Asia travel diary: Singapore [part 1]

Up up and away! Off to our next destination: Singapore.

singapore

But before we got there, we grabbed a quick bite at KLIA2 airport before we caught our flight.

Enter…

Oldtown White Coffee

singapore, oldtown white coffee

This place was everywhere, it was like Starbucks Version 2.0.

oldtown white coffee
Noodles… laksa…?

The noodles were pungent, spicy and very flavourful. The fresh vegetables and herbs were vibrant and crisp whilst the pineapple pieces were extremely refreshing and bright which balanced well and cut through the strong broth.

Round 2 of kaya toast!

oldtown white coffee
Kaya and butter toast with soft boiled eggs

I ordered the kaya toast again, and this time, the super soft boiled eggs were presented already cracked in a bowl. Ding ding ding! It then dawned on me that this was how the eggs were supposed to be and that I was supposed to dip the kaya toast into them! So I did just that and what a revelation, it tasted so much better with the goeeyness of the egg, the crunch of the brown bread toast and sweet and salty hits from the kaya jam and butter slabs. YUM! Psst, anyone know if we can get kaya in Adelaide?

Singapore

Hello Singapore!

singapore

Oh my was it hot and humid or what! Our interpretation of Singapore: a concrete jungle much like Sydney but an Asian version of it… with a tonne of humidity in the air! Haha

We caught the train to our hotel ($2.30SGD/$2.00AUD* per person) to bypass the traffic but taxi’s were really cheap too and fast to get around in. The city itself is small so if places look a bit far on the map – it really wasn’t that bad! The ‘uncle’ taxi drivers that we encountered were all really friendly, chatty and happy to help with tips to get around the city and advised us when it was best to catch a taxi between what hours and whatnot.

The first thing we did once we checked in to Big Hotel – which is anything BUT big, was catch a taxi to the famed Maxwell Food Centre.

singapore
So bright, you can’t miss it!

singapore, Maxwell food centre
Inside the food centre

The trick here was to claim your spot; place your pocket tissues or anything for that matter on your table and then go and order your food. Done! Spot claimed. We arrived well after lunch time so many food stalls were closed but our main purpose for our visit was to get some chicken rice at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice as seen on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations!

BUT!!! Priorities first… beer!

singapore, Maxwell food centre. tiger
Tiger beer and 100 plus soda to beat the heat!

singapore, Maxwell food centre, tian tian hainanese chicken rice
The line up at Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall

singapore, Maxwell food centre, tian tian hainanese chicken rice
Chicken rice and vegetables with oyster sauce; $3.50SGD/$3.05AUD* and $4.00SGD/$3.48AUD*

Oh so glorious! Such a simple dish but so so good. The rice was light and fluffy paired with silky chicken pieces with loads of flavour and cooked to perfection. The additional condiments added another layer of flavour, spicy notes from the chilli sauce and a sweet and salty kick from the sticky soy sauce. BLISS!

singapore, Maxwell food centre, tian tian hainanese chicken rice
Chicken rice and condiments

singapore, Maxwell food centre
Deep fried parcels of… something delicious I bet!

Fresh coconut juice for one (to share) to wash down one of the best meals we’ve ever had.

singapore, Maxwell food centre, coconut juice
The bashful owner chops into the fresh coconut

singapore, Maxwell food centre
FRESH! And only $3.00SGD/$2.60AUD*!!

I was ready to call it a day and proceed to venture out into the city and explore, but the stranger, although not hungry, still wanted to eat some more. Who was I to say no? I’d just have to make more room in my stomach and deal with the consequences after. 🙂

singapore, Maxwell food centre
Fresh cockles; $3.00SGD/$2.60AUD*

singapore, Maxwell food centre

Fresh cockles cooked to order at the Rojak, Popiah and Cockle stall. They came accompanied with a bowl of lemon water to wash our hands in, some chilli sauce and a small lime. The cockles were all sorts of yum, chewy nibs of sweet meat with the texture resembling like mussels but more ‘fun sized’.

singapore, Maxwell food centre
They required a bit of effort to eat but oh so worth it!

