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Dining in Singapore


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Great posts, Rona - keep them coming!

I wrote the dinner post last night, but IE crashed when I was almost at the end! I was too annoyed to continue, but since this is my first official full week of slacking off at work, here I go!

Singapore Day 4 dinner:

On another board, some kind folks told me about their favourite "secret" Chinese (Cantonese?) restaurant specializing in seafood. They swore me to secrecy :wink: , so shhhh... don't tell anyone that I told you about it!

For our last big meal in Singapore, we decided to try SinLee on Neil Road (about a block from Maxwell Road Food Court), and fortunately, eG members Piglet (aka Emily) and Julian Teoh were going to join us! It seems we had been crossing paths a lot unknowingly--we were on the same flight to Singapore from Siem Reap, Julian was in Malaysia the same time we were, and Emily ate at The Banana Leaf Apolo the night before we did! We were destined to meet, I think.

We arrived at 6:30 for our 7pm reservation (my mother likes to call me the "Eager Beaver" because I'm always too early for things), so we walked around a bit and found The Tea Chapter a few doors down. It's a nice little tea shop that carries a variety of very aromatic Chinese teas and tea accessories, and they also hold tea seminars there. I'd have liked to attend one (they come with food), but no such luck. We browsed around for a bit, perhaps too long, because we walked out with 5 tins of tea we had no room for in our suitcases! Well, at least they were light!

Upon leaving the store, who should we run into but Emily! I had wisely given her our descriptions (short, pudgy, we look like locals), so she recognized us right away! Julian, whom we weren't sure would be able to make it, was waiting for us in the restaurant.

After we sat down, we were presented with menus and asked if we wanted tea. The only problem was that the waitstaff asked in one of the many Chinese languages which I do not know (which is all of them, unless you count a few Cantonese dim sum words). Julian to the rescue! He claims his Mandarin isn't very good, but the waitstaff seemed to understand him perfectly!

Then we had to go through the menu, which I think was in English. I don't actually remember much, because we let Julian do all the ordering. Poor guy--invited to dinner, but he has to do all the work! I did have a list of recommended dishes from my OBP, which was written (by me) in very poorly copied Chinese characters, and my only request was to have some kind of steamed fish--you know the kind with a whole fish with ginger, scallions, and some kind of very light soy-based sauce. We were able to get that, but none of the other dishes on my list were available! No razor clams! No vegetable dish made of some kind of vegetable which has Chinese characters like bean sprouts (maybe it's pea shoots? 豆苗) or 上湯九杞. I have all the bad luck!

So we went with ordering whatever Julian suggested. Do you like frog? Sure. How about prawns in oatmeal? Sure. Anything is OK. If Peter trusts you, I trust you.

I don't have any pictures of the food. We were the only people in the restaurant (maybe because it was Sunday?), and I felt like the waitstaff were hovering over us, so I felt rather self-conscious. It was probably the best service we had in Singapore, and only because there was no one else there! And it's not a very big restaurant! Plus I think I was talking too much to take pictures. :shock:

But I really enjoyed the food. I had never had prawns with oatmeal before. The oatmeal provides a slightly sweet flavour (it's dry oatmeal, not cooked) that was so delicious with rice. My mother still talks about the vegetables we had (was it kangkong?), and the fish! Tender, moist, and oh so good. I wish I had eaten the stomach, but I forgot about it. Did we finish the fish? I don't even remember. The frogs were quite delicious, as well, but I was too tired to work at getting the meat off those teeny bones. I also ended up with a lot of froggy cartilage, and I accidentally ate a piece of chile! I have all the bad luck! I was also getting sicker by the minute (I could feel the congestion building up in my chest), and I just couldn't eat as much as I would have liked. :sad:

The next time I'm in Singapore, I'm going to SinLee again. I'm sure there are other good Chinese seafood restaurants in Singapore, but I know I'll enjoy SinLee. Plus now I know what to order! I'd recommend it to others, too, and I'd recommend inviting Julian and Emily to join you. They're great company (and you'll get to order more food with more people around :raz: ), and really nice people. We were very happy they were able to join us!

