Singapore Teochew Bak Kut Teh is a version of pork ribs tea with a clear…
After a very enjoyable and gastronomically successful stay in Malaysia, we travelled south to the city state of Singapore. The plane ride from KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) to Changi took only 50 minutes. Another 40 minutes on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) brought us to the city center. The weather continued to be hot and humid as Singapore is situated only one degree north of the equator. If you missed the first part of my vacation, you may want to check out my post entitled Malaysian Food Journal.
Singapore is a small and highly developed country. Tourist facilities are modern and widely available. Singapore’s population is under 5 million inhabitants (including permanent residents and foreign workers) comprising of 75% Chinese, 14% Malay, 9% Indian, and 2% others. English is widely spoken. Source: Travel.State.Gov.
Our stay here was going to be fast and furious. There was lots to see, do, and taste and so little time. Of course, there was also the shopping. While in Singapore, you can shop till you drop if your pocket book allows. Orchard Road is a must-visit on your itinerary. Flanked on both sides by local and international departmental stores, boutiques, hotels, entertainment spots, and restaurants, one could spend the entire day trawling the stretch starting from Tanglin Mall on Tanglin Road down to Plaza Singapura at the lower end of Orchard Road.
I had scheduled to meet several friends in the Lion City two of whom you may be familiar with.
First, we had to fill our tummies and so we headed over to The Asian Kitchen at CityLink Mall. Judging from the crowd, this must be a pretty popular place. Ro-Ri San ordered the Chili Soft Shell Crab Noodles, pictured here, while the boys had Beef Fried Rice and Chicken Chop Noodles. I had the Suan La Mian (Sichuan Style Hand Pulled Noodles). The guys were pretty happy with their choices. Somehow I expected my noodles to be spicy and it was not at all. Still I enjoyed it as there was a caddy with a jar of chili oil which I used liberally.
Xiao long bao (Shanghainese Soup Dumpling) served with black vinegar and slivers of ginger. The steaming baos look pretty impressive when it arrived at our table but the bao I took leaked and the soup ended up on the plate. The filling was okay and the soup was quite tasty. I had to use a spoon. I am not a fan of xiao long bao as I find handling it a bit too fussy but the guys enjoyed it.
I like these Steamed Dumplings much better. The dough was rolled quite thinly and the filling was sufficient and tasty. The guys enjoyed this too.
During the day we stayed indoors at the shopping malls or museums and only went out for walks in the cooler evening hours. It also gave me a chance to take pictures of the beautiful Singapore night skyline. This is a picture of the Central Business District (CBD) taken at Marina Bay.
Spectacular light display at Marina Bay Sands, the luxury hotel resort and casino. The boat shaped SkyPark at the top of the three 55-storey hotel towers (about 200 meters above ground) stretches 150 meters, 3 times the length of an Olympic pool. It has an infinity edge and is the world’s largest outdoor pool at that height. This picture was taken on June 21st. The official opening of Marina Bay Sands was on June 23rd. You can take a look at the infinity edge pool here.
Ta-da and now to the more down to earth business of meeting up with friends in various parts of the city. First in the line-up is the one and only Denise Fletcher of Quickies on the Dinner Table. We spent a delightful afternoon grazing and shopping along the fashionable and trendy Orchard Road.
I could not let the opportunity past to get my copy of Quickies Morning, Noon and Night signed by the author…..gloat! gloat! I got my copy at Kinokuniya Bookstore at Ngee Ann City.
We had lunch after the book signing. This is the Singapore style Beef Ball Rice Noodles with a thick, dark sauce and a bowl of beef ball soup on the side…yumm! Of course I had to have coconut juice in the shell. There was blissful hush while I devoured my bowl of noodles. Hey, foodies don’t only cook, they need to eat too! For dessert, we had Kuih Bingka (Tapioca Cake) and Indonesian Layered Cake. That was a very satisfying meal!
“Ah-ha…..that’s Biren and Denise, at the basement level of Takashimaya at Orchard. They think they can hide behind those shades and the food counters but one can spot them a mile away especially with Biren’s signature pink blouse.”
We had to make a stop at the Bakerzin counter with all those colorful macaroons on display. I don’t think I can ever find the courage to make these beauties but I can certainly eat them. Bakerzin has some pretty interesting flavors and between us we chose Teh Tarik, Pistachio, Rose, Yuzu, Orange, and Chocolate Cream to make a box of six. They all sound so good.
Our next stop was at Harrod’s with a fine selection of teas and biscuits (cookies). Denise wanted to get some Darjeeling, the champagne of teas. They had two or three varieties and she finally decided on Margaret’s Hope Pure Darjeeling SFTGOP (Super Fine Tippy Golden Orange Pekoe). SFTGOP indicates that the tea has many tips and the liquor is a clear, bright golden color. Teas from Margaret’s Hope Garden is highly prized.
Guess who got to keep the macaroons and tea…..Biren, YAY! I got to savor this fine tea with my 4th of July apple pie and the tea was oh, SO GOOD! The macaroons were long gone in Singapore. I got to taste the teh tarik and half of the pistachio macaroons. They were very light and fragrant. The guys ate the rest.
