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nikkib

eG Food Blog: nikkib (2011)

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I ended up in Arab street where i met a friend for shisha and tea and spent a few hours relaxing and sheltering from the rain. On the way back i stopped at barKode http://www.greatnewplaces.com/c862-Barkode where i sampled an Earthy Temptation - Martin millers Gin, Earl Grey tea, lemongrass and marmalade. It was good but perhaps a bit too subtle for me, never the less this is a great bar - definitely worth a visit.

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Then it was back to the Tekka Centre for dinner - Char Kway Teoh, another local noodle dish, this time with prawns, cockles, fried egg and fish cake slices as well as a good dose of chilli.

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Whilst not food related i thought you may like to see the Jothi flower garland sellers that pepper the route back to my house amongst the different temples, restaurants and shops.

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Haresfur I manage an upscale restaurant in one of the larger hotel chains. I won't name it here as this is a personal blog and all opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company blah blah blah but needless to say if anyone finds themselves in Singapore PM me as i can treat you to some amazing views of Singapore and a little drink perhaps... The operation is large - around 150 people can sit at any one time and very busy. We don't serve "local cuisine" rather a Modern European menu and our clientele is very evenly split between locals and tourists. In terms of other dining options, Singapore literally has it all - Marina Bay Sands that opened fairly recently has everything from Mozza (by Mario Batali) to DB Moderne, Guy Savoy and santi as well as the more local Waku Ghin.Singaporeans eat out the whole time so i assume there are many empty fridges across singapore and not just mine - many appartments even state in the rental adverts - no cooking. There are some great Mexican places, fish and chip shops, tapas bars, Arabic restaurants, high end sushi/teppanyaki/robata etc Australian, German, Russian - you name it, you can eat it here. The Hawker Centres have everything from Indian,Thai,Chinese,Malay and Korean to more Western items too - i will post some photos for you to get an idea later in the week.

@Jenni - there is occasionally a piece of okra in the sambar but not much apart from that, and i eat it in many places :hmmm:

Also - apologies for the embarrassing amount of typos in my posts - i do know how to spell/punctuate etc but for some reason these posts seem to be error strewn "stream of conciousness" for reasons unbeknownst to me.....

Wow, that seems so utterly foreign to me! So interesting!

Does this mean that one would literally get kicked out of their apartment if they, for example, microwaved a snack? Or, does it mean that there are no kitchens in the apartment?

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Well, I must say I'm surprised that you can usually only detect a few tomato skins as the only vegetable. Sambar may have one type of vegetable or several but always some. Sometimes you may go out and get an unlucky scoop with just a few fragments but in that case I would finish my bowl quick and get a refill!

I'm not saying it should be chock full to the brim with veg, but there should be some chunks. Perhaps I am misunderstanding you about how much is actually there. I love the vegetables in sambar and would be very disapointed not to get any (and perplexed...and annoyed!), but I suppose as long as you personally are enjoying it then it's working out ok.

Anyway, ignore all this, show us more delicious local food! Did you know that extra calories consumed during the making of an eGullet blog are burned off immediately?! :laugh:

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Nikki - What helped me with the heat were the wonderful freshly squeezed juices sold at the markets. I was particularly fond of watermelon and cantaloupe. Do you enjoy them? As to the vast variety of foods on offer at the centres - were you basically familiar with the cuisines or has this been a grand experiment?

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Wow Nikki! Everything looks incredible. I didn't realize Singapore had such a diverse culinary culture. As much as I love to cook, it would be a lot of fun to eat out for every meal...less clean up that way! But I am a total kitchen hoarder, so I can't imagine having so little food in the house. And don't worry about the typos...hey happen to the best of us...lol...and me too! My husband has chicken and rice like what you had twice a week for lunch, there's a food cart right outside his office building that makes it. It's one of his favorites, and much healthier than eating a giant fried pork sandwich or hamburger with grilled cheese sandwiches as buns...

Do you have a car, or do you use public transport/walking to get to all these wonderful restaurants?

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Nikki, what an awesome start to what looks to be a great blog! I think a lot of us expect many delicious things from Singapore :smile:

Any chance you can document some chili crab? A friend of mine moved there and won't stop talking about it, but I've never had it or even been anywhere that served it.

