Brewed Thoughts: Omnom Singapore

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Omnom Singapore

Singaporean hawker center
If there was one thing I did mostly while I was in Singapore last Holy Week, it was about stuffing my face senseless with food. I probably committed a grave offense to the Catholic faith by not fasting on a holy  occasion, but that trip may as well be my last opportunity to go there, so I hope the dude upstairs will let this pass.

A word of advice for the adventurous gourmand: You should pack garterized shorts or pants because you're most likely to gain several pounds. It's so easy to look for a particular food or cuisine in SG, unlike in good 'ol Pinas where you have to traverse seven mountains and swim the deepest ocean to satisfy your craving. When you've got great food within reach, it's very likely that you're going to be gaining calories instead of burning them.

Ironically, there's only one place in SG where you can get Pinoy food...and it's not even authentic. The hawker center at the Marina Bay Sands called Rasapura Masters serves a variety of international cuisine, among which is Filipino food. My sister said their Pinoy food is rather bland and all. I didn't get to sample it myself, though. I mean, it totally defeats the purpose of going there and then end up eating our kind of grub.

My first taste of Singaporean curry.
Thing is, the very first food I sampled in SG was this Singaporean chicken curry at the airport. I didn't get to eat anything during the flight, so I was pretty much ravenous when I got there. My sister took me to Wang's where I ordered this rather spicy curry. It was probably the closest thing to heaven that I tasted on an empty stomach.

Note that objectivity ends when you're being overruled by extreme hunger.

Breakfast of champion
There was this hawker center near my sister's flat where I "officially" sampled some local grub. I ordered lemon chicken and what seemed to me like chopsuey. I had trouble communicating with the woman selling beverages, though. She had this stern look on her face as she asked me a strange question: "wandering?"

I thought the woman must be so inept in the English language that she asked me why I was wandering about the place (I must've looked like a clueless tourist), but when she asked me again, I told her I didn't understand. Then it finally dawned on me that she was probably asking me "one drink?" or "wanna drink?". I ordered their local kopi and walked away.

How's that for a first day blooper?

Coffee or kopi?

Singaporean coffee is unlike any I've ever tasted. It's not the same with the brewed type I'm used to, probably because they use condensed milk as sweetener. I read online that kopi, as they call it, is toasted with sugar & butter and the beans are coated in caramel sugar. This is probably the reason why their coffee has a natural sweet flavor to it even without the sugar. Being such a fan of strong, brewed coffee, I was surprised that I hit it off with Singaporean kopi quite well.

There are different ways to order kopi:

    Kopi: Coffee with condensed milk
    Kopi-O: Coffee without milk and only sugar
    Kopi-C: Coffee with evaporated milk
    Kopi-gau: Coffee (strong brew)
    Kopi-po: Coffee (weak brew)
    Kopi-C-kosong: Coffee with evaporated milk and no sugar
    Kopi-O-kosong: Coffee without sugar or milk
    Kopi-O-kosong-gau: A strong brew of coffee without sugar or milk
    Kopi-bing or Kopi-ice or Kopi-Peng: Coffee with milk, sugar and ice
    Kopi-xiu-dai: Coffee with less sugar
    Kopi-gah-dai: Coffee with extra sweetened milk
    Kopi-Di-Lo: All coffee, no water

I just order the usual "kopi" thing & never bothered trying out all the other variants. I guess I was just too scared to try after that language barrier mishap at the beverage station.

Chinese & Malay grub

Ayam Penyet
What I love about pigging out in Singapore is that it feels like you went around the world and back. While hanging out in Funan Digitalife Mall, my sister treated me to a Malay dish called Ayam Penyet. Sounds funny, but it tasted really good. I'm not sure if it's roasted, but I'm pretty sure it's not fried. It's topped with chicken floss and had this super spicy sauce that would burn your lips off. I'm a big fan of spicy food, but even just a little dollop of the sauce brought the hot to the dish several notches. It was one of those filling meals where I finished a big cup of rice without even flinching.

I forgot the name of this Chinese dimsum D:
I also sampled a Chinese dimsum in the same hawker center. The name escapes me, but I do remember that it tasted pretty ok. It was like eating gyudon with less filling, flavored only by the semi-sweet soy sauce.

Popiah (taken from my sis)
Speaking of Chinese dishes, I also tried out popiah, or the Singaporean version of spring rolls. The filling is made of turnips and bean sprouts, with the same sweet sauce we're used to have. I was pretty much stuffed with just one serving, so I washed it all down with a nice hot cup of teh o.

