Of Merlions, Fish Balls and the High Life – Singapore EXTREME Tourism Stylez


After the epic, soul-soaring, tummy-pampering that was our dinner at Joel Robuchon, Singapore, its hard to imagine that anything could even come close.  And, to be honest, it didn’t.  We thought about just curling up in foetal balls in our high thread count hotel sheets and rocking back forth with despair that life would never be that good again…but our super expensive hotel sucked so we were forced to leave its four walls in order to not have to deal with the pretentious, ineffectual staff.  But that’s another story and not a particularly interesting one.  So how did we bring ourselves back up to something resembling life again?

Well luckily Singapore has not only super fancy-pants dining establishments but also phenomenal, tasty and probably more famous food at the other total other end of the spectrum – enter the hawker markets!   And what better to do to pull ourselves out of one food related slump, than to do what we do best – eat more!  So to market, to market to find…

Good place to start

a really long queue to stand in!  Seemed like the right thing to do, even if H-J had no idea (a) what lay at the end of it; (b) how to order, given that this particular stand had nothing resembling English or an English speaker; or, (c) whether she could blend in and do what everyone else was doing and somehow end up with something delicious!

IMG_2233As luck would have it, after receiving a number, sitting for a few minutes in gleeful anticipation and watching a cockroach scurry up the wall, a steaming bowl of scrumptiousness duly arrived.

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To this day, we’ve still got really no idea what exactly it was.  Basically, it consisted of a hearty, rich broth, in which floated a variety of different filled and textured fish balls and tofu.  There was some meatiness of the minced variety stuffed into some of the pieces, loads of fresh spring onions on the top and delightful chewy noodles at the bottom.  All in all definitely worth the queueing and the suspense!

Not wanting to leave it at that though (of course), the soupy fishball-stuff was promptly joined by a steamer full of dumplings…

IMG_2231 - Copy a katsu-esque noodle and oyster mushroom arrangement…

IMG_2230 - Copyan exquisite breakfast of black pepper ikan bakar (marinated, charcoal grilled fish) with satay, rice and, of course, roti…

IMG_2220 - Copy some Haianese chicken…

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and a superb, freshly-constructed curry mee asam.

Dan was waiting for this for a long time....pretty good but the one at Cafe 93 still reigns supreme!!!!

With breakfast nicely taken care of (okay, potentially we could count it as brunch, lunch and afternoon tea too!), our moods were better, our food experiences now running the whole gamut of gluttony and it was off to do the touristy stuff.  Now, for all the haters who will shun us for getting sucked into the expensive, super touristy and ‘oh so bland’ and not seeing the ‘real’ Sinagpore – whateves.  We’re doing it anyway, so up to the sky we go!

The FlyerIMG_2241 - CopyThe cabin We'd fit right then!! And now a couple of caribou!  BTW, what on earth was an orang utan doing up on the flyer?!  And then we looked down and saw a couple.  Oh no, wait, they’re not orang utans – that’s just H-J’s parents.leaving the rest behindThe views are pretty decent.IMG_2261We even managed to time our journey for Dan’s favourite time of day, the Golden Hour.  IMG_2268 - Copy IMG_2272 - Copy IMG_2288 - CopyIMG_2291 - Copy IMG_2290 - CopySeeing as night had fallen and we were already being Super Tourists, we decided to stick with the theme and take advantage of the gorgeous setting.
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ow of course it wouldn’t a visit to Singapore without a wee trip to see Mr Merlion.  For those who perhaps have never seen a real life Merlion before (!) tis a wonderous creature – the head of a lion and the body of a fish, its used as a masot as well as the ‘national personification’ of Singapore.  We figure Merlion is to Singapore as Kiwi is to New Zealand.  Or something like that!
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The other impressive icon on the Singapore skyline is, of course, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.  Yes, we thought about staying here but no, we couldn’t justify the expense with two months of India still looming ahead (read: altogether three months of no income, sob sob).  We thought about going up the top to have a no doubt overly expensive drink at a cool bar overlooking the harbour  but meh, given the gorgeousness of our previous night’s dining we knew it simply couldn’t compete.  Marina Bay, we’ll see your interior in our future Rich Person Lives (pending).IMG_2354 - Copy IMG_2337 - Copy Having to slum it at ground level, we opted for the floaty option.IMG_2347 - Copy Singapore on the sea Under the bridgesThe river cruise The river cruise River cruise Then it was off for a quick obligatory trawl through the markets.IMG_2413 - Copy Bugis Street Bugis street Bugis Street Our market sojourn was followed by a quick stalk around the grounds of the famous Raffles Hotel.  Now Dan, being a bartender in a former life, felt he should pay homage to the birthplace of one of the most famous cocktails ever.  We really should have gone in and drunk one of them but meh, we were exhausted and over it by this point.  There is only so much Singapore tourism one can do in a day.  Bartenders travels spot... tick! Home of the Singapore Sling Last stop on our way home was through Little India, which was looking stunning in preparation for the upcoming Diwali celebrations.  In saying that, we flicked our hair over our shoulder, tossed our heads and sniffed, “Pooh!  We will be in REAL India come the morrow – enough with this Little India shit!”.Diwali... looking like it's gonna be pretty epic!!! And with that our time in Singapore concluded and, sadly, also did our time with H-J’s parents.  We parted to await our flight to Delhi while they their flight to New Zealand.  And what’s a little caribou to do to kill some time at an airport between international connections?  Well, eat takeaway Robuchon cake, of course! 