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Breakfast this morning was at another regular haunt of mine - Toast Box is a chain that serve tea/coffee and local breakfast specialities throughout the day. As it is based next to the MRT (subway) it is ideally located and the coffee is good. Singaporean Coffee or Kopi as i mentioned before is made in a different way to regular coffee - it is udually served withe condensed milk to serve as both the milk/sugar. Kopi Gau is the same but a stronger, less watered down version of Kopi, Kopi C is a weaker version with more condensed milk and water than coffee. Kopi O is black coffee with sugar (keeping up at the back?!) There are other versions including iced or blended amongst others but these are the ones you see more often than not. I drink regular Kopi, it is sweeter than coffee i usually like but as a first drink of the day my body appreciates the sugary sweetness to shock it awake! Kaya as i also mentioned before is the traditional accompaniment to toast here - a very sweet egg and coconut jam served spread over toast with a slice of chilled butter on the other piece and sandwiched together - they usually use one piece of thick bread cut like melba toast (but not so thin) and then sandwiched together again. Thick toasts are also available along with French toast, various buns, laksa and mee siam (more on these later) Soft boiled eggs are often served too - cracked into a small bowl and eaten with dark soy sauce and pepper and then either spooned up and eaten like that or by dipping the toast into it. They are just too soft for me to enjoy really - i cracked one open and gave up - too slimy!

This morning i had Bolou Yau which is a sweet brioche type pineapple bun and Kopi, it came as part of the meal deal with the eggs for i think $4.50.

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@Shelby - it's more that the appartments aren't so suited to cooking, they may have a microwave or a single induction heater but that's often it. Other adverts specify "light" cooking only. I gather the main reason is due to the smell of the local food whilst it's being prepared - we aren't talking simple stews or roasts but dried anchovies, curry sauces, preserved eggs etc ( FYI I also saw adverts stating they wouldn't rent to "Indians or Chinese" which really freaked me out and I refused to view any of them on principle which confused my rental agent no end -speaking to people I am led to believe this is for the aforementioned culinary reasons but still made me incredibly uncomfortable)

@hassouni - thanks! I am hoping you will do a blog sooner rather than later and yes, chilli crab will most definitely feature!

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@genkinnaona - Singapore is very compact and has a great subway system known as the mrt. Cabs are also not too badly priced ( although I miss my Lebanese service taxis more than you could ever believe!) most of the places I visit are pretty near where I either live or work, on a day off I might head a few extra stops out but so far I am being a bit lazy in that respect.

Prasantrin mentioned Malacca and I did look into a visit but I only have the one day off this week and have an appointment it is proving hard to reschedule, I will do my best to head there in a week or two and do a smaller blog on that trip.

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@Heidi yes I really enjoy all the fruit juices, I usually have sour lime juice or melon if available, if I don't go with a tiger beer of course! I was familiar with quite a few of the dishes but many are completely new to me- depending on how I'm feeling I tend to just order something new to see if I like it or not, most of the stalls either have pictures or specialize in one dish so you look for the biggest queues and head in that direction. It doesn't always result in a delicious meal but at a couple of dollars a pop I can always abandon any unsuccessful dishes and try something else, it's all in the name of research afterall! There have been more hits than misses I should add!

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What do all the letters in the coffee stand for? Kopi O, Kopi C, etc....

Given that Singapore is what, 75% Chinese or so, is the major food influence there Chinese or Malay/Indian? Is it sort of like a fusion in general, or are most dishes distinctively Chinese, Malay, or Indian? It seems that Malay influences are disproportionately large, as least as far as population figures are concerned.

And as for my own blog, hah well, my food life is kind of boring lately...

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*Loving* this blog so far. My neice and her family have moved to Singapore and keep urging me to go visit them, I wanted to go before but this blog so far has got me looking at my diary for possible dates to go :)

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Lunch today was a quick bite at Din Tai Fung - a Tawainese restaurant chain. I opted for a vegetarian tofu salad with veggies and pork, chilli and crab steamed buns all for less than $10. They are Michelin recommended (which i was not aware of the first time i ate there but it did not surprise me to learn) This place runs like clockwork, there is nearly always a queue - whatever time they tell you the wait will be is almost always spot on to the minute - you are given an order pad while you wait which they take from you as soon as you are seated and despite the dumplings being made to order, you will always have at least one dish within 10 minutes - if you see a Din tai Fung on your travels i would highly recommend you check them out...

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Edited by nikkib (log)

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@Hassouni - The Kopi O Kopi C etc are i gather from Google derived from chinese or Malay but they are just listed short hand like that so wouldnt know for sure, i just ask for Kopi and get the right drink so thats all i'm really worried about :wink:

@YSL - Thanks! It is great fun here, either as a destination on its own, a stopover en route to OZ or tied in with a beach holiday somewhere like Langkawi, Penang or Thailand - highly recommend it!

