Patisserie items - Tiong Bahru Bakery Singapore
It's been a while between posts, but our little break brings many new exciting delights to share from our recent Singapore adventures: Michelin stars, Singaporean foodie traditions and hidden gems all wrapped up in one (two posts)!
A few weeks ago my husband and I took a little break and headed over to Singapore for 12 days. It was a longer stay than the usual ‘stop over’ requirement which many of us have done on our way ‘elseware’. We thought it was time to get stuck right in and give this place a well deserved look as after all, who doesn’t want to eat a Michelin starred plate of food at a cost of just $2.00!!!
I'll set the scene with our holiday hit list. We required a foodie adventure, a plane trip which required passports (no more than around 8'ish hours flying), warm weather and some moments to lay flat and chill with possibly a cocktail/beer in hand, by a beach or pool. Yep we had a few requirements but Singapore it was and indeed it ticked the box for all these and more.
Crazy Rich Asians (the movie and more!)
Ferrari Shop and floating gondola rides at The Shoppes, Marina Bay Sands
Some of the 'manufactured' sights of Singapore maybe somewhat kitsch to some but for us we just lapped it all up, because why not, that's what holidays are for!
We saw a gondola floating out the front of the Ferrari shop in The Shoppes, the high end shopping precinct attached to Marina Bay Sands. You know, the 3 hotel towers with the 'boat' on top and the worlds most famous infinity pool, which looks like people could just slide off the side from it's 57th floor!
The ArtScience Museum in front of The Shoppes and Marina Bay Sands
Then there was the salmon coloured, mirrored Lamborghini, clearly the most fancy of the probably dozen we saw each day cruising about.
Lamborghini on Orchard Road Singapore
Not forgetting the 1000 odd Gin varieties in the Atlas Bar's collection, with a 1910 Vintage Martini on the menu for a mere $250 a glass (more on that later)! One of the most elaborate bars I have ever seen.
Atlas Bar at the Parkview
All perfectly timed for the viewing of the new Crazy Rich Asian's movie which was set in Singapore, and was just released to the cinema's when we arrived. Certainly a light hearted nod to some of the moments we witnessed during our stay.
It has just opened at my local Glenbrook Cinema and will run until 24 Oct.
The Gardens by the Bay
Speaking of highly manufactured, Gardens of the Bay certainly deserves it's own little moment here. It was definitely well worth a visit, if not just to get some lovely cool air as you stroll among the many flawless specimens. Among the carefully planned greenery, there was an ancient sprawling olive tree which was over 1000 years old, housed in the worlds largest conservatorium, the Flower Dome. Then there was the lavish misty waterfall in the Cloud Forest dome complete with walkway which began at the top of the man-made mountain and twisted it's way around and through the dense greenery to the forest floor. Both areas were actually quite a surprise, we really enjoyed the experience.
Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay
For a pitstop before leaving the Gardens by the Bay area, be sure to take the lift to the top of one of the big steel trees in Supertree Grove and stroll along the suspended OCBC Skyway for a wonderful view of the gardens and over to Marina Bay Sands. Finish with a lye down on the grass below as you experience the carefully timed light and sound show 'Garden Rhapsody', which lights up the trees daily.
Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay
Cheapest Michelin starred meal on the planet!
Michelin starred Liao Fan Hawker Chan stall, Chinatown
Some of the cheapest and best food I have ever had is in the Hawkers centres in Singapore. Hawker centres are complexes which sell cooked food which are generally very cheap (from around $1.25 and up per serving) but are welcoming to every demographic from the local budget conscious to the high-flyer business executive. Now due to Singapore's health regulations, you can be assured your $2.00 plate of fried noodles will be top notch!
