Savoring Singapore

I recently went on a food trip to Singapore, and it was one of the most delicious experiences of my life. My husband was scheduled to go with his football club so I decided to tag along and have a bit of my own fun. My entire trip was scheduled around my meals. From 2 lunches a day (decided Singaporean breakfast was not on my list of worthy calories) to a mid day meal to dinner, I tried everything that was placed in front of me. I also wanted to try dishes that were authentic from the hawker’s markets as well as some of the higher end westernized restaurant selections.

Day 1

Lunch: My first stop was a food court called Food Republic @ Wisma Atria Mall on Orchard Road.  I was told that these vendors used to sell the street but were all brought in because of the popularity of their stalls. I chose to try the Hokkien Mee which is noodles with seafood. This was filled with prawn and squid, which together with the noodles made it a really hearty dish. I especially loved the chili shrimp paste it came with. I also trued the Barbecue Chicken Wings. These wings were huge, juicy and tasty. It is comparable to our local Chicken Inasal. Lastly, I tried their Popiah. This was definitely my favorite. Again, it is similar to one of our local dishes, Fresh Lumpiang Ubod. This one is filled with the sweet hoisin based sauce, loads of crushed garlic, stir fried turnip and jicama, tofu, crushed peanuts and shredded omelette. This one beats our local lumpia, it was truly one of the best things I ate on that trip.

Chicken Wings cookin’ at Food Republic @ Wisma Atria

Hokkien Mee

Chicken Wings

Popiah

Mid-day Meal: After walking for a few hours, I decided to head to one of my favorite Chinese franchise restaurants, Din Tai Fung. Here I had The Oriental Salad in a Special Vinegar Dressing, which was light but satisfying.  It had rice noodle, thinly sliced and stir fried tofu, seaweed, bean sprouts and thinly sliced red pepper. The dressing was simple, black vinegar and sesame oil. I followed that with what they are known form the Steamed Pork Dumpling (soup) or Shao Long Bao and the Steamed Chili Crab and Pork Buns. The buns… oh the buns! Amazing. I regret having them because I will never be able to satisfy that craving from here.

Din Tai Fung Condiments

My Setting

Oriental Salad with Special Vinegar Dressing

Steamed Pork Dumplings

Chili Crab and Pork Buns

A look inside…

Dinner: I had a late dinner in a true hawker center, the one found on Old Airport Road. This place was happening, full of diners enjoying their street food. Though it took a while to get a table, it was worth the wait. Here I had to go for a second serving of the Popiah. I was becoming obsessed. I even watched the skilled cook assemble it, 8 pieces in under 30 seconds. I have to admit, this one was slightly better than the one I had had earlier. The taste was the same, only elevated in flavors… more of the spicy sweetness. I also was able to try Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce. My favorite part of this dish when I have it here is the sauce but in the hawker market, it doesn’t even need the sauce. It was so tender and flavorful. The last thing my tummy had space for was the Fried Oyster Omelette. This was good, but you have to truly like oysters to appreciate it.

Hawker Center in Old Airport Road

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Popiah!

Chicken Satay

Fried Oyster Omelette

Day 2

Lunch 1: I hadn’t had enough of the street type food yet so my good friend Mon took me to a little hole-in-the-wall type joint in the city’s version of the red light district. There, we had Beef Kway Teow which is one of my favorite noodle dishes. I liked it very much. One of our local chain restaurants, Banana Leaf has version called Char Kway Teow which tastes almost exactly the same. I also sampled their Cereal Prawn and the Deep Fried Baby Squid. Both were nice but the squid is what I would come back for. It was so easy to snack on, it was crunchy, sweet, spicy and salty all at the same time! That was my favorite part of the meal. I even wrapped some up for my husband to try.

Beef Kway Teow

Cereal Prawn

Deep Fried baby Squid

Fresh Chilis in Fish Sauce

Lunch 2: At this point, I was ready to try something a little more continental. I was able to have my husband for the afternoon and together with some of his team mates, we opted to try Mozza, Mario Batali’s  pizzeria in Marina Bay Sands. For starters, I had to sample his Meatballs Al Forno; Plump, tender and smothered with a simple tomato sauce. I also tried their version of wings, the Chicken Wings Alla Diavolo. This was good but I preferred the street ones. Lastly, I sampled the Bone Marrow Al Forno. This will always be a treat. It went so well with the roasted garlic and crusty bread that came with the dish. I even spread it on my pizza crust. The pizzas were yummy. They had a really thin crust, which was soft but the edges popped up and was super crispy. The toppings were generous, spilling out when we would pull our pieces apart. We chose Margherita (mozzarella, tomato, basil), Fungi Misti (Fontina, fungi, taleggio, thyme), Bacon (bacon, salami, fennel sausage, pancetta, tomato, mozzarella) and Pizza Al Beno (speck, pineapple, jalapeno, mozzarella, tomato). My husband and I also split a panini which was packed with mortadella, prosciutto di parma, salami nostrano, coppa and aged provolone. Again, this sandwich did not disappoint.

