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May as well get this started:   Due to weather in Toronto and an impromptu layover in Hong Kong we had about 20 hours in Singapore on the front end and another 20 on the back. The downer is that we

Merry Christmas heathens!   I will be posting this in pieces, as I've already lost it twice. This is a chromebook problem, not a mouthfuls problem.   I arrived Singapore at 6 am yesterday, and my

mongo- I'll look for it if I get out that way.

 

I'm heading out to Palau Ubin for the day, but I'll pop up a quick post about Kaya Toast.

 

I'm going to post the pics, then fill in the words, since my chromebook hates me after dropping it on it's corner a few weeks ago.

 

Kaya Toast seems to be the National Breakfast of Singapore, and you can get it all over. Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a chain throughout the city, including in the complex next door (People's Park Center, not to be confused with People's Park Complex, where I am). Reports say that Ya Kun does the best job, so I'll start with it as it is the most iconic.

 

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Here's the tray: a cup of kopi, 2 soft-cooked eggs, and 2 slices of kaya toast. I have no idea how 4 little coconut jam and butter sandwiches translates to 2 slices, but I'm going with it. Note- the yolks are huge!

 

There's a restaurant in Denver called ChoLon that serves a riff on this dish- an eggy/coconut mousse is served alongside toast points for dipping. I don't really know how to eat this properly, but I do something similar by popping the yolks and dipping the toasts into the eggs, using the little spoon for an assist.

 

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Close up of toast.

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What a combination this was- sweet coconut jam, creamy butter, savory egg, crisp toast, just a nice small breakfast. Frankly, I didn't expect to enjoy it, but I really did. I'll either go back here, or try another spot. If I could get coconut jam I'd try and make this at home.

 

Now off to the Singapore of 50 years ago!

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Today was a great day. But all was not great, and what I'm about to say may be some Singapore sacrilege, and it's this: Chilli Crab (yes, Chilli not chili) is not a good preparation. It does not showcase crab.

 

The day started out great. I waited for the morning showers to mostly clear, knowing that it would take me an hour to get to Pulau Ubin via Changi Village and the clouds were in my favor. The MRT is great, but all you see is the train. Once I got on the bus I could see the area better, from a double decker Volvo bus. I don't know why I expected the super cleanliness to abate away from the downtown area, but from the Sengkang stop to Changi Village, it was like a park with many apartment buildings, all of the same height.

 

I'll spare the travel details, but it's a bumboat ride to Pulau Ubin, and after a walk around, I strolled into Season Live Seafood, prepared with cash, since I knew they didn't take credit.

 

Beer shot:

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I had decided to get the iconic dish. When I inquired, they let me know it would be S$60. I ultimately decided that I had planned to get my crab on here, so I ordered it.

 

I don't get it. It's a sloppy red sauce with egg in it, completely obscuring the crab meat.

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You're supposed to order rolls to soak up the sauce, but all I could think was "why?", it's just not that interesting. I don't recommend this mess at all. Maybe Black Pepper crabs are better, and I've seen butter crabs listed, which would probably be lovely, but this was a mess that had zero crab flavor. zero under this blob of sauce. Worse, I left hungry. And sad. I don't spend this kind of money on food generally, and I hate that when I do, it is so incredibly unsatisfying.

 

But the day was not lost.

 

I got back to the apartment, cooled off, and went downstairs to find some dinner.

 

This stand is about 20 meters outside my complex

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and this is my $4 dinner

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and it was infinitely more satisfying that the $60 crab. The day ended on a high note.

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The downside of last minute travel is sometimes you have to cobble together accomodations where you can. The upside is that you get to see different neighborhoods.

 

Two days ago I moved from Chinatown to Geylang Neighborhood. Before I got on the bus, I stopped for a Bao, but it wasn't very good, so I went back to the place I had been to the night before and had the most amazing dumplings. They have chili paste and Chinkiang vinegar for you to add at will, and damn, I love that place. As you can see from the picture in the post above, the name is not in English, so I don't know what it's called. The best description that I can give is that it's in the stalls at People's Park Complex, facing the McDonalds, next to Ma La Hot Pot. I looked for but didn't see a stall number.

 

I got to my hotel in Geylang, and as always started with a rest in the aircon, and became suddenly and violently ill (I'll spare the details, but it was awful). Then I felt fine. It was very strange. I'm glad that I was in the room when this happened. So, the rest of Thursday was dedicated to movies and sleeping. I don't know what caused it, but I want to blame the bao and not the dumplings, because they were probably the tastiest dumplings I've ever had- lots of chinese chive, just wonderful. But I can't know.

 

Friday I went to meet with my tailors to see how my shirts were coming, and had Kaya Toast again at the Nanyang Old Coffee, which was much like Ya Kun, but I liked Ya Kun's thin crisp toasts a little better. But this was about all I could bear to eat. Last night I got some rice at the open air restaurant on the corner. This neighborhood is a little seedier- there are sex shops, and dudes hanging around, so I came back to my room with my rice.

 

Today I am in an Airbnb in the Upper Thomson neighborhood, on top of a restaurant called the Little Part 1 Cafe, which serves western food. Thompson plaza is very near, and I may stroll down and see what this old-school mall has in the way of food. I still really have no appetite, but feel I need to eat something small. I really want to find some nice rendang, but this neighborhood is very residential. There is a Roti Prata about 2 bus stops down, and when I search for "indonesian" or "malaysian" restaurants, Pizza Hut comes up. But something mild like naan sounds good.

