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Retrospective - Singapore 2020 - Part 1

Updated: Feb 6

This is a retrospective post, mainly for content. This post was culled together by my mostly cloudy memory.

Ever since I saw Anthony Bourdain suck bone marrow at a hawker stall in Singapore on "A Cook's Tour", I always have been fascinated with Singapore. It was a culinary haven, with a melting pot of different cultures. Although it is a expensive city, you can eat very cheap if you stick with the hawker stalls, which is an area with street food stalls, some with over a hundred, where they sell their specialized dishes. The stalls are regulated to ensure they are up to health code. They are all very cheap, with a handful having earned a Michelin Star. The country itself is pretty interesting, as there are some aspects where they are ahead of their time. Some of the building and architectures are downright fascinating (The Jewel, Marina Bay Sands, etc). It is a very clean city. The MRT is very efficient. English is the main language. It is mostly a tourist-friendly place. I say mostly because it's one of the most expensive places in the world. One of the main downsides with Singapore is that it is always hot and humid, since it's near the Equator. But that shoud not deter your from visiting, if you love food.

On January of 2020, I finally pulled the trigger. This had nothing to do with "Crazy Rich Asians" :D

Getting to Singapore is pretty much a all day (24 hour) event. The flight consisted of a 12 hour flight from San Diego to Tokyo via American Airline with about a 3 hour layover. The second flight was about a 6 hour flight from Tokyo to Singapore. Since it was a long haul flight, I opted for Premium Economy seats, and it was worth it. Seats are so much bigger since it's a 2-3-2 configuration, reclines better, and you're in a special section with more dedicated overhead space. You get a swag bag with special noise cancelling headphones, lotion, eye mask, and other stuff. The meals were probably better than regular Economy

I arrived at Chiangi Airport around 2am. I had a reservation at the Airport Hotel called Yotel for a few hours since mysteriously real hotel couldn't take early Check In's. My plan was to spend time at all the Chiangi Airport attractions since they had alot of thing open 24 hours (like a movie theater) and it was one of the best airports in the world. Problem was that i left Immigration and the actual airport area and didn't think I could go back in. Please the Jewel side (which is like a big shopping mall with the giant waterfall) was not open. Even worse was the waterfall was under maintenance for a couple of weeks and not running. So I was in a bit of a limbo for a few hours. But I did find a food stall that was open at the early morning and got my first bit of Singaporean food, which hit the spot. I eventually checked into the airport hotel, which looked like a porn set with the purple lights. Slept for a few hours then got some Kaya Toast and some Roast Chicken

Later that night, I went to a nice buffet. Mikey Chen from Strictly Dumpling showcased this buffet. It was pretty high end. Lots of lobster and shell fish. The best thing was the grilling station. You pick out the meats from a glass display and they grill it order. And of course, lots of desserts.

Mikey does a better job of highlighting the buffet.

My hotel was near Chinatown, so the next day, I decided started with more Kaya Toast for breakfast, but this time with iced kopi. For the uninitiated, Kaya Toast has coconut jam with a big slab of butter. It's served with soft eggs. How you eat it is you put dark soy and white pepper on the eggs, stir it up, then dunk the toast into it. It is strange but fabulous. The ice coffee, pronouced kopi, is very strong and wonderful.

Then off to the Maxwell Hawker Center. This one is one of the more well-known ones. It has one of the most famous Hainanese Chicken Rice stalls as it was featured on Anthony Bourdain's show. So there's usually a line. It was good but I wasn't completely blown away by it. Other items sampled were prati, carrot cake and sugar cane juice. The carrot cake is not a cake nor has carrots. It's radishes and egg with dark soy-type sauce. It was realy good. The sugar cane juice hit the spots. Usually the stall don't sell drinks so you have to get drinks at a state ill that only sell drinks.

The streets of Chinatown are pretty bustling, as with most othe ChinaTowns. Hundreds of full size restaurants, shops, and farmer's market type stalls. Some exotic stuff, including Durian, for which I didn't try.

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