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Biscuit Girl

Malaysia and Singapore

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Singapore

We went to Singapore for NYE and were meeting friends visiting Thailand first.  All in all, we were there for about 10 days.  If I was going not during the rainy season, this would totally be a great jumping off point for other trips- Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.  This had been at the top of Matt's bucket list, and he doesn't love to hop around as much as I do, so we really immersed ourselves in Singapore.

Getting around: The great thing about Singapore is that it is so small, nothing is that far away.  The metro is extremely quick and reliable (get a multiple trip card at the station office, the one time cards you keep having to top up are annoying).  The cabs and uber are extremely affordable and nice.  Walking is made much easier by the fact that the first floors of most buildings are built in so that there is an overhang from the rain.

Places to stay: There are a ton of options on hotels, unless you would like to have a hotel room so small, your condo in Arlington seems luxuriously huge, I wouldn't recommend the Mi Hotel.  However, the SO Sofitel in Downtown was great and had a really nice central location right by three metro stops of different colors. We ended up getting food poisoning and the Sofitel called us a doctor who came to our room to treat us, they also had great recommendations on restaurants, they were all around just wonderful.

Things to do:  I highly recommend the National Museum, which isn't extremely strong on historical artifacts, like our National History Museum, but it is a nice collection that is presented just fantastically.  Their digital exhibits, audio and video, sets and other presentation methods make this a really fun visit and since that is what Hubby does as part of his job we just had a field day checking out how they presented the materials.  The National Gallery has a really nicely curated collection of Asia art, specifically heavy on Asian pacific islanders.  I was pleasantly surprised it wasn't Degas and etc.  (The restaurant in the National Gallery, Empress is beautiful and very good, they do a high tea I wish I would have gotten.)  We also went to the Battle Box in Fort Canning and I didn't know much about the history of the pacific front in WW2 and found this to be a really nice tour.  We went to the Gardens by the Bay and I loved the Cloud Forrest and could have spent even more time in there than I did.  The flower hall was mainly decorated for Christmas and wasn't that different from some of the nicer botanical gardens worldwide, I could have skipped this.  We did the Skytop walk, which I would have preferred to do after dark, but this was fun too.  Sentosa was completely skip-able, except for the one day sun peaked out and we felt the need to be at a beach and didn't have time during the sunshine to skip over to Indonesia before it would be cloudy again.  We did the night safari which was silly, but fun, only I was terribly jet lagged and could barely keep my eyelids open on the peaceful tram ride.  We also shopped and there are numerous huge malls all over.  I liked shopping in Little India and picked up some pretty gold earrings, had we not been with friends who weren't big shoppers my wallet likely would be quite a bit lighter with other gold jewelry purchases from here.  The shopping isn't as uniquely Asian as say Tokyo, there are a huge amount of global brands, but we were there during their huge sales time so I had a good time shopping, nonetheless.  And since it was so rainy it bided some time between showers.  We checked out one of the Mustafa center buildings which was just a bit ridiculous, but we thought worth a gander just to see the sheer chaos.  The museum at the Marina Bay Sands, half art and science was fun, and would be great if you have kids- lots of kid friendly exhibits.  

Eating:  The thing with Singapore is that food is everywhere.  Women's clothing shops had cafes in them, every mall had restaurants, multiple food courts, there were Hawker stalls, restaurants.  You could eat anywhere, and a huge amount of that food is really good, to the point that the one or two times only we didn't have a meal we really liked, we felt very let down.  Matt and I ate multiple meals at La Pau Sat the food court/Hawker center right by our hotel.  We never ate the satay outside, as it may have been the downfall of our friend.  But the inside stalls include a great Hong Kong Dim Sum, Indian food, a Bib Gourmand fish ball soup seller, delicious lime and sugar kane drinks, Hainese chicken rice, etc.  This was pretty much our daily breakfast and it was fantastic.  It is near Raffles Place metro and worth a stop.  We had dinner at Me at Que, which had a beautiful patio and views, it was a mix of Japanese steak and chinese dishes, pricey, but our friends liked to dine out at pretty nice places (I wish I had known this in advance, I would have made advance reservations at more places, but I was so busy Hubby really planned this trip).  The food was very good, but you go for the view to be honest, but of all those great view restaurants, it may have been one of the best tasting.  We ate NYE dinner at C'est La Vie in the Marina Bay Sands, the view there is also incredible, the food was good, I just prefer to eat more Asian when in Asia.  We had scallop and oyster ceviche which was really fresh and may have been my favorite dish, black truffle cod cake with leek and potato- which our friend who is very picky ended up loving, which is good, braised wagyu beef with polenta, corn and mushrooms, which was just a little rich when it is so humid outside, and chocolate caramel pana cotta with espresso emulsion, which I really liked.  As a word to the wise, do NYE at Me at Que, do not do it at Lattitude, do not fall for the nicely sounding rooftop bar where you can see the fireworks, you have a high chance of being miserably rained on all evening, go somewhere with a roof!  We also ate at the Lighthouse in the Fullerton, the rooftop bar there is incredible- do go and get your expensive drink there and enjoy the view, the restaurant is very fancy, Italian, Matt and I got food poisoning the night after this meal (but who knows where from really) so I just can't bring myself to describe any of the tasting menu we had, despite this, I would go back to the rooftop bar again.  We also ate at Clifford Pier, which the pictures looked much cooler than it actually was, but I had an especially delicious seafood Laksa and our friend had his favorite meal there too- I forget what it was.  So the food made up for the kind of odd table service.    We had a few meals at various places around Telok Ayer and Amoy Street, which had a host of small interesting restaurants and cocktail bars, that weren't quite the tourist hub as some other places.  I can't tell you the names of any of the places we ate or drank, but we found a great cocktail bar with punches, we had good korean bbq, Indian, etc.  We ate at the Banana Leaf Restaurant in Little India, I had a shrimp curry that was very good, but the okra dish I had ended up being the star of the two.  I wanted to order the fish head curry, but they were out of a lot of dishes that day for some reason, and it was one.  Once our friends departed, Matt and I ate more low brow.  We had lunch at the Food Republic at Ben Coolen metro at the stall where the guy cut off noodles as he made the dish, it was good, but not as good as anything we ate at La Pau Sat.  We had a really good Dim Sum in one of the malls from a chain Tim Ho Wan- the baked BBQ buns, shrimp and spinach dumplings were outstanding- thinnest dumpling wrappers I had burst with flavor, and nothing we had was bad.  We had a Hong Kong Style dim dum by the Starbucks in Ben Coolen the day after we had food poisoning for some wontons in broth.  We also ate some more Hainese Chicken Rice, Mee Goreng at various hawker and food courts.  We had sushi at Genki Sushi in the Takashimaya where you order on ipad and they zip it out to you on a train conveyer (my nephew would love this) and then had dessert in the food court.  As a note, there was quite a lot of contstruction while we were there, Raffles was closed, as were several museums for refurbishment.  We also found an absolutely fantastic gin bar in the JW Marriott.  

