Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All Singapore, All Week. EATING. Corner View

OK if you didn't know if before, you will realize it by the end of this post, one of the reasons to go to Singapore, is because of the EATING.  If you like Chinese food, if you like Indian food, if you like Malaysian food, if you like any Asian food, and if you like all those foods mixed together, you will L-O-----V--E Singapore.  And if you like plenty of company when you eat, and you spend 24/7 thinking about what you are going to eat NEXT, you will think that you have died and gone to heaven.  

So, a strange thing about this heaven.....or, I mean, a particularly lovely little corner of this particular heaven......is that it is ALSO KNOWN AS.........The SUN-TEC SINGAPORE CONVENTION CENTER!

   Have you ever, EVER in your life, gone to a CONVENTION CENTER for the sole purpose of eating?  Breakfast?  

Well then, it may be that you have NEVER LIVED!

And you need probably, to hop on a plane and go to Singapore.

You may or may not know that Singapore's powers-that-be have determined over time that it is in the Singaporeans' and their visitors' interest to have access to cheap, fresh, wholesomely prepared and sanitarily purveyed restaurant food.  Across this enterprising city state, in a wholesale campaign, hawker stalls have been brought in from the sweltery dusty roadside, had roofs put over them, and air conditioning added, and brought into line with strict regulations.  Turned into chain restaurants under a grouping of corporate entities, you can find them every 1/2 a mile or so, taking up whole city blocks, or occupying the whole basements of department stores, malls and airports, or lending charm and vitality to yes, Convention Centers!  The quality of "Food Republic"offerings is excellent, as you can tell by the fact that it is packed!  (Of course I took these pictures on a weekend, which means the Food Courts were probably a little especially packed.)  But I'm talking about a Food Court.  FOOD COURT.  Not like any food courts you have ever known before.

OK.  What is this?  Mostly tofu.  You choose a style of noodle soup that you would like (I chose Malaysian Laksa with coconut curry broth - (and sorry, priorities, EATING - NO PICTURES!) and you fill your bowl with all the bits and bobs that you would like to have floating in it.  You are charged about 50 cents for each item that you want to add to your bowl and since this is a "tofu" stand most of the items are tofu in some form or another, many deep fried.  The colorful things on the right are peppers and eggplant stuffed with tofu.  Some are tofu rolled with seaweed or chicken, some are fishcake, some have minced mushrooms, and then you can also choose vegetables and mushrooms and garnishes like basil or coriander to sprinkle on top.  The TOFU is the sweetest, tenderest, silkiest, most flavorful and dimensional tofu you have tasted in your life.  It gives easily to your tooth but it is moist and slightly chewy and juicy with the flavors of the broth and whatever else it is cooked with.  SO YUMMY!  (Note to self:  Must get on plane and fly STRAIGHT back for more noodle soup and tofu!  Pronto!  I mean NOW!)

Deep fried grouper anybody?  I think this is a Malaysian specialty.  There's surely some spicy sauce (or two or three) to pour over it.  Award winning grouper.

Not sure, just enjoy the picture.  There were about 8 or 10 stalls in this food court.  This is a normal number.

This is a toast stall.   That tall yellow cone on the right?  It is BUTTER.  For your TOAST.  Most stalls specialize in one thing.  One stall served all the drinks in the food court, from Red Bull to Masala tea.  One stall served "Pratas".  The Prata stall was THE MOST POPULAR food stall in the joint on a Saturday morning.  "What are 'Pratas'?" - you might ask?  (Because I did.)  They are PARATHAS - Indian-style fried flat breads served with curries.  Do Singaporeans know something that we do not know?  Are we missing out?  Why ESPECIALLY is it necessary and GOOD to line up at the PRATA stall first thing on a Saturday morning?  (Note to self:  Remember to try those PRATAS!)

Before or after: DUMPLINGS!!!!!!  OK, yes HEAVEN!  No need to wait around in some glary bright red banquet hall waiting for some grouchy lady with a cart and giant tongs to remember your existence and how VERY HUNGRY YOU ARE!!!!!  Just stand in line in front of this magical edifice of steaming bamboo.  Place your instructions in a pleasant but businesslike manner and VOILA!  Magical tender tasty succulent dumplings!  In a bamboo basket of your very own.  Order as many as you can carry and RUN to the nearest table.  The quality is excellent.  So fresh, so juicy.  No, REALLY it is!  I would tell you if it disappointed in any way.  I cannot.

