Making your way to a happy tummy!
In Singapore you can have almost anything you may want to eat, from sushi, french cuisine to top notch pizzas as well as plenty of savory local dishes that would make you feel like in a foodie utopia whether at a hawker center, mom and pop eateries, mod-Sin (modern Singaporean) to hotels restaurants across this island-nation.
I also tried tea leaf eggs and bullfrog in a spicy chili sauce with rice porridge:
Also within reach, we tried the roti prata at a nearby Indian eatery as it is an ethnic Chulia food. It is prepared by repeatedly flipping dough into a large thin layer before folding the outside edges inwards. The dough is cooked on a flat round iron pan measuring about three feet in diameter.
Roti Prata is commonly eaten with a spicy gravy and is sold mostly by Muslim Indians at coffee shops and hawker centers.
On a different locale, on Level B2 of the Takashimaya Department Store, you will find a huge food court called Food Village where you will be invaded by so many smells and flavors ranging from Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, chicken rice, Thai, Indian, noodles and desserts.
Here I tried laksa which is a coconut curry-based soup which you have to be careful not to mix the chili they put on it if you happen to be weak like me on the spiciness department.
It so happens that during the month of September, many Singaporean as well as their East-Asian neighbors celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with mooncakes.
A mooncake is a baked round sweet pastry traditionally made with a paste made of lotus seeds or red beans and stuffed with a salty egg yolks which symbolizes the moon. Nonetheless, you can now buy mocha mooncakes as well as mooncakes stuffed with durian or any other ingredients customized for the modern palate. Read and watch this article/video put together by Michelin Guide Singapore: The origins of your mooncake.
As the days lead to the big day which is September 15, the Takashimaya Dept. Store holds a fair where you can purchase and sample the majority of these traditional and modern mooncakes.
A local Singaporean recommended me to try the white lotus, one yolk mooncake ... and I did so! It is said that the Chinese prefer even number; therefore, two yolk mooncakes and/or mooncakes bought/sold in sets of 2, 4, 6 or 8.
These are the folk tales behind the mooncake (Mid-Autumn) festivities:
Although not a folk tale, nowadays you can also find mooncakes made out of pomelos as well. Pomelos, to the Chinese, represent family unity and reunion as well as being considered a symbol of abundance, wealth, prosperity and good fortune. That is why many place pomelos on altars as a prayer offering.
It is also said that for couples wishing to have a child, it is believed that if you place the pomelo rind on one's head after eating it, will lead to blessings from Chang'e, the Moon Goddess.
The chili crab was definitely my favorite especially for its sauce. You can order ManTou which is a deep-fried bun you can use to soak up all that deliciousness.
Our order was as follows (4 pax):
We then made our way back to Chinatown ...
Next stop: Maxwell Food Centre:
I would ultimately agree with Bourdain as the rice can truly be eaten by itself as I was told that the rice is cooked using the same water in which the chicken was cooked. In regards to the chicken itself, it was very bland to me and I could not add their famous chili sauce as it was fiercely spicy, so my friends brought me some of their soy sauce which looked and was as thick as molasses.
In short, I just ate the rice and washed it down with a sugar cane fresh juice (SGD $5) from the juice stall across them.
Our food tour ended at the one and only ... Chinatown Food Complex on Smith St.:
Here on this food complex, many of the hawker stalls offer meals from 10 am until almost 8 pm. I took a plunge and tried some of their fresh fruit juices at Blenz Fruit Juices. Here I bought the special of the day which was Buah Long Long and then moved onto another recommended stall owned and operated by an elder man who makes Ice Kachang which a dessert perfect to cool you down from the humidity of Singapore. This dessert consists of a bowl filled with jellies of several flavors and colors topped with shaved ice and then sprinkled with corn, red beans with a dash of evaporated milk to make it ultimately refreshing.
... but the main reason to coming to this Chinatown Food Complex was that this year in July, a hawker from this complex was awarded a Michelin 1 star for his soya sauce chicken rice and noodle which makes his stall, the cheapest Michelin-starred eatery in the world at only USD $1.50.