While we always try to visit new places, there are some places we keep coming back to for various reasons. For Singapore, it helps that it’s a transit hub in South East Asia, but what always got us nostalgic about Singapore and drawing us back is none other than food. I hear from many people that they find Singapore a bit too sterile and boring, but Singapore is certainly not boring if you love to eat. It has a very lively food scene everywhere you go, for any taste and budget, and a very high standard of hygiene that you never have to worry about getting sick from street food.
So last October, we found ourselves in Singapore again for a 3-day stopover with the main intention of stuffing ourselves silly.
Unfortunately, as you may notice from the rest of the blog, we are not very good food photographers. We tend to get too excited about our food and would tuck in right away not bothering with taking pictures. So I’m sorry that I could only share pictures of those we remembered to take.
Singapore was shrouded in haze from Indonesian forest fire when we were there, but not hazardously so that we couldn’t walk around outdoors. It did make any pictures of sights pretty dull grey, but on the positive side, I found the moderate haze made walking outdoor quite bearable during high afternoon, when it’s usually painfully hot and sunny.
Our apartment was situated in a residential area, but in Singapore, if you walk a block, you will find someone selling food, and that was what we did the first evening after we arrived in Singapore. We found a small hawker center and a street with some restaurants not far from our house. We got ourselves some Indian for dinner, which The Kid found too spicy, and we had to get her some chicken from the neighbouring KFC (oh well, it’s her vacation too, and the Indian WAS spicy).
328 Katong Laksa
The next day, we took a bus to my favourite street stall in Singapore, 328 Katong Laksa, for lunch. Well, it used to be a street stall on a corner of a street, but apparently they have upgraded into an air-conditioned restaurant now (which may have something to do with their recent publicity with Gordon Ramsay). We each ordered a bowl of laksa, a packet of otah (fish cake grilled in banana leaves), and lime juice. The food was as glorious as we remembered it, and the combination of spicy curry, mild but flavourful fish cake, and lime juice was definitely match made in heaven.
East Lagoon Hawker Centre
We had never been to a hawker centre before in Singapore, and we’re thrilled to find that there’s one within walking distance from our apartment, which is East Lagoon Hawker Centre, just by the beach. We arrived at around 4pm to get some (cheap) beers and to let The Kid play around by the beach a bit. By the time the sun set, the centre got progressively livelier, with more stalls opening, and people milling about and getting their dishes. I could see many locals with business attire stopped by and grabbed something to bring home, people with running gears who seemed to get their dinner at the end of their exercise, families with kids in school uniforms, it would be what the Dutch described as ‘gezellig‘.
Choosing what we wanted to eat proved to be quite challenging with the array for food available. The Kid wanted some chicken satays, but I had my eyes on the belacan stingray, which is a stingray fish daubed in chili sauce with fermented shrimp paste, then grilled on banana leaf. It was a choice I did not regret at all, that was probably the best thing I ate this year. I love it so much I wanted to cry looking at the picture of the beast knowing it will not be soon enough when I can get another one.
Where we stayed
Accommodation is always on the pricey side in Singapore, and last time we were there in 2013, Airbnb hadn’t caught on yet. But this year, I was pleased to see the selections of apartments to rent in the island. We opted for this wonderful apartment on the East Coast, situated in an apartment complex with the most enormous non-commercial swimming pool I have seen, which made Hubby and The Kid absolutely happy.
We also love the location, where we could walk to the supermarket, some restaurants, the beach, a hawker centre, and bus stops to various locations around the island.
The apartment made such a big difference to how we experienced Singapore compared to our previous stays. It’s always a delight to be able to live among the locals, and have easy access to where they go on daily basis and get to see real locals in action, such as how The Kid imagined herself to be one of the school children from the several schools in the neighbourhood while waiting for the bus.
In fact, The Kid declared that she would live in Singapore when she’s a grown up, because it’s warm, and there are no mosquitoes.