Monday, November 10, 2008

November 9, 2008 - Singapore

Singapore's streets used to be lined with hawkers selling all manner of food from their stalls and carts. As part of the city's cleanliness campaign, the carts and stalls have almost all been consolidated in hawker centers. We haven't yet made it to one of the hawker centers, but every one of Singapore's heavily air conditioned malls boasts a foodcourt on the lowest or highest floor. The Vivo Center, where we catch the free shuttle out to the marina, has two huge food courts. Each time we pass through the Vivo Center on our way to the subway we have to stop and grab a snack. We've tried bao (steamed dumplings stuffed with pork and chicken), scallion pancakes with a head-on prawn square in the center, fried dough sticks, fried dumplings with red bean paste, little Chinese desert rolls stuffed with some kind of fruit paste, tako tako (Japanese balls filled with prawns, corn and peas cooked in a pancake batter), Japanese desert pancakes filled with red bean, and oodles of noodle dishes. The sheer variety of food here is overwhelming, but we're doing our best to sample as much of it as possible.

The one kind of hawker cart that is still allowed to roam free are the ice cream sandwich carts. For a dollar, these guys will slice off an inch thick wedge of the ice cream flavor of your choice and wrap it in a piece of green and pink bread. If ice cream and bread wasn't a strange enough combination, we decided to make it even weirder by choosing durian ice cream. Durian is a stinky, creamy fruit with the most complex flavor of any fruit around. Our apples and pears supposedly have nothing on the durian. Unfortunately, the nose on this thing is so foul that it is hard for westerners to get Durian past our honkers and into our traps. We really want to try this king of fruits, so we're working our way up to the real deal. We started with durian candy in Indo, and now we've had the ice cream. Glenn and Karen have offered to take us to their local durian shop for dessert on Thursday night. We'll see if our palates are up to the challenge.

To balance all this good eating, we needed to get some exercise. Walking outside is challenging because it has been so hot and humid these past few days. So we've been exploring the air conditioned malls along Orchard Road. Every luxury brand imaginable is contained inside these malls. Some of the malls are similar to your run of the mill mall in the States, but several are more on par with the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Copley Place in Boston, or the Forum Shops at Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas. I particularly enjoyed exploring the Takashimaya department store, which carries bag and shoe brands that I've never seen before.

1 comment:

mikkiel said...

Thanks for your informative post. Others might want to check out this singapore shopping directory for details. Great range of shopping outlets to visit.