Last April my partner and I flew to Singapore to attend the Asian Pastry Cup, taking place during the Food & Hotel Asia exhibition. I wasn’t that excited by Singapore before getting there, as I had an image of the city being very modern, clean and westernized, but I ended up liking it a lot! Despite spending most of our time at the exhibition centre, we managed to get a hint of all the possibilities Singapore can offer, especially foodwise
The first morning we were perusing for some Western style coffee, as most of the coffee on offer seemed of the instant kind, and we ended up finding a western style bakery next to our hotel where there was a coffee machine. I was looking rather suspiciously at their croissant-type pastries and then my eyes fell on this green sponge cake, described as a Pandan chiffon cake. It decidedly looked much better than all the rest and I ended up eating the whole thing for my breakfast: so light, fluffy and not too sweet, I was converted!
Once we got more familiar with the neighbourhood, we found out we were really close to a great hawker centre, the Albert Food Centre near our hotel on Bencoolen Street, where we ended up having most of our breakfasts, i.e. cheap, simple noodles served in a piece of paper with a couple veggies and chilli sauce.
But there was a lot more than that on offer, so we ended up coming back whenever possible for snacks.
Popiah is some kind of thinly rolled pastry containing grated turnip, grated carrots, cucumber I think, fried shallots… fresh and delicious!
Another one was Rojak, a fruit & vegetable salad, with tofu and a peanut sauce and crunchy doughey bits. A bit too sweet for me, but I still enjoyed it.
These little Kuih Pie Tee were delicious, so fresh and crunchy! It’s a crispy thin pastry shell, with a vegetable filling, not dissimilar to the Popiah filling… which was not that surprising, since it came from the same very popular stall.
I was also advised to try Carrot cake: the stall was selling either Black or White carrot cake, so I asked the person in front of me which one she recommended and she told me the black carrot cake was her favourite: I loved the texture, which was like rice flour cake bits with beaten eggs (the carrot is apparently some sort of local radish, shredded into the rice cake), but it was a bit too sweet again for me. The white carrot cake, without the sweet soy sauce seasoning, will probably be the way to go next time.
To celebrate the victory of Australian Pastry Team at the Asian Pastry Cup, we went to a seafood restaurant where we enjoyed a mountain of food, including Chilli Crab and Black Pepper Crab. It was my first time, and as suspected, I ended up with my hands and face covered in chilli sauce, it was a very messy affair! Loved it. Have no idea where that restaurant was though!
For our last night in Singapore we went the tourist trail and had a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar in the famous and luxurious Raffles Hotel. The bar was filled with other tourists and the floor covered with peanut shells, which made it very slippery, I actually almost lost my balance a few times! I expected the cocktails to be expensive, but it was still a shock when the bill arrived: SGD$58 incl. taxes, for 2 cocktails… wow. Turns out I didn’t even like the Singapore Sling, found it sickly sweet! We did get all the peanuts we wanted for free though… A meagre consolation, as they were easily the smallest and driest peanuts I’d ever seen. Anyway, that’s one thing I can tick off my list.
On our way down we saw in the hotel courtyard a much classier bar, quieter than upstairs, which, for the same prices, could have been a much nicer option.
We then set out to walk to Gluttons Bay, a lovely food centre on the water (where I took the panorama at the top of this post) which, despite the short distance, quickly turned out exhausting. It was a particularly humid night, and the least effort made us really weary of the heat and the stickiness. By the time we made it to the food centre, we felt disgusting and not even hungry. I decided on an assortment of satay sticks, which was quite nice, but the heat was really getting to me. After taking in the view of the bay, we didn’t stick around much longer and jumped into a taxi to find refuge in our nice air-conditioned room. Such wusses!
And that was that, it was already time to take our flight to Paris! I would love to go back to Singapore and really take my time to visit and try more of the food. The array of cuisines and dishes available made me dizzy: Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese… unbelievable!
To be honest, experiencing Changi Airport and their free foot-massaging machines already makes the trip worthwhile