Food Journey At Singapore

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I was in Singapore last weekend and I loved it! I had my camera, a pink suitcase that's only 7 pounds heavy, and a stomach ready to take in the food, glorious food. Normally when I travel, I really want to take in the food in the city, so I shun away familiar food stalls that I see in Manila, unless, of course, it's very famous there.

It's actually my first time in Singapore so I was really excited. In my weekend stay there, I really loved the city, on how everything's super clean and organized, not hogging escalator space and everything's always on time. The MRT system is super organized, and they have a very complex train system. Took us I think just half a day to master the whole thing.

Anyway, back to food. We've been doing a lot of walking there, since we take the train going to wherever, so we all need energy. We learned when I got really moody from being hungry on the way to Sentosa so whenever the need arises, I should always EAT. and I mean EAT! No restaurants for us though. Food Court and Hawker-style is the way to go.

Vivo City is a mall that reminded me so much of Eastwood City Mall. It's an MRT station (Harbor Point) and it also houses the monorail going to Sentosa. After a day at Universal Studios, we wanted to just eat somewhere at Clark Quay like a fastfood joint before heading back to the hotel. Thankfully, I saw a food court at Vivo City and I was like, "wait! let's check this place out!"

The Food Republic at Vivo City was super aliw. It was very reminiscent of the streets you see in movies, something like old Chinatown, complete with paper lanterns and decorations.

The food's really cheap too, there's so much to choose from and I admit being overwhelmed especially since that was my first day ever in Singapore. So I settled for this place where I get to choose combo meals, depending on the combo you want. I think a dish that's one meat and two veggies cost like 4.50 dollars. I asked if seafood is also meat, and they said yes. The lady at the counter was kind to tell me what dishes were there, and what was good. I settled for chili prawns, kangkong, and string bean.

I was also glad that we were armed with bottled water because the food I ate was really, really spicy. It was a good thing that I love spicy food. The veggies weren't soggy and the shrimp was really fresh and had the texture I wanted. There were ladies too with carts selling dumpling or teas. I wanted a serving of dumpling but I was full already.

Breakfast was another very familiar place. I think I see this place in Manila, but I'm not quite sure. Anyway, malls weren't open yet save for a few food shops at Funan Digital Mall, which is right next to our hotel. This place looked inviting, and well, I've been solely intrigued with soft boiled eggs.

Ya Kun Kaya Toast had a set meal of toast, soft-boiled eggs, and either coffee or tea. I chose cheese toast since I wanted something filling and seeing Horlicks drink as another option, I had that as well. The cheese toast was yummy and cinnamon-ny, with just the right mix of sweet and salty.

The soft boiled eggs are seasoned first with salt, pepper, and soy sauce before spreading it on top of the toast or eaten on its own. It was really, really yummy and now I know why my pole teachers are crazy about it too. The Horlicks tea tasted like Nesvita instead of Ovaltine, but it was okay. :) At least I was fueled for another day of walking.

Union Square Mall's located at Novena Station, where we had lunch. This is one thing I love about SG - a mall is always connected to a train station and malls are always connected to one another. And each mall has a food court, with the same style. The Union Square food court's smaller but it was okay. Here, I had a big bowl of Yong Tao Foo.

Yong Tao Foo is like a mini shabu-shabu. For 3.50 dollars, you get to choose 7 ingredients of your choice and put it in a bowl - veggies, seafood, sausages, dumplings, whatever you want. If you want more, it's 50 cents additional. Then, they put noodles and cook your choice ingredients in a broth. You have a choice whether to make it plain soup or spicy laksa. There's a special dipping sauce where you can dip your food before eating (it also serves to cool it down). It's such a big bowl, would you believe I finished the whole thing? That's what I mean when I say all that walking makes me hungry.

For dessert, we went to another familiar place. Okay, so I vowed to eat local food right? Cut me some slack, because I missed this place because it permanently left Manila shores:

Baskin Robbins!!!!!!!! It used to be in ATC where the Crocs store is now, I think, back in the 90s. They're no longer in ice cream format here, just hard candy inspired from the ice cream flavors but it's not the same. I need dairy too!

We took a train from Novena Station to Ang Mio Ko to get to Singapore Zoo. We decided to make our way na lang to Orchard Road, after we couldn't figure out the bus changes.

After scouring through Ion Orchard, it's back to the food court for us for merienda. I had two spring rolls for I think 2 dollars.

