The Road to Pulau Ubin
I’ve been looking forward to this day all week. Today we’re going to Pulau Ubin Island right off the coast of Singapore. It gives us a chance to get out of the city a bit and see a little old school Southeast Asia. We took the MRT to the Tanah Merah station and got on the #2 bus straight to Changi Village. Changi Village is a great spot with a Hawker center right at the bus stop, a number of streets lined with restaurants and shops, and of course the beach.
We needed some breakfast before we headed to the island, so we grabbed some wanton mee and minced pork noodle at the Changi Village Food Centre. The wanton mee comes dry with the soup on the side. It’s basically dry noodles tossed with a slightly sweet sauce, wantons (we only got 2), char siew and a spattering of veggies. Simple, yet delicious.
After breakfast, we took a bumboat over to Pulau Ubin (that’s the only way to get there) from the Changi Village Ferry Terminal. It cost 3 SGD per person, and there have to be 12 people before the boat will leave. If you’re feeling flush, you can pay the entire 36 SGD to charter the boat over if you don’t want to wait for 12 people to arrive (we did this on the way back). It’s about a 10 minute boat ride over, and I love a boat ride!
On the Island
The island looks like you took a step back to the 1960’s. We rented a couple bikes from the many, many bike shops and cruised down to the Chek Jawa Wetlands, which was beautiful. I haven’t ridden a bike for years and it was a blast! We walked out along the wetlands, and stopped for a cool soda on our way back to town. If you plan on being out for a while, make sure you bring some water as it’s not always readily available.
Time to settle in for some lunch at the Changi Village Food Centre. We got some hor fun at Wing Kee Ipoh Hor Fun, curry puffs and an oyster omelet. The hor fun was the star here, with thick tasty gravy and many different meats (we did not get the chicken cutlet version).
Lets get some Fish Heads!
After our long trip back to the city, we stopped in China Town to get some Bakkwa. Bakkwa is preserved, dried meat, typically prepared with spices, sugar and soy sauce, dried on racks. We tried the pork and beef versions and preferred the pork (the traditional). It was similar to American beef jerky, but far more moist, tender and flavorful, and a touch sweeter.
I had been dying to try some fish head curry, so off we went for dinner at the Banana Leaf Apolo after a short rest and refresh at the hotel.
Fish head curry is one of the most iconic dishes of Singapore, and this is known as one of the best. With both Northern and Southern Indian influence, the curry is served with a whole fish head, with a mix of vegetables and okra. The curry is thick and robust, screaming with flavors. It wasn’t overly spicy, but had a nice kick to it. What’s great about this place is everything is served on a banana leaf and you eat with your hand. What a great excuse to dig in! We got an order of Chana Masala, which was very good as well.
After dinner, we called it a night. What a great but exhausting day! Remember next time – wear more sunscreen!!