

Our hosts wanted us to try everything so they ordered multiple dishes for us to try. Everything was pretty affordable too, nothing over $8.

Salted fish noodles, salted fish one of my favorites is pretty popular there.

Katsu curry, something I know well from my time in Japan and Hawaii.

Well we weren't done yet. We ended the night in Emerald Hill with a bottle of wine. All of the bars were located in "shop houses" on this street. Up front were the bars and in back were residences. Very cool, historic place to have drinks and I can't remember the last time I had a glass of wine outdoors.

All in all a great way to end our first day in Singapore. As you read through our posts and see our photos maybe you'll see my cheeks and gut getting a little chubbier and chubbier because we ate a lot!

- Kyle

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