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Starting Off the Last Day
Well, it's about time to say our last goodbye to Singapore. The last day is always a little bitter sweet. In my opinion, 5 days is an adequate amount of time too explore a city. While we could be here for a month and still not eat everywhere we'd like to, I feel like we got a great Singaporean experience. After a week of indulging in great foods, sleeping in, and generally doing whatever we want, I'm ready to get back to my normal regimented life.
But hold on, we still have the last day! By the last day, we had been able to cross off a significant number of different foods from our list. We took this opportunity to figure out what we hadn't eaten and came up with a plan to cross as much off the list as we could.
Unfortunately, we had another rainy morning, but that's Singapore, right? We headed out to Zam Zam Restaurant for some Roti Prata and mutton murtabak. This was my first experience having murtabak, and it was delicious. It was perfectly crisp on the outside, and the mutton very tender. The curry sauce they serve with it is outstanding; it was thick and flavorful. When the murtabak and roti prata were gone, I was tempted to drink the remaining curry sauce, but managed to keep my cool.
A Little More Garden
When we went to Gardens by the Bay the first time, we didn't get the chance to see it all due to our lunch reservations at Candlenut. We headed back down to see the rest of the Gardens, and they did not disappoint. By this time the rain was about over, and it was a lovely stroll, early enough that the crowds hadn't arrived yet. I would recommend spending a full day at the gardens if you have time to spare - they are truly beautiful. But alas, we've got some food to eat. After our failure on Monday (they were closed, much to our disappointment), we were excited to grab some lunch at Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, one of the first Michelin Star rated food stalls.
We ordered the bak chor mee with thin noodles (choice of thin or broad noodle); it is served with a soy and black vinegar sauce, and all the best parts of the pig. The best part was the pieces of pork liver; it just melted in your mouth. The dish also included minced pork meat, pork slices, pork wanton, and was topped with crispy dried fish and served with a side of pork bone broth. I recommend going early as the line can take a long time. We got there about 10 minutes after opening, and waited about 40 minutes. It was worth it...I only wish we had ordered more!
After the pork noodle, a quick read of the food list and a little research brought us to Tong Ji Mian Shi for some lor mee at the Golden Mile Food Centre.
Lor mee is a Hokkien dish consisting of thick, flat noodles served in a gravy like sauce seasoned with spices, eggs, vinegar and chili (vinegar and chili optional but recommended!). The noodles are served with fish cake, meat dumplings, half a hard boiled egg, and fried fish pieces. I absolutely loved this dish!
After lunch, we headed back over to Haji Lane and Arab street to check out some of the shops. I loved all the culture in this area. One of the many things we loved about Singapore was its cultural diversity. Although Singapore is a big metropolitan city, if you set out and explore off the beaten path, there is so much more to it. Even just getting of the main streets and walking through the alleys, you can get a better feel for what Singapore is really about. While five days does not give you quite enough time to delve deep into Singapore culture, we definitely got a good dose of it.
Our Last Supper
We headed to East Coast road for some hokkien mee (Singapore prawn noodle). I had been dying to get this dish the whole trip. Our plan had been to go to Beach Road Prawn Noodle House, but they closed at 4:00!! So we ventured down the road a little more and found a place called Geylang Lor 29 Fried Hokkien Mee. The hokkien mee was definitely one of my favorites, if not my favorite.
Now I know I've said that a few times now, but this is it. Hokkien mee is an egg and rice noodle dish stir fried with egg, pork slices, squid, and prawn. It is garnished with some lime juice, sambal sauce and fried pork lard. Let me tell you, before Singapore I had never experienced fried pieces of pork lard in dishes, and I absolutely love it! I've made it a mission to find some places here in the states that use it.
One Last Stop
After we enjoyed our hokkien mee, we headed down the road for a stroll to see what else looked good. By this time, we had covered most of our list, so we were just playing it by ear. We happened upon 328 Katong Laksa, and had to stop in for a taste. We had eaten at Sungei Road Laksa on our first day, and I wanted to compare.
Looking at the wall in Katong while waiting for the laksa, we notice this place had been visited by numerous chefs, including our favorite Anthony Bourdain. Once we got the food, we understood why. However, I must say I enjoyed Sungei Road laksa more. Sungei Road included a generous portion of raw cockles, which is what made the dish for me. Both had wonderful spicy coconut broth with lime, spice, noodles and seafood. The flavor of the laksa at Sungei Road was more complex, but Katong was still good. Considering my limited options at home (San Diego), I'd take either one of these in a heartbeat. The benefit of Katong is it is a chain, so there are many locations throughout Singapore.
We caught the bus and headed over to the Clarke Quay and Boat Quay. These areas are a little touristy, but still a fun place to stroll and reminisce about our trip. Both quays are lined with restaurants and bars, and are less cultural, but still fun. What a trip this has been. We ate some amazing food, saw some beautiful places, and enjoyed all the different cultures in Singapore. Now where to next....
What an amazing trip!
It was absolutely wonderful. I can't wait until our next trip to Southeast Asia.