Many thanks Denise for taking time to share your afternoon with me and for the delicious gifts. I am so glad we met.
Esplanade Theatres on the Bay is casually referred to by the locals as The Durian because the cladding of aluminum sun shades over the glass roof is said to have the appearance similar to that of a durian.
The Merlion Park at Marina Bay. The merlion is Singapore’s mascot. It is an imaginary creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. The fish body comes from Singapore’s ancient name, Temasek, meaning “sea town” in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name, Singapura, meaning “lion city” or “kota singa”. Source: Wikipedia
Fountain of Wealth at Suntec City has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest fountain in the world since 1998.
After more sight seeing and food tasting, I was ready to meet up with another friend and this time it is none other than Ann of Anncoo’s Hobby. I emailed Ann the morning we met and she not only called but offered to meet with me. She was very gracious and wanted to take me to the high tea buffet at Goodwood Park Hotel. I was in for a treat! Don’t you just love those shades!
Goodwood Park Hotel, at Scotts Road, formerly Teutonia Club was built in 1900. The Menasseh Brothers bought over the property in 1918 and turned it into a hotel in 1929. The hotel became one of the best-known hotels at the end of the 1930s. It has changed hands several times since then and has been upgraded continuously. In March 1989, the historic tower of Goodwood Park Hotel was gazetted a national monument by the Singapore Preservation of Monuments Board. Source: Goodwood Park Hotel
Red carpeted staircase fit for a VIP. Where is that ballroom dress when I need it?
The Coffee Lounge at Goodwood Park Hotel is well known for its high tea buffet. They have a sumptuous spread of popular local fare. My selection included curry chicken (in the bowl), tahu sumbat (vegetable stuffed tofu skin), vegetable samosa, siew mai and har gow( Chinese dumpling served in dim sum), kuih pie tee (top hats with choice of filling – julienne vegetables, egg, and shrimps), ang koo kuih, and a slice of bread for dipping in the curry gravy. Ang koo kuih is a steamed, oval shaped cake that resembles a tortoise. The dough of the cake is made of glutinous rice flour and normally stained red. The traditional filling is mashed mung bean. The tortoise symbolizes longevity and so this cake is often served during auspicious occasions such as birthdays and baby’s full moon (baby’s first month). Everything was delicious but I especially enjoyed the ang koo kuih and the kuih pie tee.
My second helping consisted of curry mee (curry noodles) and grilled otak-otak (spiced fish custard wrapped in banana leaves). I can’t get enough of that curry noodles. The key lime juice makes it very appetising.
Ann decided to go for the mee siam (spicy fried noodles) with gravy and banana kuih (banana cake) with caramel sauce. She thinks there is some banana puree in the sauce. I would have loved to try her selection as well if I had room left in my tummy.
We ate and chatted and time just flew by and soon it was time to say goodbye. She presented me with a strawberry cake to bring home with me to the US. That was so sweet of her.
Thank you so much Ann for a lovely afternoon and your thoughtful gift. It will always remind me of you and your wonderful hospitality.
You can check out this lovely Strawberry Cake at Ann’s blog.
I was privileged to visit the John Chen Group’s Hotel and Restaurant Products Division which carries a line of high quality hotel china from Schönwald Germany. Our friends, Carl and Madeline, were kind enough to indulge me in a tour of their showroom. The china is exquisite and the designs are modern and elegant. Here is a small sampling of the Schönwald products.
The WellCome collection is very captivating with its smooth curves and asymmetrical shapes.
The Event Buffet Collection is functional yet elegant with pieces from the buffet matching those at the dining table.
The Grace collection is beautiful and delicate. It inspires creativity in food presentation.
Glass Culture by Axum, Bohemia has a modern feel and comes in a range of bold colors and shapes.
Thank you Carl and Madeline for the very interesting and informative tour.
Before moving on to our next destination, we had dinner at Novena Peranakan Cuisine. They had several different sets and we ordered the one that came with 6 dishes and a dessert. The dishes were Bawan Kepiting Soup (crab meatball soup), Ayam Buah Keluak (chicken with a black nut), Chap Chai (mixed braised vegetables), Ngoh Hiong (five-spice pork roll), Udang Asam Pedas (spicy tamarind prawns), and Otak-otak (steamed spiced fish custard). Dessert was Cendol (shaved ice with coconut milk, jelly made from rice flour with green food coloring, coconut milk, palm sugar, cooked red beans, and grass jelly). I especially enjoyed the udang asam pedas and otak-otak.
Otak-otak (steamed spiced fish custard) is a classic Nyonya dish flavored with aromatic leaves and spices in a thick rich egg and coconut custard. The essential ingredient in this dish is Piper or wild betel leaf known to the locals as daun kadok.
After a great dinner and a good night’s rest, we were ready to move on to our next destination…..
Disclaimer: John Chen Group made no payments to Roti n Rice for this mention. What was written is my personal view. A small souvenir was presented to mark the visit. For full disclaimer, please click here.