My Singapore dream is no secret to the world wide web, because ever since my first visit to Singapore, I have blogged a lot about it, tweeted Singapore Travel tips more times than it was necessary, Instagram-ed my pictures from the trip to no end, and practically spammed the hell out of my social media timelines with self invented (and not to forget, lame) hashtags like #DreamDestination, #SponsorMyTrip, #SingaporeAllTheWay and #BringMeBack Singapore.
|This is me on Day 1 of my trip.|
|Day 2, at Battle Box, posing with a wax man.|
Yeah, I am a tad crazy. I tend to go overboard with stuff that I feel extremely about. *shrugs awkwardly*
And so is the case with Singapore – I am obsessed with it. And since the country is celebrating it’s 50th Independence Anniversary this year, I have decided to pay a tribute to the culture, the food and the people who hold a special place in my heart.
So. Putting my obsession to good use, here’s some precious info about Singapore. *Drum Roll*
To call Singapore a mixed country, will not be wrong. It is roughly 73% Chinese, 14% ethnic Malay, 10% Indian, and 3% Eurasian and others – talk about diversity! Being one of the wealthiest countries of Asia, Singapore has seen people flocking from all corners of the world in the past years. This diverse culture and heritage also promises one more thing – Great Food! And you already know how much I love good food. So, to say that Singapore is my favorite vacation destination of all times, is only stating the obvious.
|Don’t laugh, it was 2008 and I was young (and silly)|
Everyone I know who has been to Singapore, obviously loves it like I do. We love the clean and green vibe of the country, witnessing people following numerous rules to ensure a great living experience excites us like giddy babies, the amazing shopping mise en scène brings out the raging shopaholics in us, and the wonderful & ever so friendly people of Singapore make us wish we extended the same warm welcome to people visiting India. Our collective love for Sentosa and all the fun it promises, is (probably) bigger than my mom’s love for making me eat home-made “healthy” food. As if.
And speaking of food, I have to tell you darlings, that the food in Singapore is finger licking good. Food is an important element of Singapore’s culture – and falling equally in love with Singapore’s street food and gourmet dishes, is completely normal. Owing to it’s rich multicultural heritage, Singapore boasts of a wide variety in food and drinks – a reason why many people vote for it as
the food capital of Asia. You’ve got my vote too, smart people!
|Found this colorful menu at the Battle Box.|
And before I go on to talk about my favorite Singapore food, here is a piece of advice: Because of the mixed influence of various immigrant cultures, the food in Singapore is an exquisite fusion that is inspired by a lot of extremely different cultural backgrounds. Singapore’s food hails from China, Malaysia, India, and beyond – but has a very distinct Singaporean flavor to it. Singapore adds it’s own delicious twist to things!
- Hokkien Mee – Just typing it down is making me hungry – that is how much I liked it. Sure, people will frown and ask, not the famous Singapore Satay, or Chilli Crab, or even the yummy-in-my-tummy Black Pepper Crab? And I’ll say of course I love all that! I mean, who doesn’t? But Hokkien Mee has a special claim to my heart. *drools a little at the memory* Now, this dish is originally Chinese cuisine, and you will find it’s various versions all across South East Asia, but the Singaporean version is pure delight. It is basically a dish of egg noodles and rice noodles in a fragrant stock, which is made from both fresh shrimp and dried prawns, along with pork and/or chicken.
Traditionally, small cubes of fried lard are added to it, but chicken lard is also used at a lot of places. A platter of Hokkien Meet is beautifully garnished with prawns, fish cake, leafy greens, pork
ribs, squid, crisp deep-fried shallots, spring onions and fresh lime.
The dish is served with sliced red chili, light soy sauce and sambal. Whatever you do, you have to try it once and I promise you’ll be hooked on for good. Like me, obviously.
- Roti Prata – This is clearly an Indian influence, thanks to 10% Indian population of Singapore. The Roti Prata is somewhere between an Indian Roti that is soft and thin, and the crisp, layered paratha. The goodness of both combined in one, what’s not to love? It is crisp with a bit of a chew, with layers and layers of yummy dough that is cooked in an open pan with butter, and is served with a curry. I was so obsessed with Roti Prata that I ate it for lunch almost everyday at a Cze Chas (an open air restaurant that has table service) near Tampines, which is where I stayed.
I was obsessed with Roti Prata, clicking pictures of it in museums. Tch Tch.
- Chai Tow Kway (or the Carrot Cake) – No sir, it is not sweet, neither is it made of carrots. But don’t hold that against it, Chai Tow Kway is supremely DELICIOUS! This is a heavenly mix of eggs, radish cake, seasoning and makes up a breakfast that will make you want to go to food heaven. It is crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside, and is definitely a winner for me! I have even had Chai Tow Kway for $3, after waiting in a queue for 15 minutes and it was simply the best meal I’ve had!
Sip Kopi while you shop at Orchard Road. Gulp it down while you walk towards the Singapore Supreme Court, wearing your Singapore Is A Fine City tee-shirt. Seriously, go anywhere, really, because you’ll find a decent cup of Kopi just about anywhere in Singapore. Sit with friends for a chat session, or with a journal to jot down your Singapore experiences, or have the yummy Singaporean breakfast of yummy Kaya Toast (a coconut-egg jam on bread – another must try dish!) and sip a cup of hot Kopi with condensed or evaporated milk. Yum-yum-yummy.
|Me posing awkwardly with a mug full of yummy Kopi|
|The couple who owned this shop became friends. That’s me listening about their Indian roots.|
In the end, I’ll just say one thing:
When you are in Singapore, or any other place as a traveler, forget stereotypes and embrace what you experience. Forget the authentic Chinese flavors, or the sharp Thai curries – when in Singapore, explore the glorious fusion of flavors and textures. Forget definitions and let the experience speak to you. Forget about schedules or touristy-tours, and get a steaming hot plate of $5 Hokkien Mee from the hawker center because look, the queue is getting longer! Traveling is after all, if not a 100%, then at least 87% about good food, right?
|This is a meme I made as an ode to Singapore Food. Also, True Story Bro.|
If all this food-talk is making you want to up your Takeaway Level to Singapore (see what I did here? hehe), check out Stay Far East.
Pro Tip: No One Can Diet in SIngapore, it’s too tempting.
PS: I want to go back to Singapore soon and do a Before – After photo shoot of all the pictures above. I have been using #BringMeBack #Singapore on Twitter for far too long now – I have to go back there soon. Also, new hashtag alert: #FarMoreSingapore
PPS: All pictures are my own (except the meme background, obviously), please do not use them anywhere else.