With our bellies well and truly full with food coma status in progress, we ventured out across the road and explored Singapore’s China town.

singapore, china town

singapore, china town

singapore, durian
Durian

singapore, durian
Pre packaged durian

singapore
Souvenir shops

We wandered around, got lost and just explored. Then we caught a glimpse of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the distance and made our way in that direction. We found ourselves across the harbour from the hotel, walked in to the nearest bar and just plonked ourselves down whilst marvelling at the beautiful building. What a sight!

singapore
We stayed at The Pelican for drinks until night fell.

Lemme just say… Singapore is exxxxxxxxpennnnnnnnsiveeeeeeee! Drinks ended up costing us $31.75SGD/$27.61AUD* which is basically Aussie prices in ‘cheap ol’ Asia.

singapore
Mandatory tourist shot

After drinks, we walked further down and spotted the Merlion (mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish or mermaid(?)), got the mandatory tourist/holiday snap and headed to Orchard Road.

Orchard Road is a famous boulevard in Singapore with countless shopping malls, all the same and side by side. It was rather overwhelming and repetitive and we found ourselves going around in circles a lot. A lot!!! All was well when we found the foodcourt in one of the shopping malls and decided to buy a few snacks to fuel ourselves. Haha

One of my rules on the trip, if there was a line up for food, join them(!) – there must be a reason for the line up. It was either going to be cheap, delicious, or both!

singapore
Japanese yakitori

singapore
Chicken yakitori; $1.10SGD/$0.96AUD*

Bee Cheng Hiang, a popular Asian barbeque meat store that we saw everywhere in Singapore. They had some samples out with toothpicks so we had to try some.

singapore

It was good. Really good.

singapore

singapore
Sliced pork; $30.00SGD/$26.00AUD* per 600g or $50.00SGD/$43.48AUD* per kg

We got 2 slices of sliced pork which ended up being $6.50SGD/$5.65AUD*, expensive we thought considering Asia should be ‘cheap’. The meat was addictively chewy, sweet and salty with a sticky glaze on the outside. Yum!

Back outside onto Orchard Street, we spied ice cream carts which were literally on every corner with a quick moving line. Naturally, we had to have a nosey.

singapore
Ice cream menu

Ice cream sandwiches or ice cream cones on offer! There was no way I was passing on an ice cream sandwich!

One please… but the hard part was choosing what flavour to get! Choc chip, chocolate, durian, sweet corn, mint choc, mango, mocha, yam, coconut, honeydew and red bean. Oh the choices!

By the way, does anyone else experience this… as in, when you go out and eat with your partner or friend and there’s a decision to be made in choosing what to order or what flavour to pick. Being courteous and easy going, they usually allow you to choose, but secretly, they know what they want and are beaming silent signals to you telepathically hoping that you’re gonna pick the one they want!!? Hahaha

Happens all the time for me! And if you pick the ‘incorrect’ one, they reluctantly accept the end decision but are really screaming on the inside. well that’s what happens when you don’t let me know what you want! 😉

singapore
One ice cream sandwich please uncle!

On this occasion, I let the stranger choose the flavour cause honestly, I was happy to try any of them!

singapore
Sweet corn ice cream sandwich; $1.20SGD/$1.04AUD*

YUMMY!!!

How can something be so simple be so good. The ice cream slab held its form between the wrapped piece of coloured sweet bread; it didn’t get messy and the ice cream didn’t melt at a rapid rate… or maybe cause we breathed it in before it could. Haha!! Oh yes, the sweet corn ice cream was delicious and corny with surprises of corn kernels; a favourite flavour of ours although a bit hard to come by in Adelaide but there are a few Asian grocers which stock corn ice cream. 🙂

-d

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Stall No. 10 and 11
Maxwell Food Centre Singapore
1 Kadayanallur Street
Singapore 069184 Singapore
Opening hours
7 days 10.30am-8pm

Rojak, Popiah and Cockle
Maxwell Food Centre Singapore
1 Kadayanallur Street
Singapore 069184 Singapore

The Pelican Seafood Bar and Grill
1 Fullerton Road
Singapore 049214 Singapore

*exchange rate at time of travel $1AUD=$1.15SGD

2 comments for “Asia travel diary: Singapore [part 1]

  1. GypsyRose
    August 12, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Kaya @ Kim Wang in the Central Markets.
    PS still can’t stomach the runny egg-whites!

    • dee
      August 12, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      Oh awesome!! Thank you so much.

      Fair enough, I do prefer mine cooked a little more! Ie. poached eggs. :)~

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *