Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Singapore Trip: The Food

The apartment where we stayed was also, conveniently, walking distance to lots of great hawker stands.  Singapore is known for its hawker centers (street food stands moved inside for cleanliness purposes), which serve up a mix of different foods from different cultures, plus some dishes native to Singapore itself.  People in Singapore are obsessed with food and everybody has strong opinions about the best place to their favorite dish.  

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, where the people like to wear striped shirts, apparently.

We hit up one of the most well-known hawker centers, the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, where we tried out, among other things, the famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice, a super simple but fragrant and delicious dish, the in-high-demand porridge at Zhen Zhen porridge (the line was about 45 minutes long for this breakfast treat of rice porridge, eggs, and a zillion different toppings), and amazing fresh-squeezed fresh fruit juices (Tim had sugarcane and dragonfruit, I had apple/carrot/ginger).
Tian Tian chicken rice with chili sauce and porky fried noodles.
Lots and lots of chickens hanging in the window.
Mmmm... porridge.
We also hit up a nearby 24-hour Muslim food court right by the apartment for some crispy, chewy roti and silky, rich curry (goat and chicken... mmmm).

 The following day we treated ourselves to a Singaporean dish, fish head curry, at Muthu's in Little India.  Served alongside some other other Indian favorites (paneer and peas, spicy goat, naan) on banana leaf plates.  So good...
Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads.
Digging in; eating off banana leaf plates.
Finally, we took a mini-road trip to the East Coast Seafood Centre, right on the water in view of hundreds of ships heading to and from Singapore's massive port.  
Hundreds of boats floating out behind Mr. Ben and Mr. Ben's wife.
Tim, pretending to be a crab.
We ordered the chilli crab at Jumbo Seafood.  

Singaporean chilli crab is quite easily the messiest dish I've ever eaten: quartered jumbo crabs floating in a chilli-laden tomato and egg sauce that you eat using an ineffectual combination of lobster crackers, chopsticks, tiny seafood forks and your hands to pull out the tender crab, then sop up the sauce with tiny steamed and/or fried buns. 

Bibs required.
 It makes Maryland-style crabs look neat and dainty.

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