Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Singapore food log, day 4

Lunch was at a Turkish restaurant, where I had something that turned out to be a lot more like a pizza roll than I expected, but was the house special. It had chicken and eggplant and something very much like mozzarella baked in a crust. Sour cherry juice to drink. The dessert plate was little baklava-like things and slices of slightly sweeted yellow squash (sorry, Rich). Turkish coffee.

Dinner with a Japanese colleague and his traveling administrative staff (they put up a booth, that's why he had a staff of three). We wandered Singapore's Chinatown, which was beautifully maintained, and ended up in a nice, modern, airconditioned restuarant, but clearly unique and very inexpensive. The food was "Teochow", which I had to look up when I got back to the hotel, and turns out to be cuisine from Shantou, a port city in Guangdong province, China. The specialties we had were some deep-fried shrimp balls (with some stronger flavors and more different textures inside than the typical Hong Kong Dim Sum ones) and a really nice dish which was a slab of soft tofu fried so that it developed a crisp skin while remaining silky inside, then covered with ground-meat-and-bean sauce. We also had three noodle dishes, in Hong Kong, Malaysian, and Hokkien styles, but they were not as interesting.

Took the subway home after dinner. At the bus stop outside the subway station, as I emerged, was a newsstand with a guy in the back who had a big cooler full of baby coconuts (just a thin shell around the flesh, no hairy bit). They were so small and uniform-looking I thought they were artificial at first, but they were real. You give him S$1.20 (about 75 cents), he makes a hole in the top and gives you a straw, you drink out the milk, then hand it back to him and he cuts it in half (several small expert taps around the perimeter, not the Marie Antoinette routine) and then you pull the soft meat out in strips and eat it. Very different from the thick hard coconuts I've had.

By the way, did you know Singapore has exactly the same letter grades for restaurant sanitation as LA does? Have I mentioned that I want my restaurants graded pass/fail? Beyond that I just don't want to know.

[Links are photos].


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