The Kachang is an ice dessert consisting of jelly, red beans, palm seeds, sweet corn, a cone of ice and then topped with colored syrups and condensed milk. It's similar to our native halo-halo. I first saw the Kachang in Asian Food Network. I thought it was really easy but I found out that it's very difficult to make. You have to form and pack the ice just right because if you pack it too tight, it can be too firm and hard. The shaved ice should just flake off delicately and melt in the mouth along with the syrups and milk. This kachang has ice cream but you can choose to have durian instead if you're a durian fan. Obviously, I'm no durian fan.

During our last night in Singapore, I wanted to have a taste of the famous stingray. Good thing my friend Frances told me there was a hawker place 10 minutes away from Raffles City, in a place called Makansutra Glutton's Bay, which is an outdoor eating place with the great view.

Unfortunately, I had to borrow images for this part since it was drizzling but no rain could stop me from eating stingray, just taking pictures so I had my trusty camera tucked in a waterproof bag and I savored an entire stingray all by myself. They cook it super fast too! Only 5 minutes! Stingray is available for 10, 15, or 20 dollars, depending on what size you order. I fell in love with it at first bite. It's super spicy! Thank god for Jasmine Tea to tone down the spice burn.

My last SG lunch was at Raffles City mall. Raffles City is like the Glorietta counterpart, a mall within Singapore's main business center. You can have dessert or have a fancy meal at the restaurants at the basement or rather, go up to the food court.

I had rice, one veggie dish, and chili squid. :)

If you notice, I haven't posted anything beef or pork though, so feast your eyes on black pepper rice, just letting you know that there's food to eat should you not be allowed seafood.

Of course there are other dishes that SG is famous for - like black pepper crab, cereal prawns, chili crab, and carrot cake (which isn't like the carrot cake with the cream cheese frosting, but deep-fried, like okoy). I wasn't able to try those due to lack of time but will do, if I ever go back to SG. Trust me, I will go back and eat the dishes I fell in love with and more.

For refreshments, I suggest to ditch the soda and go for canned teas or bottled teas that aren't in Manila, a famous brand I saw around is Yeo teas, and I giggle all the time because I get reminded of my good friend Yeoh, because of the name.

My friends told me to try Chrysanthemum Tea. It was the first drink I tasted in Singapore when I got in Changi. It's like a stronger iced tea though, I prefer the Wintermelon or Jasmine Tea (same brand, Yeo).

If only I could take the entire foodie place of SG with me back here, in my little pink suitcase I would. It's a place I learned to love - organized train system, spicy food, and literless roads and all. When I posted our SG pictures, it's all food instead of scenery pictures. But hey, that's when I do when I travel. I have fun, eat, and drink (tea!!!).

Vegetable Pasta

Monday, August 8, 2011

I've contemplated going vegetarian for a long time, but only sushi and seafood stop me from going completely vegan. What I do as a compromise is that I have like some days in a week when I go vegetarian and chuck the meat back on the fridge. It really helped me a lot in my fitness routine since I do home yoga exercises and pole dancing. I still need the energy for me to do my stretches and tricks yet somehow eliminating certain foods and replacing them makes me feel lighter both inside and out.

Going vegetarian is not at all boring. In fact, when I googled vegetarian recipes, I really found a lot - from lunches, desserts (yes! vegan desserts!), sandwiches, pasta, main course, appetizers, stuff like that. So I'm not just stuck to raw veggie sticks and dip. Just go to an Indian restaurant and marvel at how many tasty ways veggies can be prepared.

This recipe to me was shared by my good friend and fellow makeup artist Avy. She knows I like quick, healthy, and easy meals that won't make me starve after a few hours, it's pretty easy and the only thing that will take some time is prepping the veggies.

2 carrots, peeled and sliced into small pieces
one small cauliflower bunch
one small broccoli bunch
sliced mushrooms (on can)
one zucchini, sliced. leave the skin on, it's yummy
lemon juice
penne pasta
seasonings (italian seasoning, rosemary, herbs, anything you like)
olive oil
parmesan cheese
garlic cloves (3-6, depending on your garlicky taste) , crushed

1. Prep all the vegetables. cut the broccoli and cauliflower into florets and blanch them.
2. Line the vegetables in a pan (or the pan you use in the toaster oven. Drizzle some lemon juice and bake in toaster oven for 5 minutes. This is where effort comes, depending on your oven size. I have a tiny oven so I do the baking in batches. Effort!
3. Once the veggies are all baked (they're still firm to bite but tender enough). Heat some olive oil on a pan and sautee garlic for a few minutes until fragrant. Toss in the veggies and add mushroom and squeeze in some more lemon juice so it's tangy and tasty, season as desired. You can make a big batch of this and store some on the fridge.
4. To serve, toss in some penne pasta until mixed well. Serve with parmesan cheese and smoked cheese on the side. Yumm!!!!!!