And if you happen to be in Singapore on a late night stopover but don't want to get a hotel room, SinLee is open till 2 or 3 am, so you could go there for dinner, and still make it back to the airport for an early morning flight. Very convenient!

BTW, Julian, my mother is still sad about not being able to take you up on the pomelo offer. But by that point, we really had no room!

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Singapore Day 5

Our last day, and was I ever ready to leave! It wasn't that I was finished eating, but overnight my chest had magically filled with, you know, stuff, and I managed to find myself with a headache and fever to boot! Most unfortunate, but I had felt it coming on since Malaysia, so I suppose I was lucky it waited until my last day to appear. But ever the trooper, I continued eating.

We wanted breakfast (most important meal of the day, remember), but I hate jook/congee. Hard to believe since I'm 5/16 Chinese, and jook is *the* food to eat for colds, but I hate it. Too vomit-like. So instead we went for comfort food, my style. No, we didn't have curry puffs. Instead we took a bus to Orchard Road, and walked for about 10 minutes (I told you I was a trooper) to Hediard.

Yes, that's right. We had French for one of our last meals in Singapore. And it wasn't really French French, it was just breakfast. I don't think most French people eat the kind of breakfast we ate, which would explain why most French people are much thinner than my mother and I.

My mother had the H "XL" breakfast set. This included:

Madeleine blend coffee, chocolate or Hediard blend tea

Orange juice freshly squeezed

Choice of one viennoiserie (croissant, brioche or pain au chocolat)

Half boiled egg

Hediard toasted bread and butter

One 30gr jar of home made jam and one 30gr jar of honey

Plus

Creamy scrambled eggs

Choice of one Norwegian smoked salmon or Parma Ham platter

The orange juice was very orange. What kind of oranges do they use, I wonder. Looks like mandarin orange, but I don’t remember it tasting like that. She let me have most of it (I was sick, doncha know, and needed my vitamin C), but I don't really remember it. And those little jars of jam and honey were something like S$4 each.

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And she had the chocolate. OK, I had the chocolate, but at least I let her try it! This was so thick and rich I thought my already phlegmed up chest and head were going to explode, but I wouldn't have turned away a second cup. Luckily they provide you with a little pitcher of milk to dilute it.

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The soft-boiled egg was overcooked on the bottom, perfect on top (like a microwaved egg might be). I ate that. And most of the toast. She chose the brioche (no, I didn't eat it), and she loved the texture of the crumb. She thought it was very fine, and even worthy of Tom (she still likes to talk about his bread).

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She chose the salmon. This, too, was enjoyed tremendously by both of us (she let me have half). I didn't care for the sauce, though. I can't remember what it was, but it was just like mayonnaise with not much other flavour, but I may have thought that because of my cold.

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And she had scrambled eggs, too. She liked them, I didn't. I prefer creamier eggs that are less coagulated, but she thought they were perfect.

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I liked the little salt and pepper dishes they provided. Actually, I really only liked the little mother-of-pearl spoon. It was so cute! I wanted to pocket it, but that would have been stealing. Plus when we left, we were the only two people in the restaurant, so I'm sure they would have come after us.

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That was an expensive breakfast, and would we do it again? No. With the exception of the salmon, the brioche, and the chocolate, nothing about the meal was really memorable. I'm not sure why it warrants a S$45 price tag, unless it's because the name "Hediard" is attached to it (and I'm sure they use scads of butter in those scrambled eggs), but S$4 for little pot of honey? That's a bit much. Come to think of it, they may have been more than $4. More like S$6. But I could be wrong.

We pocketed the honey (we asked if we could have it), and my mother switched out the jam for another honey from a table which left theirs untouched (she asked--I think she may have asked if she could have the other table's jams, too, but all she got was the switch-out). It's not like we didn't pay for it!

Oh, lest you think I just mooched off my mother, I ordered something, too. Eggs "Benedicte". I don’t remember much about it, except that the egg was a bit overcooked to my liking. And really, the parmesan is the only thing I remember tasting. The sauce wasn’t hollandaise, but I don’t know what it was. It was comparatively chunky.

