Archive for the tag “Singapore”

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

Singapore! Day 5 – Sentosa Island and Roberston Quay

After enjoying a wonderful, traditional Indian dinner with his coworkers, and then sitting at Wine Connection gabbing over a couple of bottles of wine last night, I knew Steve would be sleeping in so I took advantage and slept in myself.

We caught a late morning cab ride to Vivo City (another shopping mall, but Steve prepped me that it was only a launching point for our day!). We stopped at the food courts there for lunch and enjoyed fried noodle lunches.  Mine was Fried Hokkien Mee,
which was good, but only when I mixed in a couple of spoonfuls of the chile paste (seen at ~1 o’clock in the pic).  I think servers see that I’m American, and play things safely.  I appreciate that, but I inevitably end up “doctoring” my meals to get more flavor.  Steve, on the other hand, has been around enough to know how to order things to his liking.  His Fried Kway Teow were quite tasty, as served.
From there, we headed toward the Sentosa Island boardwalk and made our way to the other Singaporean island – on foot. (I love to walk places, and Steve is great about walking and talking about the surrounding areas)
We spent the day sightseeing. We went up in the Merlion statue, rode the Sky Tower, walked to the beach, saw everything the aquarium and bird/butterfly/insect areas had to offer. It is an absolutely gorgeous, if very touristy area. Plus, we had beautiful weather!
The only thing I really want to go back and do is the zip line! I was foolish and wore my staple outfit – a dress. Totally not conducive to zip lining, trapeze stunts, rock climbing, or any of the other activities offered on Sentosa. 😦
Once we got back and walked along Clarke Quay (I figured out the MRT route home pretty quickly!), we set out for dinner.
Steve has wanted me to try one of his favorite Thai places, so we walked downstairs and had dinner at his local joint.  [link]
It’s a nondescript and small restaurant, but the food was delicious! Steve ordered spring rolls to start (we were both hungry!), red curry with pork for me, and green curry with prawns for himself.  He had Singha beer and I had a white wine to pair with the meal.  Perfect for a hot meal on a warm night!
The red curry is supposed to be mild, and the green hot.  Steve had a small sweat going by the end of his meal, but the spoonful I had of his dish did not burn the way I had anticipated. Yet, it had great flavor, and I really enjoyed it!
The red curry tasted bland to Steve, but I thought it had a nice (mild) kick to it.  I couldn’t finish but half of it – only because I was full! I really did like the curry at this place.  Very tasty!
We retired to his apartment early, since we have to be on the road for golf at 5:45AM.  Steve is sound asleep (dude has always been able to fall asleep faster and more deeply than anyone I know!!), and I am back downstairs writing this post. I love the vibe in Robertson Walk – the area of bars, restaurants and shopping just outside of his apartment building. There’s great energy with all of the people, and yet it’s super safe.  Better than sitting in bed writing!
Status, day 5: Steve = alive, Ker = alive, therefore, all is still good!! :). Again, kidding, we’re having fun, and I’m getting to see a lot of the area, and have met several of his coworkers and friends.  And, I’ll be meeting a few more tomorrow morning.  So, time to retire for the evening (again) soon.
One last note…
Go Clemson Tigers!  Beat the Gamecocks tonight!
Cheers!
Ker

Singapore! Day 1 – Boat Quay and Robertson Quay

As many of you know, I’ve been silly excited for what amounts to my second “proper” vacation since I graduated college (it’s been a few years, folks!).  After a ridiculous itinerary full of flights on United Airlines (oh, how I miss the days when Continental existed!), including 20 hours of flight time with no wi-fi and no power outlets (rendering my laptop useless inside of 3 1/2 hours), I arrived into Singapore at ~1:30AM local time yesterday (the marker indicates where I’m staying in Singapore).    I’m here for two weeks, visiting with a friend who has been living here for ~2 1/2 years.  We don’t have many firm plans (at least that I’m aware of), but we do plan to golf and eat and drink our way through Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and perhaps Thailand.

Since yesterday was my first day here, Steve (aforementioned friend) wanted to keep things low-key, anticipating that my jet lag would hit on a moment’s notice.  Our plan was to hit most of the “touristy” stuff and to make sure I could snap photos of the “must see” sights of Singapore.

