Ah, Singapore! There is so much to do on this one island, it’s crazy. Dave and I didn’t know where to begin. We did so much in the 12 days we were there. I’ll try my best to tell you it all.
On boxing day, Dave and I had lunch at the famous Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre. Another hawker centre with many stalls that serve the best of the best in Singapore. We tried Fishball Noodles from “Hui Ji Fishball Noodles and Yong Tau Foo”. This stall makes their own fishballs which are fish meat, usually yellowtail, that are scraped and formed into a paste, beaten until bouncy, and moulded into balls. Then they are cooked in a soup with noodles, pork lard, and served with chilli. I loved it! After the noodles we had Pau. Pau is similar to a dumpling I guess. It has a soft, chewy skin and is filled with various meat fillings. They were good but not our favourite. Although they are very pretty to look at.
Pau after being steamed in the bamboo basket
The different Pau we tried
It’s funny because for us to have all these food pictures, Dave obviously has to take pictures before we eat our food. People always look at him doing this and laugh or smile. So we had a routine where Dave would take a picture while I smiled back at any local who was amused at us taking pictures of food.
After lunch we decided a nice way to spend our day would be to relax on a beach. So we headed to Sentosa Island. Sentosa is a man-made island. Singapore actually bought sand from the bottom of the sea from Indonesia and shipped it here to make the island. Now it is one giant theme park. Theme parks aren’t our thing, but we walked by all of it and went straight to the beach. There are three beaches on the island and we went to Tanjong Beach, the quietest of the three. We arrived, changed, and went straight into the water. Yup, we can now say we went in the South China Sea! It’s a good thing we went in right away because afterwards, it started to rain! We knew it was going to because we could see the dark clouds coming. Then we changed again, packed up, and left. It was a quick beach visit but fun none the less.
Look at the rain coming! There are always so many ships in the sea because Singapore is the second busiest port in the world behind Shanghai. All those goods we have that are “made in China” probably pass through here.
It is the rainy season in Singapore right now so we weren’t surprised to see so much rain. But it usually only rained a little and then cleared up. Eventually it did clear up so we decided to go to the waterfront to ride in the Singapore Flyer. The Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel, reaching 42 storeys high (165 m). It is essentially a giant Ferris Wheel with capsules that can hold up to 28 people that has amazing views of Singapore and the South China Sea. Some of the capsules even have dining tables and you can eat dinner while going around and around! We went up at dusk to get some nice photos.
One of the capsules
View of the Marina Bay Sands
After the Flyer it was time to eat dinner. We travelled back to ABC Brickworks Food Centre for the number one heritage food dish in Singapore called “Hokkien Mee”. The “Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Hokkien Mee” stall has been serving this dish for 40 years. Hokkien Mee is made with noodles that are cooked in a prawn-based stock with pork belly bits, prawn, squid and then topped off with a secret chilli sauce. It was delicious! And while we were at ABC again, we of course had to have more dessert from “Jin Jin Dessert”. This time we tried Red Ruby as recommended by Calvin Ho. It is shaved ice with coconut milk on the bottom. Then it is topped with red jellies which are filled with water chestnuts. An interesting combination but I loved it. It was sweet with a chewy and crunchy texture.
Uncle Toh tossing up our noodles. He was so cute. He even said thank you to us as he handed us our plate.
These hawker chefs work so hard. I watched Uncle Toh toss noodles and make this dish for an hour straight without any breaks! And that was just the time I was there. Imagine how hard he works all day.
The delicious Hokkien Mee
Red Ruby dessert
One of the top things to do in Singapore is visit the Singapore Zoo, River Safari, and Night Safari. The zoo is one if the world’s best and is known for making its enclosures almost un-noticeable. We thought it would be too much to see all three so we chose the Night Safari. It is the world’s first nocturnal zoo and as such features animals that are active by night. It was awesome. I’m not much of a zoo person, but this place was cool. First we walked the trails which is a little creepy at night. We saw so many cool animals – alligators, giraffe, zebras, hyena, kangaroo, different types of deer-like animals, and so many more. Dave was most mesmerized by the Malaysian Tiger. He was super stealthy and beautiful. Throughout the walk there were these special “cages” you could walk through. One had bats everywhere the size of your forearm. It was crazy! I could’ve touched them if I wanted. Although I was a little freaked out and tried not to look at one too long because I didn’t want to piss it off. The other “cage” had flying squirrel. They would just “fly” right over top of you. The first one almost made me scream because I hadn’t looked up and just saw a shadow zooming over me. Then after the walk we took the tram around the park with a guide. This was nice because the guide taught us about the animals and we saw some more animals that we didn’t see on the walk. My favourite was the African Lion. He was majestic and strong. You didn’t want to mess with him. The Safari was great but unfortunately we don’t have any pictures. It was too dark to take pictures of moving animals.
As famous as the Singapore Zoo is for sightseeing, Roland Restaurant is for eating chilli crab. Chilli crab was invented in Singapore by Madam Cher Yam Tian. Her son still serves her original version of this dish at Roland Restaurant. So of course, we couldn’t leave Singapore without a visit to Roland’s. One thing I love about Singapore is that the best food can come from anywhere. It could be a stall in a hawker centre, a restaurant in a mall or apartment complex, or, like Roland’s, the whole top floor of a parking garage.
Chilli Crab is a whole crab cooked in tomato sauce and chilli. We ordered it along with Crispy Fired Baby Squid, You Char Kway (fried pieces of dough), and a plate of greens to add a some veggies to our meal.
Crispy Squid which didn’t taste like much except fried bits and You Char Kway which were great dipped in the crab sauce!
Delicious greens which a wish I remembered the name of
Chilli crab – the official national dish of Singapore
Eating this meal was an event in itself. One thing we haven’t really told you about Singapore is that they don’t give you napkins. Nowhere does. The hawker centres give you nothing but there usually is a sink nearby, and the restaurants give you one wet nap. ONE WET NAP! I want you to try to imagine eating a whole crab covered in tomato sauce with your hands, getting right in there, pulling the meat out from every crevice, and then only having ONE wet nap to wipe your hands with. Keep in mind that you have to wipe your hands every time you pick up your fork to take a bite of the other dishes or just to get some of the sauce off so the crab doesn’t slide out of your hands. It was hilarious – we were a wreck! We kept looking around to see how other people ate it because we didn’t know how. We thought there must be a different way because eating a crab covered in sauce with your hands makes no sense right? We also kept looking around to make sure no one was watching us. We looked like two babies eating their first birthday cake! It was actually a little stressful. But after the meal we asked the manager how to eat it and we said we did it right. Phew!
Well that’s a pretty good account of a few of our days in Singapore. I guess we did a little more eating than sightseeing… ah well!