Archive for the category “Singapore!”

Singapore! Day 10: Chinese seafood, Durian, and “that lunch we won’t talk about”

Tomorrow is my last day in Singapore.  The time has pretty much flown by – especially considering I prefer long weekend vacations to full week vacations (and two weeks, in this instance!).  Steve has done a great job of packing in a lot of sightseeing, time with his friends, walking about town, and of course…fantastic food!

As we set out for lunch today, he had planned on taking me over to Orchard Road for something “fancy”.  As we walked, we saw more chickens on the side of the road.  Because that still amuses me, I took a picture.

I told Steve that the burger joint he had mentioned earlier in the week actually sounded good.  I think after having so much ethnic food (even for breakfast), I was just craving something American.  Kind of pathetic, I know!  It turns out that the place he had mentioned was not open for lunch.  Steve begged me not to mention this in the blog, but in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that we went to Carl’s Junior in the MRT station to have burgers and fries for lunch!  I had the avocado and bacon burger, and he had the jalapeno burger.  I also had the first caffeine drink I’ve had since I’ve been here.  “American” iced tea.  It was decadent!

We decided to head back to his apartment for the afternoon, as the threat of rain loomed over us.  Again, it never did rain, but it was a good excuse for Steve to do laundry and for us to enjoy “The Dark Knight Rises“.  At 2 hours and 40 minutes, it was a perfect way to spend part of the afternoon before heading out toward Wing Seong Fatty’s  for dinner.

Fatty’s is a regular haunt for Steve and his friends.  He ordered us Spring Rolls, Bok Choy, Black Pepper Prawns, and Black Pepper Chicken.

Spring Rolls

Bok Choy

Black Pepper Prawns

Black Pepper Chicken

While all of the food was very good, I was especially partial to the Bok Choy and the Black Pepper Chicken.  The black pepper in these dishes reminds me of the Kampot Pepper my friend Chanda sends me (it’s Cambodian pepper, and it’s amazing!)  One piece of advice…the black pepper totally sticks in one’s teeth, so toothpicks and dental floss are key!

Since we were so close, Steve and I walked over to Bugis Street to check out the “affordable shopping”.  Basically, it’s a small step up from China Town’s street market shopping, and you can buy everything from produce to clothing to accessories to trinkets.  We stopped to check out the Durian, which is a fruit that smells so bad it’s actually banned on the MRT lines!

Durian

I told Steve that I would try it if it was a “must do”, but he didn’t force me to do so after dinner (had we gone before dinner, I think he’d have bought one for me).  In all honesty, the pungent smell alone was enough to make me happy to pass on tasting it.

We then hopped the MRT back home and walked in intense humidity (89%)!  I swear that today was the only day I truly felt like I was melting in Singapore – and it wasn’t all that hot!  I have no idea how I’m going to adjust to going back to the Midwest US and deal with the snow and cold.  I have one more day to enjoy the warmth of Singapore – stay tuned!

Cheers!

Ker

Singapore! Day 9: Golf in Indonesia and Fish ‘n Chips in Boat Quay

Steve was finally able to take a day off today, so we woke up early to meet his friend, Jeff, and catch a ferry to Indonesia to golf on Batam Island in Indonesia.  We were in a taxi, and on the road by ~6:30AM. It was still dark out, and I think Steve was still half asleep!  🙂

At the station, Steve ordered Laksa noodles for me for breakfast (served with egg), and then we caught the 7:50AM ferry from Vivo City to the Sekupang terminal on Batam Island, Indonesia.

This was supposed to be a meal of spicy noodles, but they weren’t really spicy.   Steve had a HUGE “dollop” of chile paste added to his meal, which caused him to break into a  small sweat.  Mine, not so much.  It was tasty, don’t get me wrong; it just wasn’t as “hot” as I imagined it would be.

At 7:50AM, we took the ferry over from Singapore to Batam Island – about a 45 minute ride.   And, I’m telling you…this was the most well-organized, easy-going trip – ever!  Try as I did to tick Steve off by having “blonde moments”!

Once we arrived at Batam Hills, from the moment we stepped onto the golf resort grounds, every woman – to a T – said I looked like a doll, Barbie!  Ummm?? But, it sure was nice to have women saying something nice to me!