Its just how we roll.  Damn that's a good way to leave SingaporeThanks to Janie and Brian for sharing a wonderful couple of weeks with us as we said goodbye to our home in Korea and explored the culinary (and otherwise) delights of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.  It was a blast!

India, here we come…

Categories: Food, Shopping, Singapore, TravelTags: , , , , , , , ,

29 comments

  1. I loved my short stay in Singapore in 2011. We were only there for 24 hours but it was amazing. Must go back one day.

  2. Still so jealous of all your travels/adventures/food!

  3. The Marina Bay sands was sessioned hard by BASE crew last year. Nice infinity pool at the top.
    You guys love the kai huh!

  4. Hello- I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I nominated your work for the “Blog of the Year 2012 Award!” More info can be found here: http://fictionalmachines.com/2013/01/16/blog-of-the-year-2012-thirteen-final/ Keep up the amazing work & enjoy the day over there! 🙂

  5. Loved Singapore but it´s been a long while now since I was there. And as for the Singapore Slings – don´t bother, sweet and disgusting and of course over priced. Raffles is beautiful though!

    • Yeah had a feeling that might be the case – I don’t mind the ol’ Singapore Sling but could see them being more of an attraction at Raffles than a delicious drink, per se. The hotel itself looks stunning! Had it been more reasonably priced, we would have stayed there. Alas…

  6. there’s no “like” button for your nomination for blog of the year!!! LIKE, LIKE, LIKE

  7. Can hardly read posts like this. Gets so hungry. Wants to travel. 😉

  8. Chinese food is kinda hit or miss for me. Is Singaporean stuff similar?

    By the way, there’s a freaking BOAT on top of those buildings!! Somebody call the freakin POLICE!

    • Chinese food in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia is entirely different to Chinese food in the rest of the world – not so much sticky, weirdly coloured sweet and sour sauces and way more mouth challenging foods. We’ve experienced taste sensations in this part of Asia that we’ve NEVER encountered before, which totally thrilled us! Singaporean food is so ethnically diverse – it pulls on influences from Indonesia, India, China, the Middle East…creating a glorious cacophony of new and interesting foods to try. YUM!

      • Mouth challenging! I like the sound of that!

        I think I’ve got a little soft spot in my heart for ethnically-diverse Singapore. 🙂 Reminds me a little bit of Canada. ❤

  9. p.s. I thought people in Singapore could speak English~~?

    • In Singapore you’ll find there are actually four official languages: English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. So of course you get areas with pockets of people who speak no English. On the whole though, we had absolutely no trouble communicating with people and the standard and breadth of English was excellent!

  10. Welcome to my Sunny Island!!! Awww! I’m so glad you guys are enjoying Singapore! Honestly, I haven’t been back for so long that I’ve yet to explore so much here! It seems like there’s a new mall popping up from every corner! lol. oh and ermm.. I believe your mystery broth is Yong Tau Foo??? Okay, some dishes I recommend if you’re still here: Carrot Cake (NOT the actual American carrot cake, but a stir fry dish found in many “Hawker Centres” / food court), Murtabak (pancakes stuffed with beef / mutton / chicken. Can be found in most Indian Muslim stalls), Roti Prata, Fish Head Curry, Laksa (if you haven’t had it in Malaysia), Hokkien Mee (very different from Malaysia if you had it there) and Prawn Noodles. These are definitely my favourites! Also very affordable when you get them from “Hawker Centres”. Enjoy the rest of your stay here!!! xoxo

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