Now we are on ORCHARD ROAD.  In the basement of Takashimaya.  Orchard Road thinks it's upper Fifth Avenue in New York.  (OK Upper Fifth Avenue on steroids.)  There is an Hermes Shop next to a Zara every half-mile.  That's in between the Chanel and the Louis Vuitton and the Bulgari and and and and (well there are also Swensens' and TGIFriday's and Seven-Elevens and Chili's, Starbucks and huh-uhhhhh??????)  But Takashimaya sells Repetto ballet flats and Belgian chocolates and Sheridan sheets (and everything Harrods) - all in one place!

AND: these little chicken kebabs with an automated dipping and grilling machine all their very own.

And these little fishes with puffy batter insides and even deeper within ..... could that be chocolate or (more likely) sweet bean paste?

Another Food Republic here, in case you missed something at the Convention Center.  Oh yeah, Thai food and a stall specializing in "Porridge".  Do you know what exactly "Porridge" is?  When I was growing up we called it "Juk" (or "Jook") and it is basically a giant stock pot full of rice and water and the carcass of some kind of poultry.  You can garnish it with anything you like (after you remove the carcass) especially soy sauce and green onions/black pepper and basically it is the soul food of Cantonese cooking.

Exotic fruit desserts anyone?  Durian pudding?  Not something I eat EVERY day!  You?

JUST IN CASE.... all this exoticness is getting just a little too exotic for you.......chips on a stick!

Or maybe better, Parisian brunch?  At Hediard, also on Orchard Road.  (Mr. Paradis makes a stand in favor of eggs and soldiers on behalf of the whole of the Western world.)

And finally.  Even in Singapore, all things come to an end.  (My Big Fat Crazy Singaporean Weekend.)  So now where are we?  At the Esplanade, across from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel with it's unbelievable 57th Floor swimming pool the size of two football fields laid end to end.....(Note Again to Self:  Book ONE WEEK D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-LY Here!)

We had tried to go to Geylang, where the best branch of this restaurant is reputed to be.  But Mr. Paradis had an accident while he was taking a picture of a BEAUTIFUL temple.  And we ended up at the hospital for several hours.  (Blood everywhere and an interminable taxi ride - but EVERYONE was SO NICE!)  

When he was able to hobble back through the subway and malls and all the endless escalators, this seemed to be the most sensible and convenient-to-the-hotel option.  NO SIGNBOARD SEAFOOD for white pepper crab and a big platter of chili crab.  (Again no pictures.  Sorry!  I only remember to take the picture AFTER the plate gets all messy and less appetizing.)  To be honest, it was not the life-changing experience I had hoped for.  But it was good.  And it is what Singapore is FAMOUS for. 

So I'll let you decide for yourself.  But.  You might just have to have it!

Find more Corner Views:  jane ian - bonnie - joyce - kim - kay -trinsch - ritva - francesca - state of bliss cabrizette - isabelle - janis -kari - jgy - lise - cate - otli - dorte - b -sophie - mcgillicutty - sunnymama -daan - ibb - pienduzz - kelleyn - ninjasammi - theresa - cherry b - juliette -shokoofeh - cole - grey lemon -lucylaine - lynn - skywriting - anna -dorit - conny - l´atelier - kamana -anne marie - rosamaría - victoria -tikjewit - juniper - annabel - andrea -valerie - merel soisses - mlle paradiscacahuete - wander chow - barbara -emily - tally - nadine - matilda - don -flowtops - susanna - tania - dana -ingrid - tzivia - mezza - lollipop - mari


  1. That's more than a great report! Thanks again!

  2. Amazing insights!! And guess what? I am HUNGRY now!! ;o)))

  3. My mouth is watering! I too, couldn't believe how good the food was at a Food court?! Can't wait to go back!

  4. Oh my goodness! Noodles AND dumplings?! You were in heaven, my friend. :-)

  5. what a post! i'm drooling off my chair here... and it's only 8 in the morning.... huh!

  6. I'm hungry now...

  7. okay. you LIKE your food. thank god I'd just had lunch before this. ha ha :)

  8. Waaa... oh my lordy! I'll take a cone of butter please, can I have that to go? I'd 200 lbs in no time. Thanks for the eye opener!

  9. What choices!!! I would not know where to begin! LIke that stall with the bamboo steam boxes...
    Singapore sounds like a very interesting place.

  10. oh my now i'm so hungry after looking at all these images :)

  11. Must get my hands on some of those amazing looking tofu treats (the 'proper' vegetarian ones... not the ones mixed up with fish and chicken :) - they look mouth-wateringly delicious!
    Hope you're having a great weekend!

  12. wow, what a culinary experience!

  13. tu donnes envie d'aller explorer tous ces endroits ... j'y suis passé il y a quelques années mais en coup de vent car ma destination finale était l'Indonésie et Singapour seulement une étape ...

  14. I looooove Food Republic especially the one in VivoCity. Great post & pix - wow you really covered some ground there!