Sunday, June 19, 2005

Singapore food log, day 2

You can't go wrong in this city. Perhaps there are draconian penalties for serving non-delicious food.

I slept in, so I started with lunch at a very casual Indonesian place in the area I was wandering at that time (steam table, most tables out on the sidewalk). The owner (or someone who acted like the owner) took me in hand and selected things for me. There was fish with okra
in a hot red sauce, string beans and (tofu? kind of firm, hard to tell -- I might have guessed chicken if he hadn't said it was a vegetable dish), a fried potato ball, and a couple of kinds of sauce and relish. Fresh limeade to drink. These little limes have very little acidity so it was startlingly mellow.

Then wandering through Little India, I stopped at a market and got a small bag of the largest lychees I'd ever seen. I ate those as I walked along, and realized that it was a good thing I was still a little hungry, because I'd have to stop somewhere to wash my hands. I stopped in a vegetarian Indian restaurant and had a yummy roti (grilled bread) with yellow dal and the sweetest, milkiest cup of coffee I've ever had. Handwashing facilities were prominent here because everyone ate with their (right) hand.

In the afternoon I wandered the botanical garden and learned that turmeric, galanga, cardamom, and bananas are all part of the ginger family. Since this is a food blog I won't say much about the orchid garden except that it was beautiful and there were a lot of orchids.

I walked back past an Indian Catholic church while hearing, for the first time in my life, the Muslim call to evening prayer on the breeze. At the hotel, I met John for dinner. We wandered into a promising restaurant row that was hopping even on a Sunday night. The place we went was open to the air, although our table was not out on the sidewalk this time. It advertised itself as Chinese/Thai, but the Thai part of the menu was just pro forma, and the Chinese part seemed pretty local (not a complaint). We had a noodle dish I hadn't heard of before, and it was one of the few things on the menu with no English translation, but it was recommended as a house special. It was wide rice noodles (fun) with sliced fish and mushrooms in a bit of simple fish broth. We also had asparagus in sambal (spicy and full of fish-sauce) and "crayfish" in black pepper sauce. The crayfish was a smallish lobster cut up in pieces, and with the sauce it went great with beer.

Then, as a sacred obligation, we went to the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel to have Singapore Slings. We did this so you don't have to. It turns out there is a larger and more elegant looking bar near the hotel which was entirely deserted; it's good we asked directions at the desk, or we might have ended up there nearly by ourselves wondering where all the other tourists are. The Long Bar itself was much livelier, and almost as elegant except for the peanut shells all over the floor (by policy). If you would like the experience of the Singapore Sling, mix Hawaiian Punch with a little gin in a tall glass with just a little ice, put a small wedge of pineapple and a Maraschino cherry on top, and drink it while ripping up a $10 bill and two $1s.


At 9:16 PM, Blogger the grocer's daughter said...

Yeah, those Singapore Slings.... I could have skipped them all together. Bleck.


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