Cereal prawns
Best. Drink. Ever.
My officemate told me that I had to try out Singapore's cereal prawns, and that's what I stuffed myself senseless in Chinatown. Coupled with Sambal kangkong, I once again finished this ginormous serving of rice. The cereal prawn breading was somewhat spicy and there were hints of sweetness to it as well. I washed down all that heat with this amazing coffee-based drink with ice cream. Oh my God. Just reliving this meal makes me shudder how many pounds I packed on this trip. 

Indian & Arab grub

Hello, Village Curry.
I thought six days was more than enough time to cover a lot of ground when it comes to foodtrip, but I thought wrong. My sister and I made a quick stopover to Little India for some of their local food.

Chapati with subji made of cabbage

, or unleavened flatbread, was my initiation to Indian cuisine. We went to this restaurant called Village Curry that looked more like our local carinderia than anything else. I found myself looking over a display of what looked like viands (ulam) that I thought we were having rice or something. I was quite surprised when the Indian folks handed over our ulam, plus what seemed to me was pita bread.

I later on found out that what I thought was the ulam was actually called subji, or what Indians use as meat or vegetable fillings for the chapati. I forgot the exact names of the subjis we got, but I really liked the spicy menudo-looking variant. It was a good thing I finished the entire thing before I found out it was actually lamb meat (not to worry, lamb tasted like pork. I just don't like finding out what animal I ate as I'm particularly adverse to eating liver, intestine, goat & rabbits for that matter).

Still on the subject of bread, we also pigged out on real pita bread and hummus at a Mediterranean restaurant in Arab Street. Their version of pita was a lot thicker and a lot more filling. I absolutely loved their hot lemon tea that came with this really dainty teapot.

What can I say? Singapore is absolutely the best place to ruin your so-called diet. No wonder my sister takes more photos of her food than herself. There's just a lot of delicious stuff to eat and I don't think I've scratched the surface. One thing's for sure though---I'm definitely coming back, if only for the food.

Other SG-related posts:


  1. Somebody had a great time in Singapore. You deserve it.

    Anubeh, forgive yourself for pigging out no. You're on vacation, dapat lang you overindulge. That's my belief, anyway. Hahaha!

    You'd have to try Swagat's buttered chapati then. Sarap!

  2. ayam penyet is fried chicken. but they smash the chicken.

  3. Lorns, san yung Swagat? San nakakabili ng chapati dito? Parang ang hirap maghanap ng Indian food. Meron akong alam pero sa Makati pa yun at paniguradong mahal.

  4. This is great, Anne! I totally share your sentiments on SG as a place which encapsulates nearly the entire world on plates. I wish to be back one day just to eat Singapore. And, I miss the eat-all-you-can durian stall too for only $10 :D

  5. Panalo 'yung "wandering" LOL!!!

  6. Glad you enjoyed it there.. nakakagutom, as they always say, dont worry about pigging out.. its your vacation.. you deserve it!

  7. Anubeh! Swagat is in Rada Street, Legazpi Village in Makati. Alam ko may iba na silang outlet eh. Sa The Fort ata or Ortigas. Forgot na.

    Naglipana kaya ang New Bombay. Meron sa The Columns, sa Greenbelt 2 at Glorietta. Meron ding Ziggurat sa Makati Ave. Try mong mag-explore ng Makati paminsan-minsan! :))

  8. I'm so happy for you mars, you deserve this vacation. Dapat dalasan mo ang pasyal mo hehehe. :P

    Ayan. Nagugutom ako. Hahaha naunahan nyo pa akong magkaroon ng travel entries. (My memory sucks most of the time) But this entry of yours...can I just take the chapati and that yummy choco shake out of the photo. Pinapagutom mo ako mare. Hahaha!

  9. Btw di lang sa rasapura merong pinoy food. Marami din. Example lucky plaza.

  10. Hi again Anne!

    Can relate with the "wandering."

    I ordered noodles from a hawker stall (I pointed at a picture on their menuboard and read the name) and the person tending it asked something which my brain translated to "try our soup." Apparently she had asked, "dry or soup?"

    the stall at Rasapura Masters which carries Filipino food is called "Gerry's Grill". Food they serve has improved in taste over time according to my brother. So if bland for your sis now...

  11. Nadala na talaga ako sa Singlish dun haha. It's very difficult to communicate with them tapos minsan sila pa yung naiinis. Hahaha! But there are times na nag-English ako tapos bigla akong tinagalog ng saleslady. Now that's surprising.