Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Experiencing Exotic Asian Cuisine... and some Sightseeing!

Today was another fabulous day in Singapore. It is a little strange that this country has impressed me to such an extent that I am more than ready to call this place home – for twelve months at least. Knowing that I may only be here for twelve months makes a number of things far more tolerable – like the ever present humidity, the fact that Singapore really is quite a small city.. and of course the interesting local cuisine.

Tonight I decided that I would be a “local” and go and eat in one of the “hawker centres”. That is another name for “food court” (people in Singapore generally do not cook food at home because the “food courts” are far cheaper).

I accepted the fact that life in Singapore for me would not be all about the marble and gold plated existence that is The Fullerton Hotel. So I bypassed the hotel, determined that I would go in and sit amongst the “locals” and eat like a normal human being at normal human being prices (ie. $10 instead of $50!).

I venture into the “hawker centre” ready for my laksa or dim sum or noodle soup. I first come across a fresh fruit juice shop, so in order to ‘ease’ my way into the experience, I bought myself a strawberry and mango fruit juice. I made my first successful Asian food purchase and I was riding high with confidence. I move onto the next stall and I find that there are a real lack of descriptive menus available. Most of it was in Chinese, and many of it involved short words like Hon Sau something, and Dim Toe soup. I recognized “vegetable oyster sauce” and I pointed at that, thinking I was finally entering the world of exotic asian cuisine. Three Singapore dollars later (bargain!)….. and I had a styrophome box of green slush with watery brown sauce. Not exactly exotic and not exactly cuisine. I took a deep breath and realised that this was the way I was needing to eat over the next 12 months if I was to live “like a local”. So I gritted my teeth, looked around for a plastic seat/plastic table setting in amongst the locals and mentally prepared myself for what was to be my dinner.

I was walking towards my designated eating spot when I saw a big sign for another hawker stall…..


My stomach flipped, I dumped my green-slush-vegetable dish in the bin, hurried back to the Fullerton Hotel, up to my room, dialed #3 for inroom dining and requested their best Thai Beef Salad on the menu!!

It looks like its going to take me a little while before I am going to be able to be “truly local”.

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