Day 9 – boom boom boom as she strides down the street in search of more food
First day of work in Singapore today, and I have a host (Jeff) who seems to love food as much as I do. We met and immediately went off for a coffee. I hadn’t had breakfast (£30 in the hotel for a bowl of cereal?! I think not) so Jeff got me some Kaya toast, which is a brilliant, brilliant thing, and an experience I repeated for the next few days! It is two thin crispy slices of white toast sandwiched together with lumps of butter and thick Kaya paste in between, which is essentially coconut jam. I’ve brought some of the paste back to relive the experience! The coffee (actually kopi) or tea that usually comes with it is the sweet kind with condensed milk – something I’d never go for in England but it seemed to fit pretty well here.
Couple of hours later, we went for lunch. I declared myself to be “up for local experiences” so we (me, Jeff and a couple of others) went off to “Banquet” which is an indoor version of the big outdoor hawker markets. What it actually is is a food court in a mall, but I can’t emphasise enough the difference between this and our pathetic food courts in shopping centres here in the UK. The choice of Asian foods on offer here was amazing, and all of it incredibly good quality. I put myself in Jeff’s hands (“I’ll have whatever you’re having” was my standard ploy in Singapore since I hadn’t got a clue what most of it was) and we went for kway teow noodles with cockles (another brave moment, but hey, let’s just go for it!).
Kway Teow stall
I have never actually had cockles before, and I have to say, they are slightly evil little fishy things. Luckily there weren’t millions of them in there, and the noodles were fantastically tasty again. We also got some otak-otak, which is spicy fish paste in banana leaf.
Cockles kway teow
Here we hit a snag – for the first time in the whole trip, I spent the afternoon feeling really sick. No idea what it was but it did mean I was in danger of missing out on one of my meal opportunities in the evening – not happy about that! I decided to head to Chinatown and see if I could possibly work up an appetite along the way. I had “so much food, so little time” going round my head so I was hoping something would catch my fancy. I managed to walk all through a big hawker market and then all along the street food road in Chinatown without a single thing appealing to me.
I headed back to my hotel and thought I’d give Gluttons Bay one more try, for maybe something light. Ah ha – roti prata; I’d heard of this and it was supposed to be light Indian bread with some sort of dip – perfect. So, it turned out the dip was actually a full-on chicken curry, so not such a light meal after all! The bread was the lightest imaginable, and the curry incredibly full-flavoured. I struggled on for a few minutes trying to debone a chicken leg with a fork and a spoon, until the stall guy came over and dumped a pile of napkins in front of me. So… I continued by hand, and got covered in curry – a lot of fun! I then attempted to stroll back nonchalantly into my fancy-pants hotel with curry all over my face, but I’m not sure I quite managed it.