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Here’s a close up of the sauce. Maybe it was just broken?

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I didn’t have anything else to drink, because orange juice was a whopping S$14! And I thought Café Iguana was a rip-off! But had I been up to snuff, I`d probably have had a cafe au lait. Hmmm, it seems for a sick person, I ate an awful lot of food, but I really was sick!

I should add, my mother`s breakfast was around S$45, and mine was around $16, I think. Our total bill was somewhere in the $70-range, if I remember correctly. A very pricey breakfast, indeed, but I`m still happy I tried it.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Singapore Day 5 continued

From Hediard, we walked a little down Orchard to do a few last-minute errands. Then we went back to the hotel to nap before our late check out. We were smart enough to book massages for that afternoon since our flight didn`t leave until midnight or thereabouts. We didn`t do much in Chinatown except the massage. Not even a last-minute chicken rice fix! Instead, we went back to the hotel and sat around in the lounge until dinnertime. Which was. . .

I know y`all are going to be disappointed with me, but we went to Cafe Iguana again! We just wanted one last taste of the Queso Fundido, and it was good! You know, I think their queso fundido looked suspiciously like the stuff that comes in a jar (in Canada Old Dutch makes a cheese dip like that), so I think I`ll have to try it out when I`m home this summer.

OK, I think I finished with Singapore, and I did it before Peter finished Vancouver! Now it`s off to figure out the Malaysia pictures, and figure out what the heck is going on with my apostrophe.

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OK, I think I finished with Singapore, and I did it before Peter finished Vancouver!  Now it`s off to figure out the Malaysia pictures, and figure out what the heck is going on with my apostrophe.

Hah! I'm getting there! I'll be done soon.

( At least she didn't mention the London posts :unsure: )

Peter

P.S. - sorry to hear about the flu. At least it held off until the end.

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Day 2--Singapore

...

Jumbo Seafood.  I think I've heard of it before, but perhaps they have other branches, because I don't associate it with Clarke Quay.  It's a Chinese restaurant specializing in seafood, from what we could tell.  Unfortunately, it was 3pm by this time, and they were closing!  They kicked us out, and we walked next door to Cafe Iguana. 

Cafe Iguana, it turns out, is a Mexican restaurant.  I really didn't want to eat Mexican food in Singapore.  I mean, Mexican food in Japan usually sucks, how good could it be in Singapore, especially in a touristy area like Clarke Quay?  And it's sort of kitschy. 

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We decided to stick with simple stuff, because it's pretty hard to screw up the simple stuff.  My mother ordered queso fundido.  When it arrived, it sort of looked like processed cheese food.  It may have, in fact, been processed cheese food.  But it was really good!  It was cheesy enough, but not too cheesy or greasy, and it had a bit of a kick to it.  And the tortilla chips were warm.  We thought maybe they fried them onsite, but it's hard to say.

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We really liked this, so we asked what was in it.  They said cheese, tomatoes, capsicum, chile. . . and I think that was it.  But look at it!  There's no way that can be just cheese unless it's processed cheese food--can it?  Here's another look:

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I'd be willing to use processed cheese food (if i can find it in Japan) if someone could give me a recipe.  I looked a bunch up, like those crock pot cheese dips made with cheez whiz, but none of them seemed like they'd turn out like our beloved queso fundido.  And I tried doing a cheese sauce (just bechamel with lots of cheese) mixed with jalapenos and tomatoes, but it wasn't the same at all. 

Back to food, As I was looking at the menu, I noticed that brunch dishes were available till 4pm on Sat. and Sun. and they had chilaquiles!  I love chilaquiles!  I had to ask the waiter what day it was (hey, I was on holidays.  I didn't need to know what day it was!) and confirmed that it was Sunday (he only laughed at me a little), I ordered my chilaquiles con pollo.

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No, that is not a side of poop.  Refried beans with a crusty exterior, is what that is!  The whole dish wasn't too bad, but it was oddly sweet and it couldn't hold a candle to the queso fundido!