This was not on the course, but pre-golf game, this is what my hair looked like…very “Barbie”! LOL

It was the curls (thank you Pamcakes and TK), and the color (thank you, Michael!) that had them complimenting me at every turn!

The golf was superbly enjoyable, thanks to three fantastic caddies – of whom I did not capture a collective picture.  But, I did manage to get a picture with my caddy (after a round of golf – “Barbie hair” was not looking good!)

Me and my caddy for the day, Riyama.

After that extremely fun round of golf (if not a “good” round of golf), we grabbed lunch at BHGR.  I was served the “Batam Hills Sandwich” – which included chicken, beef bacon, tomato, cucumber, egg, and mayo – I suppose it was an Asian version of the Club Sandwich.  I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it, but it was quite tasty.  It was unexpectedly refreshing with the cucumber and tomato.  I finished the full sandwich easily.  I also dug having the french fries with chile sauce (they have a nice, spicy chile sauce at the club).

After lunch, we headed back on the ferry toward Singapore.  The return route was a bit more choppy, thanks to this guy…

He was making waves for us to cross over.

Steve and I had ~an hour to regroup before heading over to Boat Quay.  One problem…thunder and lightning struck about 10 minutes before we had to leave.  I admit that I was a bit of a pansy, and after giving Steve crap about getting a taxi to take us places earlier in the week, I (more than once!) asked “are you going to make me walk through the storm??”  He did (though it wasn’t storming yet).  We grabbed umbrellas and headed through Robertson Quay to Clarke Quay and over to Boat Quay to “Smith’s Fish and Chips“.

And…we beat the rain!! VICTORY!!

Once there, I was reacquainted with Bryan, whom I had met Friday night, and I met a few others – great people!  And, as the night progressed, I was reacquainted with more and more (now) familiar faces!  We also watched an incredible thunderstorm (with brilliant lightning) from the deck of the restaurant.  I’ve never been outside in such a storm, but nobody else flinched, so I powered through it!

Steve ordered me fried cod for dinner.  Holy I-can’t-finish-this-portion dinner!  Quite tasty, mind you. The fish and chips (fries) were delicious with vinegar and salt.  But, dear gosh… a HUGE portion!

It took me forever to even get through a third of this portion, mostly because I was chatting up a storm with Steve’s friends. Again, really cool men.

It was ~9:30PM by the time we left. AKA: way past Steve’s bedtime. No judgement…dude knows he needs sleep.

As we walked home, I couldn’t resist the urge to take a picture of the view of Clarke Quay at night – it was beautiful!

I know Steve loves his sleep, so I was grateful to Bryan for going out and grabbing a beer with me at Harry’s (Steve’s local “haunt”).  I have a hard time going to bed early, and it was nice to spend the evening chatting with a friendly man.  Bryan is a gem to be around.  He’s a hunter,  a beer drinker, a cook, and a family man…we shared stories about food, family, and Steve.  😉  And, now I know that I have a second home to stay in when I go to Baton Rouge (IF I go to Baton Rouge again).

Another great day in Southeast Asia!

Cheers!

Ker

Singapore! Day 7 – Chilli Crab (Clarke Quay) and Sashimi and Maki ( Robertson Quay)

Since Steve had to go into work this morning, I spent the morning walking around Robertson and Clarke Quays.  There wasn’t much to actually see or do, because very few things are open in the morning, but it was nice to wander, rather than sit in the apartment.  Mind you, it was seriously crazy hot and humid too!

That walk allowed me to further explore areas Steve had taken me to earlier.  So, when he came home shortly after noon local time and suggested we set out for lunch in Clarke Quay, I felt comfortable that I knew where he was heading.

We ended up walking over to Clarke Quay to dine at Jumbo’s Seafood. Our mission that day: take on the Chilli Crab challenge! And, we did.

We were seated with six other people at a table set for four twosomes. One twosome ordered the Chilli Crab, one ordered the Pepper Crab (boiled in black pepper) and one ordered duck (???). Steve ordered us the fried baby squid, stir-fried asparagus (shockingly, cooked in garlic!), and Chilli Crab.

Side note:  One of Steve’s coworkers (a Brit) happened upon us on the streets of Singapore and mentioned that I must be Steve’s sister – y’all….we don’t look ANYTHING alike! He’s Italian. I’m Irish-mix. He has green eyes, mine change color daily. He’s dark. I’m not just light, I’m white! And, on from there.  However, despite our distinctly different backgrounds and looks, we have an uncanny knack for liking the same things.  Very similar tastes and even mannerisms.

