Here's Connecticut in the Spring:
But sometimes when I say "I really want to get out of the city," I mean "I really want to get out of the US of A!"
Today is one of those days. I took an almost two-week trip to Asia (Singapore and Hong Kong) last Fall and there are so many stories and pictures and wondrous things, that I think the trip will have to make cameo appearances on this blog for years to come.
Let's talk about food in Singapore on this lovely Saturday morning, shall we? If you're like me and you only care about the quality of coffee in a country, skip to the bottom of this post and then take a trip to Albania.
Singapore is a very diverse country- there are many Chinese, Malays and Indians there, along with native Singaporeans, so the cookery is also diverse and interesting. We were pleased after eating our way through a week of arroz con pollo on our honeymoon to go somewhere that had a big food culture.
But what do you know, the most popular street food in Singapore:
Picture menus are ubiquitous in Asia. We bought ours at a booth in a mall. There's one booth for drinks, one for chicken rice, one for noodles, and on and on. These food malls are usually owned by one person or family and they run the drinks stand because it has the biggest profit margin.
Everything is served on real plates and dish collectors come and take it away.
Here's our chicken rice:
Just like the picture! Bok Choy with fried onions, salt-boiled chicken, miso soup, and a "Festive Rice Cone." Add hot sauce (I did) and together it is just delicious.
We took a trip down to Orchard Road, which is a mile-long stretch with 4-8 story malls on both sides of the street. Thousands of people flock there every day to shop in the hundreds of designer stores. We visited an ice cream sandwich cart, where a little old man cuts a slice off a "loaf" of ice cream and slaps Wonderbread on both sides. He used a wafer for us, probably because we were foreigners.
That's red bean ice-cream.
Our final stop on our Singapore food crawl is a hawker center.
The closest comparison I could make to describe a Singapore Hawker Center is a food court at a mall mixed with a State Fair. Just add palm trees.
More picture menus. There are multiple booths that sell the same food, which is why I draw the comparison to a State Fair, but really, there's nothing like a Hawker Center here in the US.
Juice drinks. I believe we have a watermelon one here.
This item I wasn't crazy about- Ice Kachang- it's shaved ice with a variety of gummies (jellies), pieces of corn, red beans, and some sort of syrup. You are supposed to eat it before it melts together into a soupy gooey dessert mess.
Click here to see what it looks like before it melts (and more pictures of hawker centers).
The crown jewel of Singaporean food is Chili Crab. It is exactly what it sounds like. An entire crab, doused in a chili sauce that's about the consistency of marinara.
You are supposed to eat with your hands, and they provide a bowl of water for rinsing.
And finally, Singaporean coffee, Kopi, it's sweet and thick- really good.
You can get in a mug, or if you're on the go, in a bag.
Yes, a bag; with a straw and a nylon string to carry it around. Andy went to Singapore a lot to consult on a construction project, and he said people have hooks by their desks where they hang their coffee.
I couldn't leave Singapore without trying coffee-in-a-bag.
Here are a couple of pictures in the Chinatown hawker street:
And it's always good to end with some funny food moments from Asia:
The most unsatisfying breakfast of all time at a place called Toastbox. It's my fault because I thought the place looked cute. The buttered toast (one slice) did come cut into squares with a cute toothpick, at least.
And an American-themed establishment:
Isn't it nice to get away now and then? Enjoy your Saturday!