Saturday, March 17, 2012
Misc Singapore Eats
When the heat gets too much around here, cooling off quickly is a must. This cendol ice from Mei Heong Yuen in Chinatown was outstanding for both cooling off with and eating. It comes with a squirt bottle of palm sugar syrup so you can get the perfect level of sweetness with every bite.
Kaya, the thick, coconut egg jam, is a great way to start the day if you want to immediately feel sleepy again.
I headed to a nearby Ya Kun (a chain that specialises in kaya toast) to get my fix. Too add a bit of luxury/fat, I got it spread on french toast.
Speaking of things that are sweet and bready, this abomination is a fried hot dog bun, filled with matcha flavoured soft serve. Fantastic, basically. Should you too wish to embrace an early death, follow the sweet smell near Food Opera in the basement of the ION Orchard shopping centre.
Before coming to Singapore, you'll no doubt do a google search for "best hawker stalls" and/or "best chicken rice in Singapore". The results of said search will almost definitely include the hugely popular Tian Tian Chicken Rice in the Maxwell Food Centre. While the jury is still on out where the best chicken rice is in Singapore, the long lines (studded with tourists, since this place is popular with said lot) at this place every lunch time are a good indication of it's quality. Get there early and you won't need to wait long.
The skin is glossy and smooth, the meat tender, the soup and rice both deliciously fragrant. Mix it with the dark soy, chilli and ginger and you've got a damn fine meal. Just don't be a greedy fool like me and eat half a chicken all on your own as the entree to a lunchtime feast.
A few stalls down from Tian Tian is Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake. This is a must buy. $2 gets you a sensationally crisp and flavoursome fritter, stuffed with oyster and prawn. The filling is soft and smooth, the skin is perfectly crisp and a couple of nuts on top add a nice crunch.
Tastes great with a lime drink from the drinks stall opposite.
Also nice at Maxwell was the char kway teow at Marina South, the sardine and chicken curry puffs from Tanglin Crispy Curry Puffs and the drinks from the iced tea stand at the entrance.
Not too far away from Maxwell Food Centre, surrounded by a bevy of shit tourist shops, is the Chinatown Complex food centre. It's far bigger than Maxwell, with around 250 stalls offering up a massive selection of tasty things. It's almost overwhelming how much stuff is here.
Slightly overwhelming too is the general dinge of the place. With a roof over the head, disparate smells slam into eachother, strange puddles lurk around every bend, bowls are cleaned in water that has been used countless times and many surfaces appear highly questionable.
But get past that by telling yourself that it can get much worse in other places and there are some awesome choices on offer in a mostly tourist free environment. The old rule still holds true: the longer the line the better the food. That said, some of the longest lines are for some stuff that marginally adventurous white boys like me don't really want to go near.
In the midst of all of this, it's a little surprising to find a stall selling really bloody decent craft beer. Wash down whatever you're having with something from Rochefort, Rogue or Stone.
Or do what I did and opt for a beer made with delicious, delicious honeydew:
Finally a honeydew I can get fucked up on.
They also have some offerings from Jungle Beer, Singapore's own craft brewer. This stout is huge on the malt and would go great with some of the nearby food.
I'm a sucker for a steamed bun, so this one filled with otah (a paste/cake made from minced horse mackerel) captured my eye. Pungent and oddly pleasing. I got this from a stall at the basement of the Takasinaya shopping centre.