*Spontaneous*… probably not a word people would associate me with often. I like to think I’m bright and fun, but really, spontaneous is a stretch. Normally, the finicky lawyer in me rears its ugly head, causing me to slow down and think things through before making grand decisions.
But, I recently threw caution to the wind and took a trip to Singapore, a day after deciding I was going! Who knew you could travel overseas at a whim? Not me! But, it turns out that if the wind is blowing the right way and luck is on your side, you absolutely can. My husband was sent to Singapore at late notice for work and I was able to follow him. These opportunities don’t come up often in life, and I’m proud of myself for grabbing this one.
We had an amazing time and I loved Singapore – mostly for the food and drinks (no surprises there).
I’ve had a long-time love for Gin. There is nothing better on a Queensland day than a G & T in the sunshine. And in Canberra, there is nothing better than a G & T in the warmer months, or.. when sitting in heating.
So, I was fairly excited to find the Tongkang Colonial Bar, which specialises in Gin cocktails, nearby our hotel. The boat on the right was the bar, the boat on the left was the restaurant.
After making this discovery in the day time, we returned after dark for some pre-dinner drinks.
I had never had a Singapore Sling before. Which is astonishing because it has a lot of my favorite things in it: Gin, Cherry Brandy, Cointreau, pineapple juice, Benedictine, lime juice and bitters.
The Singapore Sling was delicious and the view was great. But, this isn’t a place for those who get motion sickness. I tried to convince my husband we were dry docked, but despite my best efforts, we only got one drink in at this great bar in the Clarke Quay district.
The next day we went on a walking tour in Little India – a place full of colour and the smell of amazing spices roasting.
The stores selling offerings for the Hindu temple were bright, colourful and interesting. I must admit, I’d never before seen cow urine for sale.
Walking through the Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple was an amazing experience.
The Temple was bold and full of life, but at the same time it was peaceful. I’ve always been fascinated by Hindu Temples. The absence of aggressive teeth-bearing monkeys made this temple visit much calmer than the visit we did to the Sri Subramanian Hindu Temple at Batu Caves, out of Kuala Lumpur last year.
Whilst strolling through Little India we saw amazing displays of cultural food history. These guys looked like they’d been making naan forever. The skill it takes to be this authentic and true to culture is something I don’t think I could ever master. It looks like it’s something your born with.
We then visited a spice grinding house. This was a big eye opener. In fact, it was a bit of a big sinus opener all round! The smell of the place was near toxic in its intensity. No OH&S masks here…
This dried chilli was a killer!
The hawker centre, or food court, near the hotel was amazing. It was super clean, full of amazing food and dirt cheap! I watched a lady, whose every wrinkle told a story, make us the most spectacular prawn dumplings from scratch.
She poured some sort of rice noodle type liquid onto some type of steaming tray, placed prawns along one edge and covered it in a muslin cloth.
Then, a few moments later, once steamed, she carefully removed the cloth and flip rolled the entire thing into a neat package.
Topped with a delicious soy and vinegar sauce, some fried shallots and, of course, some chilli, this dish was ready in seconds.
It made me wonder why you can only ever get soggy, greasy and tasteless excuses for a dim sim in Australian food courts!
This window was always bound to draw me in. Yes, there were duck heads… just hanging about there.
My roast duck dinner, complete with sides of greens, rice and a chicken soup cost the equivalent of about $3.50AUD.
The last thing that I really wanted to show you, was the Singapore Crab we gorged ourselves on. Sitting right on the beautiful river, covered in plastic bibs which resembled garbage bags, we dunked our mantou bread in and ate like a king and queen… well, a very messy king and queen. I must say, I was very grateful for the garbage bag looking bibs because I lost a great big claw in my lap early on!
Don’t think that I’ve forgotten to tell you about my amazing cooking class with Ruqxana at Cookery Magic. I haven’t. But I do think this post is long enough for now.
I learnt to make Satay Chicken and Laksa from first principles. When we made them during the class, they came out looking like this:
And tasting delicious. Before I share the recipes with you, I want to make sure that I’ve actually perfected them myself. So, I’ll be remaking them each shortly and posting back here to share my new skills with you.
This trip added a bit of excess luggage to my booty… but it tasted good!