Singapore Series: Hawkers and Chijmes

There was simply one objective for this trip: to stuff ourselves silly with the best dishes that Singapore has to offer. During our three days there, that was exactly what we did. Hence, in my succeeding posts, allow me to share with everyone my first taste of authentic Singaporean cuisine.

Stop #1: Hawkers’ Markets 

Hawkers abound in Singapore, especially near residential areas or HDBs (apartment complexes provided by Singapore’s Housing and Development Board). Near my cousin Andy’s flat, an entire space is dedicated for various shops selling different kinds of wares that residents might need. Such places are best known for delicious yet inexpensive meals.

On my first night there, after a brief stop at my cousin’s place, we immediately went to a nearby Indian store for a light supper. There, my aunt and I got our first taste of roti prata. It’s unleavened flour mixed with water and cooked over a griddle (similar to a pancake). One may have the option to mix an egg with the batter. This is usually accompanied by a curry dip and some sugar. I had mutton curry for my dip, while Andy had some fish curry.

To eat this, I had to tear a piece of the roti prata, dip it into the curry, then roll it on a plateful of sugar. To be honest, this was my least favorite meal. The prata was chewy so it felt like I was nibbling on rubbery bread. Haha. The curry was good, though, and the sugar was an unexpected addition. 🙂

The next day, we had Singapore’s famous Laksa for breakfast. My aunt is a fan of it and after my first bowl, I completely understood why. For those unfamiliar with the dish, it’s noodles in chili coconut milk soup. It has various things that go with it like shrimps, clams, tofu, fish cakes, and eggs. The sweetness of the coconut milk, the freshness of the seafood, plus the spiciness of the chili burns a delightfully memorable path along one’s mouth. I’m craving for it even as I write this.

Stop 2: Chijmes at Victoria Street

My old roommate Trish suggested that we have dinner at Chijmes when I told her that I was dropping by Singapore. The thing that interests me most about this place is the fact that it was once a convent. In addition to a Gothic church, there’s a courtyard and several hallowed corridors and rooms that are reminiscent of what it once was.

Today, this complex houses a number of bars and restaurants, with a makeshift open-air amphitheater for events and parties. This, I think, is an amusing and ironic about-turn from its convent days.(Trish and I looking like kids. The Singapore air and water made my hair puffier and frizzier than usual)

At Trish’s recommendation, we ate at La Cave, which serves Thai cuisine. A curious thing we noticed about Singaporean restaurants is that they don’t serve house water or hand out tissues. This, I guess, is to encourage guests to purchase these items.(Pretty La Cave menu)

Since Trish swore by the pineapple rice, that was what we all got. There was what I assumed to be pork flakes shavings on top, shrimps, raisins, cucumber, and of course, pineapple. I found the meal to be unusual but I must agree that the pineapple worked with the rice. The serving was really huge so it was a filling meal. I couldn’t even finish it. 🙂

For more information about Chijmes, please visit their website: http://www.chijmes.com.sg/

Of course, this is not the end of our food adventure, but I shall leave the rest for tomorrow. Otherwise, this is going to be one ugly and lengthy post. It’s long enough as it is.

Have a great day, everyone! Feel free to comment. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Singapore Series: Hawkers and Chijmes

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