...

Rona, Jumbo is indeed a chain. My colleagues in Singapore love it. We went to the one on the beach not far from the airport. Nice view of the ships queued up for their turn at the docks. (It looks like a city at night, with all the lights from the ships).

Here's a lobster dish we had. Yes it's covered in mayonnaise! (It was good. Really).

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Duck. Garnished with shrimp chips. (I think of it as "krupuk" but I guess this is the Chinese version).

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Veggies and seafood. I remember my colleague specifying "no sea cucumber". I guess it's an acquired taste. :hmmm:

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Everyone's favorite, pepper crab. (My colleagues prefer this to the similar Chili Crab). What a mess to eat, but absolutely great.

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Café Iguana is owned by the same folks who do the brew pub and wine bar nearby. I didn't go there, but my colleagues spoke well of it (and the other businesses as well).

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Café Iguana is owned by the same folks who do the brew pub and wine bar nearby. I didn't go there, but my colleagues spoke well of it (and the other businesses as well).

That's Brewerkz, isn't it? Do they still have the Mougwai on tap?

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Hah!  I'm getting there!  I'll be done soon.

( At least she didn't mention the London posts     :unsure: )

My goal is to finish Malaysia and Cambodia before you finish London. :raz:

And would you believe I'm still sick? Bronchitis sucks!

:sad: How long ago did you leave Singapore?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Café Iguana is owned by the same folks who do the brew pub and wine bar nearby. I didn't go there, but my colleagues spoke well of it (and the other businesses as well).

That's Brewerkz, isn't it? Do they still have the Mougwai on tap?

Yeah, the same folks own Brewerkz, the wine bar, and Café Iguana. (Company info here.) I walked past it numerous times but never got around to stopping in. All three businesses appear to be doing quite well.

My colleague said that Brewerkz was the first microbrewer in Singapore. The concept has caught on now - we had lunch on the veranda at Red Dot, which is in a charming old "black and white" colonial cottage. We also had dinner at Paulaner Bräuhaus, which has a rather unusual dining room. There's plenty of good beer to be had in Singapore, though prices are not cheap...

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  • 8 months later...

For those of you based in Singapore, the White Card is now available! Lucky you, you can get 50% off dining at all of these restaurants:

2am:dessertbar ; Brasserie Wolf; Brewerkz @ Bt Timah; Brewerkz @ Riverside Point; Brewerkz @ Indoor Stadium; Café Iguana @ Riverside Point; Café Iguana @ Greenwood Avenue; Club Chinois; Dim Joy; Domvs; Epicurious; Forlino; Garuda Padang Cuisine @ Orchard Central; Garuda Padang Cuisine @ Vivocity; il Lido; KO; Man Fu Yuan; Mietta’s; My Humble House; Novus; Patara Fine Thai; Pierside; Relish; Shahi Maharani; Spruce; Sweet Salty Spicy; The Marmalade Pantry @ ION; The Marmalade Pantry @ Hitachi Tower; The Marmalade Pantry + Cork Cellar Kitchen; Tiffin Club; True Blue Cuisine; Wild Rocket; and Wine Garage.

What's the catch? You only get 50% off if only 2 people are dining. The more people in your party, the smaller your discount is. Three people only get 33% off. Four people only 25%. Five or more? Only 15%! And if you're dining solo--then you only get 10% off. Still sound like a deal to you?

Well, it also costs SG$500 plus tax per year, and you can only use it in conjunction with a Mastercard. (Funny thing is, they accept both MC and Visa for purchase of the membership.)

I've only been to Cafe Iguana, but if that's the level of restaurant involved, can you really get your money's worth with this card?

I found out about the card through the blog of one of people involved with the card. He writes:

I don’t usually use my blog as a platform through which to talk about my work projects, but I thought many of you would be as excited as I am about one of the latest things that my colleagues and I have created.

The launch party was in July. Sounds to me like he's using his blog to advertise because the card's not doing so well. Cheesy.

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  • 2 months later...
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