Back to Jumbo’s…just as the food was being served, I tied on the provided bib. I’m no dummy! Everyone else at the table (except Steve) wore their bibs too.  There was no shame in doing so.

The baby squid were delicious and served with a chile sauce (reminiscent of spring roll sauce). Crispy and easy to eat.

The asparagus was amazing! Bright green, cooked to perfection, and piled atop a delicious garlic sauce.  Steve and I found ourselves doing the same thing, pushing the garlic to the corners to try to soak it all up with our asparagus!  And, we devoured the veggies!

Then came our Chilli Crab, which is boiled and served in a delicious chilli pepper sauce that is the consistency of a heavy soup or stew.

Steve served me a claw first and I broke the meat out with ease (and no mess!).

I think I impressed us both equally – as I had anticipated wearing the red pepper sauce all over. Granted, my bib was quite covered, but my hands, arms and dress were not!  I will say that I tired of using my chopsticks by the end of this meal.  It’s so messy that it becomes difficult to use them the whole time – plus, it’s totally appropriate to use your hands and just eat the meat.  We proceeded to suck every last piece out of that pot, and then proceeded to eat the sauce by the spoonful.

We certainly did not leave hungry, and we managed to leave clean!

We then set off to Little India to visit the Wet Market – fresh fish, meat and produce vendors galore!

Most of it was closed by the time we weaved our way through Little India, but the stuff that was left was still amazing!  The seafood alone would have me visiting several times a week!

We rushed home to beat a rain that never came. Both Steve and I were convinced that it was going to pour, but the threat was idle. Regardless, we used the time to relax and watch “The Hangover 2“, set in Thailand – one of Steve’s favorite places, and one we were going to try to visit, but couldn’t make happen.

Then, off to a small Japanese restaurant, Yume Ya, for sushi dinner. We both had a tough time ordering, because there were so many things we wanted to try! We ended up having Shake (Salmon) sashimi, Kanpachi (yellow tail) sashimi, Spicy Tuna Maki Temaki (spicy tuna roll), Soft Shell Crab Maki Temaki (soft shell crab roll), and the Yumeya Special Maki (house special roll).

The sashimi melted in our mouths – it was so good!

Neither of us were huge fans of the spicy tuna roll, as the flavors were overwhelming since it was topped with a 12 spices blend. The house roll and the soft shell crab rolls were a different story. Both delicious!

We managed to finish all of the food and went home happy!  I was especially happy, as I was FINALLY able to pay a bill here.  Steve has been so very generous, and I had to sneak one in while I’m here.  🙂

I’m on my own in Singapore Tuesday since Steve has work commitments. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do since we’ve covered so much ground already.  But, I’m sure it will be a splendid day 8 on vacation!

If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to chime in as to how I should spend my day!

Cheers!
Ker

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Singapore! Day 4 (a bit late!) Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant

I had to delay writing this post because I wasn’t exactly sure what all I had eaten on Friday night!  I put Steve to work to gather a list of the specifics so I could do the dinner we had with his coworkers justice! As usual, he pulled through – actually bringing me the ticket from dinner that night!
Meeting his coworkers for a traditional Southern Indian meal at Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant after golfing in Malaysia earlier that morning was a perfect plan! We were hungry, and there was plenty of food! Additionally, the company we kept was awesome. I sat next to an American named Mark, and across from Steve and his coworker (and host for the evening), Lingam.  There were four more folks who joined us at the other end of the table: Scott and his lovely wife, Lynn and Mubarak and Bong Tong, who treated us to this fantastic meal!
If you haven’t been to this style of Indian restaurant (and I had not been), you sit down at a setting which has a “table” set for you, on a banana leaf. It looks like a place mat, but actually serves as your plate.
I’m not sure I’ll get the order correct, just trust me that Lingam ordered a great variety of foods, and lots of it!
We started off with a few pieces of Papadum, which served as my utensils.  Lingam and a few others ate traditionally, by using their fingers to mix and eat their food. I never quite got that comfortable at the dinner table, and therefore managed to walk away with very little curry under my nails!
The servers brought Briyani rice, cabbage and Brinjal (eggplant) first. Then, things came more quickly than I could try them! More than once, Lingam laughed at how I was trying to keep up – but was failing miserably to do so! Out came spoonfuls of Chicken Mysore, Mutton Curry, Fried Fish, Chicken Masala, Fishhead Curry and Chicken Curry.