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For dinner i went to the Newton Circus Hawker Centre - one of the most famous (and controversial) hawker centres in singapore. It was renovated a few years back and general opinion now seems to be it is too watered down, expensive and touristy. It is still a fun place to go but i have to agree with the critics on this one - it is reknowned for its seafood whioch explains the higher prices somewhat but i was quite surprised at how different the prices were here to other places i prefer. I wasnt really too hungry and just fancied something light so i just had Popiah. Popiah is a Chinese dish of a light, fresh spring roll popular in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. The wrapper is a thin crepe (un fried) and it is filled with egg, jicama, turnip, bean sprouts, lettuce, peanuts and carrots amongst others and it is served drizzled with a sweet soy sauce or hoi sin most commonly. M ine was pretty good - $3.40. To drink i had my first barley water, a drink poplular here and served both hot and cold - i'm not really sure what as i was expecting (Barley + Water doesnt leave much to the imagination) but i was completely underwhelmed. Probably better hotter as a pre bedtime drink like a malt but i think i will stick to something else in future.

Brilliantly and bizarrely the Chinese guy next to me was eating steak, chips and baked beans - on sale at another stall for about $10!!

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Very excited that you're blogging, Nikki! Apart from the intolerable heat, Singapore is one of my very favourite food places and I BEG you, on behalf of all eG, to go all out on the gluttony! Six meals a day, if you can help it! Show us everything! :biggrin:

I second that - go all out Nikki !!

If I didn't already have a food trip planned for Vegas, I would offer to fly to Singapore to help lend an extra stomach :laugh:

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Jenni posted about Idlis a while ago so as soon as i saw them i knew i had to try them and they have become a favourite breakfast of mine if i wake up feeling hungry – today i decided to add vadas(mentioned in percyns brilliant blog - finding them became somewhat of an obsession for me)

Nikki,

Glad you were interested in trying the "vada". Actually, there are different types of vadas or fritters. The one you have pictured is a South Indian called a Mendu Vada, which is made from rice and Urad dal.

The Vada shown here is a spicy potato fritter popular in Mumbai and the state of Maharashtra. Both are good but very different flavors and textures.

Enjoying your blog and looking forward to the chili crab post to bring back memories.

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Were you in Singapore during durian season? If so, did you partake? Did the scent seem to follow you everywhere as it wafted from the markets?

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For dinner i went to the Newton Circus Hawker Centre - one of the most famous (and controversial) hawker centres in singapore. It was renovated a few years back and general opinion now seems to be it is too watered down, expensive and touristy. It is still a fun place to go but i have to agree with the critics on this one - it is reknowned for its seafood whioch explains the higher prices somewhat but i was quite surprised at how different the prices were here to other places i prefer. I wasnt really too hungry and just fancied something light so i just had Popiah. Popiah is a Chinese dish of a light, fresh spring roll popular in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. The wrapper is a thin crepe (un fried) and it is filled with egg, jicama, turnip, bean sprouts, lettuce, peanuts and carrots amongst others and it is served drizzled with a sweet soy sauce or hoi sin most commonly. M ine was pretty good - $3.40. To drink i had my first barley water, a drink poplular here and served both hot and cold - i'm not really sure what as i was expecting (Barley + Water doesnt leave much to the imagination) but i was completely underwhelmed. Probably better hotter as a pre bedtime drink like a malt but i think i will stick to something else in future.

Brilliantly and bizarrely the Chinese guy next to me was eating steak, chips and baked beans - on sale at another stall for about $10!!

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OK, Nikki, I gotta ask: What's the Black Spider drink?

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@Hassouni - The Kopi O Kopi C etc are i gather from Google derived from chinese or Malay but they are just listed short hand like that so wouldnt know for sure, i just ask for Kopi and get the right drink so thats all i'm really worried about :wink:

Kopi ordering guide

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Bar Kode looks pretty decent. Have you been to the Tippling Club? I hear good things about that place.

( FYI I also saw adverts stating they wouldn't rent to "Indians or Chinese" which really freaked me out and I refused to view any of them on principle which confused my rental agent no end -speaking to people I am led to believe this is for the aforementioned culinary reasons but still made me incredibly uncomfortable)

Yikes! I can understand curries leaving a lingering smell but what Chinese food does?

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Bar Kode looks pretty decent. Have you been to the Tippling Club? I hear good things about that place.

( FYI I also saw adverts stating they wouldn't rent to "Indians or Chinese" which really freaked me out and I refused to view any of them on principle which confused my rental agent no end -speaking to people I am led to believe this is for the aforementioned culinary reasons but still made me incredibly uncomfortable)

Yikes! I can understand curries leaving a lingering smell but what Chinese food does?

All the smoke from trying to get solid wok hei.....

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