Monday, March 5, 2007

Singapore, Day 2, part 2 (Lunch, The Dinner Triumverate, and Supper)

After the second hockey game, I grabbed a quick bite to eat for lunch from the mall food court on the floor below the ice rink. (Who says you can't have lunch after brunch?)

This is Laksa, a curry noodle soup dish that is apparently a hybrid of Chinese and Malay influences. Besides the noodles, there were fish cake slices, fried bean curd, and a shrimp or two. The noodles were just plain spaghetti-style noodles, but the soup was very tasty. Along with that was a lychee and shaved ice drink. Delicious as well. After that, I went back to the hotel and showered, but then didn't know what to do with myself (I couldn't walk around because I didn't have all that much daylight left and it was raining out), so I went back to the rink.

As I mentioned earlier, the shopping area next to the rink has a lot of food hawkers. This is called otak-otak, which is a Malaysian fish cake grilled inside a banana leaf. It was kind of funny because right before I left the hotel, I had the TV on and the Singapore episode of Tony Bourdain's No Reservations was showing and he had just eaten some of this on the show.

Next stop, the Million Fish Ball stall!

This was a very simple dish, consisting primarily of noodles and fishballs in a light stock. But this simple dish may have been one of the better dishes I had in Singapore. (Which is not to say that the other food I had was not good! It was just that this really did it for me.) The noodles were freshly made and so they had that wonderful consistency, texture and mouth-feel of fresh pasta. The fish balls were also freshly made by hand, and they had a softer texture than frozen store-bought fish balls that are more commonly used. And the broth was very light and simple, but it was a perfect backdrop for the whole meal. That was dinner #1.

More food pictures. This stall had all sorts of sausage-y items. I think the red things on the bottom right are grilled or roasted cuttlefish. I didn't eat anything here.

I finally decided on getting some Mulsim food. It just seemed a little more off the beaten path.

I chose a dish at random because I pretty much had no clue what anything was. It turned out to be some sort of seafood fried rice, which actually wasn't all that exciting. However, I did also get a cup of fresh-squeezed pineapple juice, which was very good. Pineapple is supposed to have a lot of some protein dissolving enzymes (pepsin? amylase? I can't remember, but it's why your mouth gets sore if you eat too much and also why fresh pineapple can eat its way out of jello) which I figured would be helpful to aid digestion of all of the food I had packed into my gut. Even if it didn't have that effect, it was tasty. This was dinner #2.

Another food stall. More traditional Chinese foods.

Another shop had various fruit drinks. The unusual one was water chestnut juice (do nuts technically count as fruit since they do actually contain a seed inside?).

So of course I tried it. It actually tasted pretty good. Reminds me of the water chestnut cakes you can sometimes get at a good dim sum restaurant (I don't often see it anymore though). After that, I took a break because I needed to digest enough of this so I wouldn't get sick during the third hockey game of the day. However, after the hockey game...

Some more food. At this point, it was already about midnight, so most of the stalls had closed. Two were still open: one that sold food, and one that sold drinks. How convenient. This dish above is mussels in a fermented black bean sauce. Awesome delicious.

This was a scallops and aspargus dish. Tasty as well, as you usually can't go wrong with scallops. Not pictured, but I also got a lime juice for my beverage. While this was dinner #3, I did have one other person helping on this one. After that, it was back to the hotel, and then out for some partying. There were drinks and dancing a plenty, and after the bar/club closed at about 3am or so, we headed back toward the hotel.

But instead of going to sleep, we went in search of more food. This was the only place I could find that was still open at that hour (it's actually the same place that I went to on the first night that I arrived). Six of us shared a big pot of "bone-meat soup" (gu~ ro\ tang)... or maybe it was meat-bone soup; I don't remember. It came with white rice, some pickled vegetables on the side, and some sort of thick, black sauce with spicy red peppers in it. The sauce was sort of like a super-thick version of oyster sauce perhaps? Anyway, it was a nice simple dish, but it tasted very good. This was too late to call dinner, so I called it supper instead. Then I went back to the hotel, took yet another shower (I think that might have been the fifth shower I had taken since waking up that morning), and went to bed.

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