In Singapore, day 3: Makansutra Gluttons Bay
So much traveling, flying, walking, sitting and time zone changes make your body ache, so some exercise is absolutely necessary. In my case, I try to book hotels with swimming pool, so I can swim. In the case of Singapore, given the year round mild climate, I felt like swimming in the outdoors swimming pool to start my third day.
I spent most of the day working, meeting with potential customers. But I had reserved the best for last.
My wife, who by the way was back from her weekend in the Caribbean (I’m not the only one who works hard and “has to endure” tough trips), had sent me this article about Singapore’s street food hawker centers. Although long, it is completely worth reading:
So I decided I had to try those. And I went straight to the most famous one: Makansutra Gluttons Bay. Awesome!
In a corner by the Esplanade Theaters and Mall, there is a small stretch with a dozen street food vendors and tables. Do not expect luxury: the trays, plates and silverware are made of plastic, the tables, many of them “comunal”, and chairs are of the most basic variety, and you even have to ask for paper napkins. Do not expect crowd sophistication: a mix of, ay 75% locals and 25% tourists, in jeans and t-shirts. But, we were all there for one thing only: the food. And food they serve you. Incredibly delicious and exquisite food.
While the prices are not dirt cheap, most dishes are a few dollars, so anyone can enjoy a feast. But the key is the variety and gourmet level of the food. I had a seriously hard time choosing, even taking into account that I do not like spicy food, which rules out roughly half of the offering. Still, here is what I had, after much walking up and down, and asking questions:
- From the Gluttons Bar: coconut and lime juice first, then barley lime.
- From Old Satay Club: Indian veal crepes (instead of their famous Mee Goreng). Very tender, soft and delicate, with a rich and creamy sauce that apparently they cook for 8 hours with a mix of many spices. Finger-licking good.
- From Huat Huat: White Carrot Cake (instead of their signature 10 hour BBQ Chicken Wings). It was neither white (rather yellow), nor carrot (it had eggs, spices, seafood, and many other things, but no carrot), nor cake (more like a fancy omelette). But delicious nonetheless.
- From Thai Yummy Food: lobster balls, and mango green sticky rice with coconut cream. Sweet and surprisingly rich and delicious.
- From the Sweet Spot: I had to, I must have a duran dessert. So I did. Even although it was covered in ice-cream, with chunks of mango and jelly, the incredibly strong odor of the duran was very obtrusively in your face. While the texture is very tender, the flavor is not mild either. As a matter of fact, I had to endure the aftertaste for over two days! But, mission accomplished.
With my stomach recklessly full, and my taste buds totally excited, I returned to the hotel taking a nice long walk, and admitting that Singapore’s fame as a foodie paradise is very well deserved.
One more food surprise was waiting for me at the last minute: the day of my departure, the flight was SO early that the hotel did not have the breakfast buffet open yet, so I decided to take a quick bite at the airport. Since most places were closed at the airport’s food stall, I had no choice but to go to Hong Kong Sheng Kee Dessert. Lucky me! I had wonderful buns (one filled with “sweet yolk” and the other one with black sesame “mud”) and an osmantius and aloevera drink. The perfect way to end an amazing trip.
Since I might return for my business, here are some places and things to do to keep in mind:
Singapore’s colonial heritage at and around the grassy Padang (an open field in the heart of downtown), starting from Raffles Hotel and ending up at nearby Boat Quay or Clifford Pier; an after-dark stroll through Club Street; a walk down Little India’s Serangoon Road and Mustafa Centre; perusing hip shops and cafes along Arab Street; visiting some flea market (like Zouk flea & easy, Flea Fly Flo Fun, or MAAO Marketlive); jazz at Harry’s; live blues at the Crazy Elephant; all night beach parties on Sentosa Island (if I go with my wife); eating black pepper crabs at the East Coast Seafood Centre; juicy Kobe steaks at CUT by Wolfgang Puck; sushi at Shinji by Kanesaka; exquisite Chinese fare at Summer Pavilion Restaurant; an Indian feast at Rang Mahal; dining in a classic black-and-white colonial bungalow at P.S. Cafe at Harding Road; and of course, more outdoor hawker centers!