March 30, 2012

What I Ate in Singapore

I'm finally back home in Canada after a busy two weeks of travelling.  I absolutely loved both Singapore and Chiang Mai, including all of the unique and delicious food options there, but it's also nice to be back home and be able to cook for myself again!

I knew that I would want to share some of the food that I ate during my trip on my blog, so I tried to take pictures whenever I could (which wasn't always possible)!  I probably have more to share from the Thailand portion of my trip, but I'll start with a selection of some of my meals in Singapore.  

Breakfast each day was the buffet provided by our hotel (which had lots of options from Western to Asian and Indian food) and lunches during the conference I attended were boxed lunches (I got the Indian vegetarian option each day).  Dinner was our free time to choose our own restaurant to eat at, and I was able to try a mix of Indian, Japanese, and Thai food. The Japanese restaurants we went to were probably my least favourite because it was the hardest to find vegetarian food, and there were a couple meals throughout the week that I didn't particularly enjoy, but overall I loved being able to try new things that I can't usually get at home!

I'll start with breakfast - I tried different items each morning, but my plate usually consisted of an Indian flatbread with dal, a bit of veggie noodles, toast, yogurt, muesli and fruit. One thing that I was afraid to try at first but that I learned to love was the green pandan spread pictured below - it was pretty sweet on its own, but I liked to mix it with peanut butter on my toast.  I also tried congee for the first time (in the bowl below), but I was not a fan of it!


Another local breakfast specialty that I saw on every coffee shop menu was kaya toast, which is just plain toast spread with a mixture of eggs, sugar, coconut and pandan.  I didn't get a chance to try any until I was at the airport on my way home, and I loved it - it tasted similar to jam but the pandan gave it a unique flavour. 


Because Singapore was so hot, I appreciated all of the fresh fruit juices that were available. Most places had so many different combinations of fruit to choose from that it was too hard to decide!  Here is one that I tried on my last day there - fresh pineapple and banana blended with a bit of milk.


I also splurged on a couple of fancy drinks while I was there...Singapore is famous for the Singapore Sling cocktail which was invented at the Raffles Hotel, so of course we had to go there to get one, and it was delicious!



As I mentioned, I ate a lot of Indian food while I was there, and here are a few stand-outs...

I already shared this picture earlier, but it was still one of my favourite meals from Singapore - a fresh dosa with potato filling, served with sambar and two kinds of chutney (I loved the coconut chutney!)


One of our free days, we visited Chinatown and Little India.  We were pretty hungry by the time we got to Little India, so we stopped to eat at a place called the Banana Leaf. I love Indian chaats, so I ordered this aloo chaat (potatoes with onion, tomatoes, cilantro, green chilis and spices), which was really spicy but also had hints of sweet and sour that I liked.


I also had a business lunch one day at the Indian restaurant at our hotel, which offered an amazing buffet. I didn't get a picture of my food, but here are the desserts I tried (clockwise from bottom left): burfi (Indian fudge), shrikand (a type of Indian yogurt pudding), carrot halwa (very rich so I could only eat a little!), and a snack that I think was called kachori served with yogurt and chutney (this wasn't part of the desserts, but I liked it so much that I had another one with my desserts!)



I also loved the Thai food that I tried...

This was one of my favourites - a spicy green curry with mixed vegetables that we ate with fried rice and spring rolls on the side.


I really wanted to try some mango sticky rice on my trip, and this version that I ordered at an IndoChine restaurant was amazing - the mango was so tender and sweet, and the rice had a coconut sauce on top that I could have eaten a whole bowl of on its own!



The Japanese food that I ate there probably wasn't that different than what you would find in North America, but here are a couple of my dishes anyway...

At the first Japanese restaurant we went to for dinner, pretty much all I could find on the menu that was vegetarian were soba noodles with tempura on the side. The soba noodles were were served in a huge bowl with some broth, and they were a bit plain but still good. The tempura was also good but half of it ended up being shrimp, so I ate a pretty light meal that night!


We also ate lunch at a Japanese place on our last day, and I shared a few dishes with another vegetarian friend (who also doesn't eat eggs, so that eliminated tempura as an option this time!) We had some really good garlic rice (not pictured), mixed vegetables and avocado sushi.


Here a a couple of final dishes that didn't really fit into any particular category...

One night when we didn't have much time for dinner, I went to a food court and got some hot and sour veg noodles to take back to my room. They were really good, but definitely very hot (in both senses of the word)!


Besides our lunches at the conference, they also provided some local dishes as morning and afternoon snacks. Here was one that I had never seen before and tasted pretty good too - vegetarian jade dumplings


Another snack that I surprised me with how good it was was this pan-fried radish cake. White radish is used in a lot of dishes in Singapore, and it has a very soft texture and taste similar to a potato. This is one dish that I might have to try to recreate at home!


Finally, there was one fruit that I wanted to try on this trip because we can't get it at home - durian. If you haven't heard of it, it's known as the "king of fruits", but it's also known for having an overpowering odor.  I never actually came across any durian until I was at the airport on my way home and saw a pastry shop devoted entirely to it.  


I chose a package of puff pastries filled with a durian cream and I was excited to try them until I opened the package and released the stench...I fought the urge to get rid of them immediately and tried one anyway, but the taste was just as unpleasant! If any of you have ever tried durian and enjoyed it, I would love to hear about it because I don't think I'll be giving it another chance after that experience!

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of my Singapore trip, and I'll share my Thailand food experiences soon!

13 comments:

  1. Mmm I'm craving that radish cake again now after looking at it! I hope you're able to recreate it at home and will share with me!

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    1. Attempt #1 today was a good start...I just have to improve my technique!

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  2. Welcome Back! I was so excited when I saw your post in my inbox, your trip sounds amazing and the food you were able to experience is so much fun.

    The Jade Dumplings look so good- what were they filled with?

    Mmmm this entire post made me a very hungry girl!

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    1. Thanks, it's nice to be welcomed back :)
      I'm actually not too sure what was in the dumplings - it looked like a mixture of things processed together so I couldn't really determine what it was (maybe with tofu?)...I just knew they were vegetarian so I ate one!

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  3. I am so jealous. Everything looks amazing!! Especially the green chili chaat-yum!

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    1. It was all amazing - except for the durian puffs! I think I ate more chilis on this trip than I ever have in my life!

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  4. oh, my, what lovely yumminess...thanks so much for sharing!!

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  5. What a culinary tour! So fun to see all the varieties of food you tried. The dumpling are gorgeous! And mango sticky rice... yum. I'm glad you tried durian so we could hear about it- ever since an episode of Bourdain, I've always wondered! Don't think I'd be able to stomach it...

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I tried a few different kinds of sticky rice but the mango one I had was definitely the best! And I'll have to watch that episode, I'd like to see how other people react to durian!

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  6. I think I'd be afraid to try that pandan spread too--that color! It all looks so good, though and I'm glad you took pictures of everything! Even the food court noodles are making me hungry. :)

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    1. Haha..yeah, the food court options were always so appealing! Food courts seemed to be everywhere in Singapore - I guess they are pretty popular, and I can see why!

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