We took a daytrip to Malacca and I didn't particularly care for our guide, and Matt felt the city was a tour bus stop city and didn't love the experience, I think with more free time to see it the way we would have liked we would have had a better time.  We did eat some interesting food there- we had a Chinese Muslim cuisine that was quite good.  Our driver was so nice though and it was a super comfortable trip, I really liked Malaysia and would see more of it.  It was a bit sad to see the deforestation and planting of palms all over the southern part of the penninsula for palm oil, but what are you going to do, there is a demand.

We took a daytrip to Bintan on one of our few sunny days, an hour ferry ride across the strait, we went to the Narwana Beach Club, which was fun, but note the pictures make this place seem a lot nicer than it really is, it is fun, but not super fancy like the pictures.  The beach had some trash on each end, but was mostly clean and being right off the busiest straight in the world, what do you expect (Well I would expect them to hire someone to clean it a bit better seeing how cheap labor is, but the other people at the resort didn't seem at all concerned, so they likely don't have reason to do that.), the sun was warm, the water was warm and turquoise and you could see through it and the beach was very picturesque.  It wasn't like there was floating trash or anything- and not any different than the public beaches in Bali, it just is what it is.  Had they had more trash cans near the beach I would have picked up a few things myself.  The noodle restaurant at the Narwana hotel had a delicious Laksa and Hubby had a curry dish that was really delicious too.  We also had spring rolls with chicken and a few other ingredients that were delicious, not quite your standard spring roll.  

I am sure I will think of a few more things to add later.

Oh and for such a digitally advanced country it is really annoying not to have electronic ticket counters and to have to que for tickets all the time.  I know this is part of how they keep full employment in the country, but still.

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Nice!

Hainanese Chicken Rice is ubiquitous in Asia, yet super difficult to find here. Any one know of any in DMV? Nong's in Portland, OR is one of the few places I've heard about, but that's too far. With a bad URI/sinusitis at the moment, poached chicken sounds pretty perfect...

 

 

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2 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Nice!

Hainanese Chicken Rice is ubiquitous in Asia, yet super difficult to find here. Any one know of any in DMV? Nong's in Portland, OR is one of the few places I've heard about, but that's too far. With a bad URI/sinusitis at the moment, poached chicken sounds pretty perfect...

 

 

It is so good, I am very surprised you don't see it more often!  It is something anyone would like.  The chicken is good, the rice with it, so well done and the sauce.  I found a good recipe for it on Pinterest so may have to make it for friends.

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1 hour ago, ktmoomau said:

It is so good, I am very surprised you don't see it more often!  It is something anyone would like.  The chicken is good, the rice with it, so well done and the sauce.  I found a good recipe for it on Pinterest so may have to make it for friends.

Can you share your recipe? I would love to make this!

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1 hour ago, ALB said:

Can you share your recipe? I would love to make this!

Not my recipe, but this recipe on Pinterest looks like it has all the elements of the dish, except for the bok choy side it normally comes with.  The sauce really varied depending on the place and most stands had multiple sauces you could mix to your liking- chili oil, etc, they seem to be missing kecap manis on this recipe.  There is also a recipe on serious eats, but it neglects the chicken a little more than I think you should. 

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14 hours ago, ktmoomau said:

Not my recipe, but this recipe on Pinterest looks like it has all the elements of the dish, except for the bok choy side it normally comes with.  The sauce really varied depending on the place and most stands had multiple sauces you could mix to your liking- chili oil, etc, they seem to be missing kecap manis on this recipe.  There is also a recipe on serious eats, but it neglects the chicken a little more than I think you should. 

Thanks!! I was lucky enough to travel through Singapore this summer and I have wanted to make that dish since.

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