Complimentary Bread

Meatballs Al Forno

Chicken Wings

Bone Marrow Al Forno

Margherita

Fungi Misti

Bacon

Pizza Al Beno

Panini

 

Affogato

Dinner: This meal was a real treat. My cousin Freddy who frequents the country was looking for company when he re visited one of his favorite restaurants, Wolfgang Puck’s Cut. Being ever the gentleman, he ordered what he believed I would like and treated me to this wonderful meal. I fear I may not enjoy another rib eye as this will be difficult to compete with. We started with the Blue Fin Tuna Tartare. No more than 3 bites, this dish will leave you wanting more. The cone was crisp, made with both white and black sesame while the filling was made with the freshest tuna perfectly sliced in wasabi alioli, ginger, togarashi crisps and tosa soy.  We then sampled the Hokkaido Scallop Carpaccio, which tasted as though it was straight off the boat. It was on a wasabi kosho ponzu sauce, which complemented the subdued flavor of the scallop. The whole dish was beautiful and had floral notes running through it coming from the anahaw leaf which left a subtle numbness to your tongue. Next was the most sinful, the Bone marrow Flan (yes, I realize this was the second time I had this in one day but you only live once!), which was heavenly. It came with little white bread triangles, which were toasted to a beautiful light crisp and had sidings of onion jam and mushroom marmalade. I savored every last bite, this marrow was creamy and sweet. I cannot even compare it to anything because it is in a league of its own. This is a MUST when in Singapore. Moving on to our mains, we had 2 different types of Rib eye. The first was the True Japanese 100% Wagyu Beef. This was melt-in-your mouth, a-spoon-could-have-cut-through-it good. Another MUST. The second was the Australian Angus 300+ Days Grain Fed Rib-eye. It was not quite as good but still fantastic. We chose a Soft Polenta with Parmesan and Carmelized Corn as sides. To be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to them… I remember them being good, the corn had a sweet, grilled flavor but nothing could overshadow that steak.

Tuna Tartare

Hokkaido Scallop Carpaccio

Bone Marrow Flan

Ribeye Selection

Banana Cream Pie

Meyer Lemon and Chocolate Baked Alaska

Day 3

Lunch: Today was raining cats and dogs so we decided to go for Ippudo Ramen. I love this place so much. The broth is thick and tasty and you can specify how you want your noodles, soft, medium or hard. Mine came at the perfect medium-hard. I opted for the Karaka Chashu which is their original broth made with ground pork plus pork belly and a wonderful miso paste while my husband had the Spicy Miso Tonkutso which had thicker noodles and a more fragrant broth. Both were excellent. The buns were just the cherry on top of an already amazing sundae… These little pockets of cuapao filled with soy glazed shrimp, chicken or barbecued pork were bites of happiness!

Karaka Charshu

Spicy Miso Ramen

Shrimp Bun

Dinner: I ate alone tonight. After walking the streets and taking in the city, I stopped in a little cafeteria-style place that had a simple sign that read “Chicken Rice” off Short Street. I was waiting to try something this authentic so I got a small order for one. Just like the sign, it was simple – Chicken (I opted for roasted instead of steamed), Rice (flavored with chicken broth and ginger) and Clear Soup garnished with scallions. It was the perfect light meal for the evening. It embodied the clean simplicity of Singapore, the chicken was uncomplicated yet had amazing flavor. The rice was not plain but something you could continue to eat without tiring of and the same could be said about the soup.

Roasted Chicken

Fragrant Rice

Day 4

Last Meal: Today was my last day in this sterile yet invigorating city. After laying out in the sun and doing my favorite thing when traveling (getting lost in the supermarket), I had one last meal before heading to the airport: Singaporean Chili Crab.  If there is one reason to return to Singapore, it is to eat this. I chose to have it is Red House where it is their specialty. I went and had the ENTIRE crab in one sitting with 4 pieces of Mantou (yes, the staff and people around were staring in disbelief… One kind man even offered me more hand wipes).  This dish was not spicy but full of the actual flavor of the chili. The crab was fresh and very meaty. The Mantou was crisp and golden brown on the outside and soft, chewy and subtly sweet on the inside. It was the perfect accompaniment. I was so happy while eating it and this was one time that I was happy to not have to share.

Starter – Deep Fried Golden Mushrooms

Singaporean Chili Crab

Meaty Claw with Mantou

I was sad to say goodbye to Singapore but at the same time, I was so full and was ready to detox from the over indulgent weekend. Until next time, thank you for the deliciously good time!

One snapshot from the trip, taken at Mozza with some of the Meralco Sparks

 

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