We set out on foot from Robertson Quay (pronounced “key”) and walked through Clarke Quay and over to Boat Quay. Neither Steve nor I are finicky eaters, so the most difficult part of lunch was making a decision as to what to eat!  There are endless seafood restaurants, British pub food, Thai and Indian cuisine, and more.  And, as we walked we got to check out the lunch fare – tanks full of live fish, lobsters, and the most humongous crabs I’ve ever seen – lined the sidewalks.  I’ll save a picture of those for when we have Chili Crab later this week.

We decided to stop at Forum Seafood.  Steve said they have the best seafood along the walk – and who am I to argue with the resident expert?  I surrendered the ordering process over to Steve, and in response to my challenge, he ordered several plates for us to share, and I have to say he did a really nice job!

We’re both pretty skilled with our chop sticks, so we tossed aside the provided fork and dove right into the Baby Kailan (sautéed greens, with garlic and butter).  I’m glad that Steve likes veggies as much as I do!  A good choice.

Then, it was on to the Mango Salad.  It was refreshing and delicious! Full of flavors, including peanuts, cucumbers, onions, red chiles, etc.

As you can see, we also dug into some Tiger Prawns, prepared BBQ and garlic style.  Both Steve and I were laughing about the fact that we’d later be sweating out garlic as we walked in the 88F/31C weather.  There was no shortage of garlic in our meal!

Finally, he had ordered the Bamboo clams steamed in butter and, you guessed, it…garlic!  However, our server came back to tell us that they had sold out of the Bamboo clams and she brought over a Venus clam to show Steve. He ordered one for each of us, and when they arrived…Dear Lord, those clams were huge!

The staff had attempted to cut the clams into pieces to help us eat them, but failed to fully slice mine.  I was left with this huge piece of meat and Steve was cracking up watching me try to manipulate that thing into my mouth.  It’s definitely not something a girl would want to order on a date! That said, although the first bite was a bit tough, the second and third bites were pretty tasty.

I admit that I didn’t help Steve eat enough…I left him with several prawns to finish.  It wasn’t that they weren’t tasty, it’s just that I was comfortably full, and I’m glad I didn’t overdo it.  We ended up walking, and walking and walking around the city/state.  I’ve included a handful of pictures at the end of this post.

After seeing so much, and enjoying a truly gorgeous day, we went back to Steve’s apartment and chilled for an hour and a half or so.  We may have each snuck a little cat nap in there too!

At ~8:30PM, we headed downstairs and scouted out Robertson Walk.  Ultimately, we decided to eat at Wine Connection, at a table on the street.  Luckily, Steve and I have very similar taste in wine, along with open-mindedness about food.  He ordered a bottle of the “2009 Terra Mater Limited Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon” to pair with our “choose 5 cheese and charcuterie” board.

For the meal, we chose Pecorino Siciliano (Italian), Brie de Meaux (French),  Gorgonzola Mascarpone (Italy), and Munster “Val de Weiss” (France) (because the restaurant was out of goat cheese).  Steve also chose Prosciutto de Parma to round  out the plate.

Hands down, our favorites were that happy little accident that was the Munster – a creamy, brie-like texture wrapped in the traditional firm casing, and the Gorgonzola – also somewhat creamy, but with a subtle flavor that kicks in over time.

The Pecorino was fine, but nothing too fancy.  When we caught a taste of the peppercorns, we both found the cheese to be much more interesting.  The Brie…now, that was another story.  Both Steve and I are big fans of Brie, but this one not only had quite a stench, but a taste to match it.  It was unlike any Brie either of us had ever had – and not in a good way!  We struggled to finish that portion.

We did not struggle to finish the wine, and had we had more energy, I’m confident we would have ordered another bottle.  I think we’ll be back before I leave to enjoy another round at Wine Connection.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the sites we saw during the day, including the famous “Merlion Statue“, the Marina Bay Sands, the Botanical Gardens, and a couple of other interesting spots.

The Merlion Statue, Merlion Park, Singapore

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel (yep, that’s a boat on top of the waves and towers)

Botanical Gardens as seen from the Sands SkyPark

The Ferris Wheel (“a ‘couples’ thing” according to Steve, since dinner is served on board!) and part of the Formula 1 race track that goes through the city.

Doesn’t every city have a floating soccer field?

Stay tuned for more adventures in Singapore and the surrounding areas! If you have advice on must-try spots, please leave a comment!

Cheers!

Ker

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