the funky foods

singapore has many top notch restaurants. it’s filled w/ super shwanky places that are crazy expensive but at the same time, one of the really poplar ways to eat is by going to one of the many food courts around town. these foodcourts aren’t packed full of fast food chains and other chains like back home, instead they serve very authentic food in a humble outdoor cafeteria-like setting. most of this food is chinese w/ some indian and malaysian eateries thrown in. but, this chinese food isn’t like the chinese food we all know and love back home…. nice tender chunks of meat cooked in a variety of tangy sauces. nooooo. not at all. the food here instead has all sorts or random hunks fo meet: feet, organs, bones, fat, fish heads, brains, etc etc. this wide and random assortment of meats is then often mixed w/ random odd unidentifiable spices, pungent thick pastes, odd smelling broths, etc etc. in other words, everything around is sort of familiar… but quite strange at the same time. today, caryn and i wandered around one of these food courts for a while and had a really hard time trying to decide what to get. finally we got some “laksa” which is a malaysian coconut curry and this weird burrito-looking thing. neither of them turned out too great. *sigh*. we fondly looked back on yesterday, when our food court experience consisted of gyoza and an interesting red-bean pastry… both of which were really good. well, i guess you can’t win them all.

afterwards, we got some “desert”. i put quotes around desert, cause it can only loosely be described as such. i got something called “ruby red w/ sago”. i had no clue what sago was, but i assumed that ruby red would be grapefruit. wrong! ruby red turned out to be these weird candied red gelatinous balls w/ chunks of something inside (maybe coconut?). these red balls, were mixed w/ smaller balls which came in both green and yellow and the whole thing was dumped onto a huge snowcone type thing in a bowl that had some milk poured over it. although quite a bizarre concoction, it actually tasted pretty good. in fact, if i hadn’t been so shocked by the way it looked, it may have been more than just “pretty good”. if i thought my desert was weird, caryn’s was way weirder. she got something called “logan w/ 8 treasures”. same deal w/ the shaved ice and stuff on top. but the stuff on top, the “8 treasures”, were: figs, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, white fungus, dates, ginko seeds, and a few other unidentifiable things. so weird… it really didnt seem desert-like at all!!


a clean and shiny city

the next stop on our trip is indonesia, but as there weren’t any direct flights there, we had to make a connection in singapore. it seemed lame to fly through singapore and see nothing but the airport, so we set up our flights so that we could spend 2 days there. i was pretty interested to see what singapore had in store for us. i didnt know too much about it other than that it is really clean, has super strict laws (spitting is illegal, chewing gum is illegal), and that it is really famous for its shopping. we get off the plane, and the first thing i see is a huge sign pretty much urging people to get drunk before they take their flights. that’s unusual! then, inside the airport, there was free internet and free telephones. what an odd place…

singapore, a tiny island off the coast of malaysia, is a huge city filled w/ gigantic skyscrapers surrounded by lush jungles. the population here is mostly originally chinese, which was evident by the large chinatown area right in the center of town. this area has cool shiny red temples, chinese eateries selling bizarre foods that i can not even begin to comprehend, and bars. yes, lots and lots of bars. you would look across the street and see a bar next to a bar which is under another bar and across the street from 4 bars. no really, i’m not exaggerating. sometimes it would seem that whole city blocks are filled w/ nothing but bars. it must be really tough being a bar around here, i can’t imagine how they deal w/ all the competition.

the one thing that i noticed about chinatown right away (besides the bars.. did i mention that there are a lot of them?) was that it was *clean*. very very clean. this is probably cause littering is punished very strictly, but it’s not just that there isn’t any litter… the buildings themselves seem clean. in fact, the whole town seems to have this weird antiseptic quality to it. almost sterile… but it still is pleasant. seeing a chinatown like this is pretty weird for me. every other city’s chinatowns that i’ve seen are usually fairly gritty, and loud w/ lots of commotion. here, it’s really chill and relaxed, which is an odd change.

after a quick lunch, we decided to stop by the Raffles hotel. to get there, we passed by the riverside which is a pleasant area w/ lots of outdoor restaurants. on the way, we stared at singapores many many skyscrapers. they are everywhere. huge gleaming shiny buildings. lots of glass and metal. luckily though, singapore also has lots of greenery in between all this. it’s actually very proud of the fact that the town is very green despite the concrete jungle. everywhere you look there are palm trees swaying in front of the highrises.

the raffles hotel is famous because that’s where the drink “singapore sling” was invented. we walked over there to try one. it was a pretty decent drink even though i’m not really a huge fan of gin. the bar where the drink was invented was pretty cool. each table has a huge bowl of peanuts which are constantly being refilled. as you eat, you just throw the shells on the floor. i dunno what it is about that, but i just love it when bars let you throw peanut shells all over the floor. maybe it’s because normally you are never allowed to do such a thing and it just seems wrong… so it’s always fun to get to do it.

we finished the night off w/ an incredible dinner… which was really expensive. that’s the other thing about singapore. it’s pricey. really really pricey!! after getting used to paying like 8$ for a room in bangkok, it’s painful to shell out about 35$ here!! ouch! and food’s expensive, drinks are wayyyy expensive, cabs.. everything. good thing we’re only staying here for 2 days!!

oh, here’s a picture of a little guy we saw when we were eating lunch. luckily he wasn’t on the menu!!