Fishhead Curry

I tried it all, and enjoyed it all. There were a variety of flavors, but I was most partial to the Mutton Curry, the Chicken Mysore, the Fishhead Curry, and the Cabbage.
There was no way I could finish everything I had been served, so I hoped that the gang would not be offended when I folded my banana leaf over to indicate that I was done (not to indicate that there was anything wrong with the meal…which I’m told one might also do). There was also no way I could keep up with taking pictures of the food whilst trying to taste it all…so, I apologize, but I missed capturing many of the delightful dishes of the evening in photos.  😦
We had anticipated going out with one or two of the guys that night, but everyone headed in their own directions.  Steve and I headed back to Robertson Quay – figuring we’d have a glass of wine and enjoy the evening outdoors.  We immediately ran into two more coworkers of his, chatted, and had several laughs.  Everyone I have met thus far has been tremendous! Really fun people!
After Bryan and Jason (aforementioned run-ins) left, Steve and I headed back to Wine Connection for that Cab we enjoyed so much earlier in the week.  Turns out, we still enjoyed it! Two bottles and a long catch-up conversation later, we retired home to rest up for an outing to Sentosa Island the next day.
Yes, we were both exhausted and we got a late start the next day, but I think it was worth having a rare late night out (might have allegedly been an early morning out) in Robertson Quay!
As a parting thought tonight, if you have the chance to try a Banana Leaf Indian meal, I highly recommend it!  I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure! I’d love to hear from those of you who have tried this before.
Cheers!
Ker

Singapore! Day 6: Malaysia and Muddy Murphy’s

On Sunday morning, we headed off toward Malaysia at ~6AM on Sunday to meet up with a few of Steve’s coworkers for another round of golf. Our threesome was rounded out by Derek, a Scottish gent. Andy and Mike are British and Welsh, respectively. Needless to say, they were lovely to listen to (accents!), and really fun guys to hang around with!

I played terribly, and didn’t really enjoy the round, but I ended up scoring better than the previous round – so apparently some of my skills have hung on!

After golf, we met up with Andy and Mike for a traditional Sunday Brunch at Muddy Murphy’s back in Singapore, which is near Orchard Towers (aka: Four Floors of Whores). Side note: I’ve become quite educated as to the culture of that area, and I’ve seen plenty of the “working girls” as they begin their shifts and head home with the men who pay them. Kind of sad, but apparently, it’s a business around here.

At Muddy’s, of course, we started off with pints of Guinness and Kilkenny’s.

Then, we ordered brunch. We all chose the same meals: Crab Bisque and Roast Striploin (with Yorkshire Pudding!). Both were excellent! Great flavor, and the meat was tender and cooked perfectly. The vegetables were perfectly prepared as well. And, although Yorkshire pudding was described to me simply as “flour, water and a bit of fat”, I enjoyed the texture, and the taste, especially when mixed with the gravy and horseradish sauce.

I didn’t know any better, so I ordered dessert. Not wanting to leave me to eat dessert alone, Steve ordered one too. I had the Tiramisu cake, which was actually just chocolate mousse cake – not bad, but didn’t live up to the anticipation! Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts, and this missed the key flavors of Tiramisu.

And, Steve ordered the Traditional Bread and Butter Pudding – very well done! It was served warm and the consistency was just as it should have been. And, the sauce was the perfect complement.

 

After a few more pints (drinking the Clemson loss away!), lots of laughs, and a little bit of shopping (yes, Steve knew to put a couple of beers in me before taking me back to the golf shopping center!), we headed home for the evening. That food filled me up for the day and evening – it was like having another Thanksgiving meal!

Those Englishmen were quite lovely company and made for a fun Sunday out in Singapore. I think they enjoyed this Ahmahreecan (American, pronounced slightly differently 😉 ) as well. I’m glad we spent some QT with them.

Tomorrow…I’m not sure what’s on the books! Indonesia is coming up soon, and I’m really looking forward to that! I’m also looking forward to getting back to the states to see my babies! I miss those goofy pups!

Cheers!

Ker

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