Singapore even has two Michelin starred Hawker stalls, Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle and Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle (Liao Fan Hawker Chan), the latter famed to have the cheapest Michelin starred meal on the planet - Soya Sauce Chicken and Rice for just $2! Get there early'ish as the wait at busy times, can take more than to 2 hours, longer than it will take to eat your meal
Ahhh the traditions
There are lots of traditional dishes in Singapore as they are so focussed on passing on family recipes, some of which have been handed down for over a century or more and often still from the same location (although maybe with a skyscraper built above). We found a lovely little Food Court/Hawker Centre in the bottom of Tangs Department store on Orchard Road. They had a stack of local traditional dishes covered off in their small collection of stalls, and they were some of the best examples we came across. Here's a few you should give a try on your visit (prob should add, they taste a lot better than some of them look!) -
'Popiah' from Queenstown Traditional Popiah - a large crepe styled roll, freshly made and filled with stir fried, julienned turnip and carrot, beansprouts, some tiny fried prawns, bean sauce, sometimes lap cheung sausage, egg and chilli. $3.50 (double yum)
'Chwee Kueh' from Tiong Bahru Chwee Kueh - little steamed rice flour cakes topped with hot preserved radish and chilli sauce. $2.00 (yum)
'Amy Yip Big Pau' from JB Traditional Handmade Pau - this huge version of a steamed pork bun was more like eating a hamburger than a pork bun and certainly a meal in itself. On my second visit to this shop, the customer next to me chuckled weirdly in conjunction with the server as I asked for the 'huge' bun. I asked what they were laughing about and he told me it was named after Hong Kong movie star 'Amy Yip' from the 1980's who just happened to have very large breasts! Probably made it worse when I posed for a shot as I ate it... lol $4.00 (double yum)
'Chendol' from Famous Penang Road Chendol - have to say certainly not a fave but you do have to try these things. It's a sweet dessert with shaved ice, green pandan jelly 'worms', palm sugar syrup and coconut milk, topped with sweetened red beans (yep red beans!). $2.50 (not rushing back)
The 'in-between' traditions
Emerald Hill Road
We found a quaint little road tucked in-between the sprawling shopping malls of Orchard Road. This tiny strip of old-meets-new, houses a neat little bar precinct. Black Nut was a favourite but for people watching, No.5 Emerald Hill should see you well into the night. Be sure to bring your wallet if you want to drink in Singapore though, as alcohol is no cheap!
Established in Singapore in 2008, this luxury TWG Tea brand was created to celebrate the year 1837, which is when the island became a trading post for teas, spices and fine epicurean products. Today you will find a number of very beautiful outlets scattered around the world, including this stunning tea room below which is located in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. So pretty when viewed from the floors above! The tea is simply divine and after trying to choose from the zillion types on offer, I returned home with a delicious Indian blend of spicy Black Chai, just perfect for a lazy afternoon tea.
The 'not-so' traditions
The not so traditional's were the almond croissants at Tiong Bahru Bakery (ok, and the patisserie items too!). It was our regular morning stop for great coffee and pastries, and their outlet in the bottom of Tangs on Orchard Road was maybe a little too close for comfort. We miss you!
Ice Cream Sandwich Street Vendors
Street food at it's best. There are still a few little umbrellaed street carts scattered around town and now selling these fabulous little creations. For $1.20, choose an ice-cream flavour of your liking, they'll cut it from a larger block once you've ordered, and sandwich it between wafers or as we loved to eat it, jammed into a large slab of 'rainbow' bread! Sounds weird, it was, but so wonderful indeed we couldn't get enough of them!
Still so much to share There is so much to share, I thought I would let you take a breath and I'll come back to you soon with my final Singapore instalment. So many delights so little time, but you need time to digest!
Coming up next I'll be bringing you our very fancy 'Afternoon Tea' adventure at the Ritz-Carlton, I'll walk you though some of Singapore's cultural neighbourhoods (and of course their foodie bit's) and will share the name of a Hawker Centre stall who pipped Gordon Ramsay at the post, in a cooking competition. This and more in my next instalment.
Until then, enjoy this soothing weather!
LOVE YOUR FOOD MOMENTS... ENYOY!