 

I'm in Singapore until the 5th, hopefully I'll get my appetite back!

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I'm really enjoying this! I miss Singapore so much. I've always thought it would be the only other country in Asia in which I would/could live (Japan being the other).

 

That stall, in Japanese anyway, is Chukka Men-something - I don't know the last character, but it translates to Chinese Noodle something. Not terribly helpful, though!

 

Where do you get your shirts made? I never even considered looking for a tailor in Singapore. Maybe next time!

 

Btw, if you feel like doing a curry puff taste test, I will look up what was our favorite so maybe you can add it to your list!

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Hi prasantrin,

 

I would love the results of the curry puff test! Right now my list is: Warong Nasi Pariaman (referenced by Adrian above) for Rendang, HJ Maimunah for tahu telor (or Tambuah Mas, can't decide, but I could get the rendang AND the talu telor here), Get at drink at the Marina Bay sands bar, Hill Street Tai Hwa Noodle, and pop over the bridge to Johor one day.

 

The tailor that I'm using is an Indian man in a shop called Manchester Tailors in Chinatown. I wanted some linen shirts made based on one I have that's falling apart, and the one I tried on yesterday was downright bespoke. I'm getting 3 in different colors, and the fit is perfect.

 

Today I managed a couple of pastries at the DJ Pastry in the mall. I was pleasantly surprised how nice the croissants are, given this humidity. It was about all I could stomach. Then I was back in bed, and slept through the fireworks. If I was still in the Chinatown apartment, I could have seen them from the window. Alas.

 

It was definitely the lime juice! ;)

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Today I felt like eating for the first time since Thursday and the incident.

 

I decided to take a chance that Tambuah Mas was open, and it was. I came here primarily for this- Talu Telor:

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It's much bigger than I assumed it would be. In the center, before it's topped with the julienne of cucumber, a spicy brown sauce is poured into the center. I rolled my eyes with delight when I tasted it at first. Soft silken tofu, fried scrambled egg matrix, sweet+heat sauce, and the little bit of veg. What a dish. All the tables around me also ordered this- it's their signature dish. It's also way too much for one person. Too much fried- at the end I was picking out the tofu chunks and stripping off some of the egg, but shared it would have been perfect.

 

I also got the beef rendang, which was nothing special. I love rendang, but this was still very saucy and not very coconut/lemongrass/lime leafy. So, it was more like stewed chuck meat. Okay, but not that dark brown island flavor I was hoping for.

 

Downstairs in the mall there was this Turkish lighting store open- these lamps were incredible.

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And for mongo- here's the list of food at the Far East Plaza:

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Another btw, I also got violently ill in Singapore and spent New Year's Eve in very bad sorts. I didn't want to blame the chicken rice I had, so instead blamed the lime juice.

I think they use 荘 in a similar way to the 庵 in Japanese soba places.

 

What I've heard from every Singaporean I've spoken with is that they never eat in food stalls both because you get sick all the time and because the ingredients are tainted with all sorts of heavy metal goodness, antibiotics, etc. (more of a long term concern)

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Defying Orik's admonitions (nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded!), I did indeed return to the Tekka Center in Little India. I wanted Satay and I found it.

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and although the bites were small, they were tasty. The winner was the peanut sauce, and the ability to spice it up with some chili paste or dark soy if desired. 5 chicken and 5 beef- no pork at this halal stand.

 

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Every hawker center has a shrine...

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It's cliché, but I really liked the pineapple puffs from Old Chang Kee. They're like the old McDonald's fried apple pies! Really good!

 

And there was a little cart at Pearl Centre (not sure about the name) that is down from People's Park. It had good puffs, too.

 

But my number 1 puff was at Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff at Hong Lim Food Court behind Chinatown Point. I even liked the sardine puff, and I hate tomato-sauce sardines!

 

My intel is almost 10 years old, though, so ymmv.

 

btw, Richie's Crispy Curry Puffs was on my list, and they were supposed to be well liked, but I was never able to find one. According to FB, they're still around

https://www.facebook.com/RichiesCurryPuff/

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Hi prasantin,

 

I left Singapore early on the 5th, so I didn't see your post until I was gone.

 

Upon reflection, and consultation with my Doc, I think my illness was heat related. There just wasn't enough time for food-borne illness to have taken effect, and in the way that it did. But the extreme heat/cold cycle may have sent my hypothalamus into a tailspin. Once I was gone, so was the nausea.

 

I agree with the idea that Singapore is very livable- at least I did for the 1st 1.5 weeks. Then when heat exhaustion hit, it was not so enticing. I am a crazy hydrater, but that climate did not agree with me. I stopped taking public transport and started taking Ubers, just to minimize time outside.

 

I hate to end on a negative note- there are many lovely things about Singapore, especially the diversity of the food, but damn, I'm not equipped for that climate.

 

One last thing- on the 4th, I had a great Bun Thit Nyong in "little vietnam" neighborhood out Joo Chiat Rd, made with a thin grilled chop. I'll post a pic when I can get it uploaded.

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