Singapore Trip Report - Thank you!
I wanted to thank my fellow Chowhounders for all the information and input. I was disappointed at myself as I just did not have the stomach capacity to complete my list of things to try and was too jet-lagged to drag myself out one evening. Below is a list of places i went to with some comments.
Nasi Lemak @ Selera (Adams Road) - My first meal in Singapore and it was a great way to start. I really enjoyed the light coconut flavor of the rice as well as the sambal which is very different from the jarred ones I buy in the states. If someone can enlighten me on what the item that comes steamed and wrapped in what I think is a banana leaf? It was delicious.
Lunch at Au Jardin after a morning stroll in the Orchid Garden - Both great experiences.
Chili Crab @ Palm Beach - Very good. My newly married wife and I sopped up all the sauce with the fried montau and rice. My only complaint is that they placed a small dish of fried fish and a dish of pickled veggies when we sat down. Thought they were service but when the bill came they charged us for it. WTH? Is this common practice?
Tian Tian Chicken Rice @ Maxwell - Loved the chicken soup they give you with the food. The combination of sweet soy and chilis with the rice and chicken was fantastic. For about $3.00 USD thought it was amazing value. I got there around 10:30 AM to avoid any lines. What I should have been worried about was the heat. It was so hot in the center I was dripping in sweat while dining. How do you guys manage? Also had white carrot cake from the stall right across from Tian Tian. It was interesting since I had no expectations of what it would taste like.
Iggys - uhm yea...thought they cooked the ingredients well but the dishes were a bit bland and in need of salt. Except for the foie gras chawanmushi. Impeccable.
Paradise Dynasty - I tried to go to Taste Paradise after reading Klyeoh's post but was late and missed their lunch dim sum. So went next door to Paradise Dynasty and had their 8 different varieties of soup dumplings. My favorite might've been the szechuan version.
Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin @ Ion Orchard - The katsu was so-so. The curry was great. This wasn't on any list of must try but there just isn't any place in D.C. and I missed good katsu from my visits to Kyoto.
Also popped into Takashimaya and got some chicken skin at Tori Q as well as Sapporo Petit Doughnut's Custard donuts.
I thoroughly enjoyed my short time in Singapore and left wanting to come back for round 2. Really regret not getting fish head curry and some Indian but it will have to wait until next time. Thanks everyone!!
Great follow-up post, thanks. I'm long overdue for a trip to Singapore and reading this is killing me.
Re: "My only complaint is that they placed a small dish of fried fish and a dish of pickled veggies when we sat down. Thought they were service but when the bill came they charged us for it. WTH?"
I'm totally with you on this one. Here in HK there are a few places that do this (eg. Shui Hu Ju in Soho). It really annoys me because it would take nothing for them to say "we've pre-ordered you something to start" and from the onset you'd know you were paying for it. Put simply - it's underhand and unnecessary - they're taking the piss. I don't mind paying for it, it's not the money, just don't make it look complimentary when it's not. For me, it leaves a bad feeling at the end - like we're all suckers. In fact, my wife would always send it back to the kitchen as a matter of principle.
Having said this, you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, I'll still go try Chili Crab @ Palm Beach on CH recommendation but glad I'm pre-warned.
There are a lot of things which we seemed to have taken for granted here in Singapore - for e.g. these chargeable extras. They don't stop at pickles or nuts, but can also include wet towelettes or tea. What we normally do is to ask them if these are chargeable items and tell them to remove them if they are - it's a pretty acceptable practice here.
i never knew that changable extras is not standard in chinese restaurants elsewhere (i usually don't really look through the bill when i pay, and i seldom foot the bill when i am eating overseas). i just assumed that this is what happens in all chinese restaurants around the world.
yes; usually i will ask the waiter to remove the peanuts, and tea. i do use (and pay for) the wet tissues though.
Thanks for reporting back, shake N baik. Glad to see that you've managed to have some typical Singapore culinary experiences - e.g. nasi lemak at Adam Road, chilli crab at Palm Beach, Maxwell Road food centre meals, etc. These are every day dining options for the Singaporean man-in-the-street, so they afforded you a glimpse into how we live here.
The heat/humidity at Maxwell Road Food Centre - well, I guess there is a reason why I only go there 1-2 times a year :-D Mind you - you also happened to come at the hottest, most uncomfortable time of the year at the moment, where temperatures go up to 38 deg C (100 deg F). Not that Singapore will ever get to be as cool & dry as cities in temperate countries, but we do get some respite from the current heatwave when the monsoon rains come.
I wonder what happened to Ginza Bairin? I remembered that the tonkatsu was not bad, althought I didn't like the cramped seating much. My fave spot for tonkatsu in Singapore is Tonkichi's outlet in Shaw House (Isetan).
Well, I hope you'll come back to Singapore again soon. We may not have the best street foods in South-East Asia (the honor for that is probably a toss-up between Penang, Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City), but we do have some things which are really, really good in this region:
- Chilli crabs
- Kaya toasts & kopi-C
- Hainanese chicken rice
- Katong laksa (unique)
- fried carrot cake
- some of the best HK-style dim sum and congee outside of HK itself.
Next time you're back - do try the murtabak at Zam Zam, briyani at Islamic restaurant, Malay nasi padang at Hajah Maimunah, thosai at Komala Vilas, bak kut teh at Founder, and visit some food centres like Old Airport Road or Chomp Chomp.