Thursday, December 4, 2008

We Came Here To Eat

After another amazing vegetarian breakfast of faux char siu bao, char kway teow, fried rice and taro cake, we were off to do a little shopping, Singapore style. Rob had his heart set on picking up a terabyte hard drive to back up all our photos so we headed a few blocks away to a 7-storey building devoted to electronics and all things computer-geekery. Imagine entering a mall that sold only shoes - store after store of shoes. Almost all the same kind of shoes. How do you pick out the one that contains the shoes you seek at the price you want? Each floor of this mega-electronic-mall easily had over a dozen stores. We got to the 5th floor before we found one that had the right kind of hard drive. On the one hand, this is a great way to shop - you go to the neighbourhood that sells the one thing you are looking for, instead of driving all over town. On the other hand, you get a lot of hard-sell as you walk buy since everyone is offering the same items at almost the same prices. Crazy-hard way to make a buck.

After yesterday's successful nosh at the Albert Food Centre, we decided that a return trip was in order. We started with a little BBQ pork on rice, followed by the Singapore speciality, Oyster Omelette. The omelette was a treat, nestled in the many folds of the omelette were plump little oysters - simple but satisfying. We followed the omelette with popiah and carrot cake (hold the cream cheese frosting! Singapore carrot cake is an entirely different beast), also Singapore specialties. "Carrot" cake is made with daikon, which looks like a white carrot, and also is an egg-based dish. Daikon, eggs, chillies and a sweet soy sauce are scrambled together for a truly tasty treat. Popiah is a thin crepe-like pancake on which is sprinkled peanuts, cucumber, bean sprouts, grated carrot and stir-fried turnip or jicama and a little drizzle of sweet soy or hoisin. The whole thing is then rolled up and sliced into pieces. It reminded me a little of a Vietnamese Salad Roll. We washed it all down with some amazing fresh fruit juices. These fruit stalls are dotted all over SIngapore and are a great way to deal with the high heat and humidity. For about Singapore $1(Canadian $.85?), you get about 350 ml of beautiful fresh juice - basically, fruit blended up, occasionally sugar (for lemon or kalamansi) or water needs to be added. You can choose from watermelon, papaya, dragon fruit, carrot (the orange one this time), beet root, pineapple, sugar cane, kalamansi (my personal favourite!), sour sop and more. You can also buy chunks of the fruit, peeled, cut and ready to eat. Rob and I couldn't help but comment on how different fast food is in this part of the world. Fast food back home is nasty, unhealthy and cheap. Fast food Singapore-style is (mostly) healthy and still manages to be really affordable. A good sized plate of "carrot" cake is S$2!

While we were polishing off some of the goodies we had bought, the heavens opened and an tropical-style deluge commenced. What a downpour! I had forgotten what the rainy season is like here. All us Pacific North Coasters think we know rain, we know a really gentle version! A tropical downpour can drench you through in 10 seconds flat. Inside the relative comfort of the Albert Centre with its metal roof, we waited out the bulk of the thunder and rain for about 25 minutes. Miles commented that it was so loud he could only hear himself speak - personally, I think this is a common issue for Miles, regardless of torrential rains...;-) ! We passed the time listening to both the storm and getting to know our fruit stall vendor. A nice fellow who works, on average, 14 hours/day, 7 days a week. He was smitten with Isaac - handing the boys free fruit jellies (like jello, made with agar agar) and bits of nori. The storrn gave him a bit of a break from the usually hectic pace of his day. And he was intrigued by Canada, but felt we should move to Singapore.

We had planned to take the boys to the Botanical Garden this afternoon but the deluge put a damper on those plans. We leave very early tomorrow morning for Mumbai (one night only there, where we meet up with the lovely Emma Condé, our soon-to-be-Nanny) and the beginning of the Indian leg of this venture. I was feeling bad about not showing the boys more of SIngapore but as Rob reminded me - we said from the beginning that we came here to eat.

1 comment:

kopi-o-siu-dai said...

Hello Laurel :)
Haven't had time to read your posts yet, but keyed 'Singapore' in the search function and found this! Was fun to have met you yesterday (we were the ones who bought a few lip balms). Wish you much success as you continue to create and sell your lovely natural products. Will be in touch through FB! Am still thinking if shd get more of those pomegranate lip balms... ;)