While everyone knows I love Hong Kong to bits, I do strongly believe that Singapore is the best city in the world to live in. Yes, there are flaws, like a rather overbearing government, insane expatriate taxes and strict internet censorship (I… I use it for research purposes), but I believe that there is no country that blends luxury and simplicity, cultures and traditions as well as Singapore. And honestly, with the endless choices of food here, who wouldn’t want to live here? Anyways, here are the things I ate for my first day in Singapore…
Breakfast: Every good chef worth his apron and fancy hat has a great egg dish to his name. Chefs like Jean Georges and Alain Passard have dedicated time and effort in creating the perfect dish that best captures the silken beauty of the humble egg. Problem is, these great chefs then charge customers an insane amount of money for the same humble egg. In Singapore, you can find a beautiful egg that is soft, molten and delicious, and it would be part of a $4SGD Kaya Toast set. The Singaporean soft boiled egg really is a magnificent thing in itself. It is served everywhere, from humble hawker tea stalls to Kaya toast chains like Yakun and Toast Box. The method is also embarrassingly simple: you just dunk an egg in boiling water before closing the lid and turning off the heat for approximately 6 minutes. This gentle cooking method ensures that the egg is creamy and soft. Simply add a dash of sticky dark soy and a sprinkle of pepper, and they are ready to be slurped down. Alternatively, you can break the egg and use it to dip your Kaya toast (Kaya is a condiment made from coconut milk and pandan leaves), like a superior version of egg and soldiers. Also, shoutout to Yakun for having a killer Kaya paste. Sometimes I honestly wonder why the Hong Kong outlets of Yakun never succeeded, but then if I knew the answer, I would not be unemployed anymore.
Yakun (Has outlets all over Singapore): Kaya Toast Set w/ Soft Boiled Egg & Ice Coffee: SG$4.60
Lunch: Char Kway Teow from Junction 8 Food Court; Din Tai Fung
Part of Singapore’s distinctive allure is that you can find great cheap food wherever you go. Whereas Hong Kong malls are littered with expensive restaurants and fancy establishments, every Singaporean mall hosts a food court serving an array of cuisines at killer prices. It is absolutely beautiful and I legitimately could spend the rest of my life in any one of the city’s food courts. As this was supposed to be a day of relaxation and lazing about, I decided to just take out whatever I want to eat back to where I stayed.
My menu consisted of a lovely portion of Char Kway Teow (SG$4.60) and two sets of xiao long bao (Shanghai Soup Buns) (SG$10 for 10) from the might Ding Tai Fung. Char Kway Teow is one of my favourite things to eat on the planet. It is a perfect blend of spice, saltiness and smoke. In a plate of good Char Kway Teow, you can really taste the smoke and the heat of the wok. It’s absolutely delicious and totally unhealthy, as it is fried with lard and includes artery-clogging ingredients like cockles and lap cheong (Chinese Sausage). While this bowl of Char Kway Teow was pretty good, tasting of smoke and salt, it paled in comparison to some of the better plates in the city, such as the one in Outram Park or the one in Chomp Chomp food court.
Ding Tai Fung was up to its usual impeccable standards. The wrappings were paper thin and the buns were filled with lovely soup. One interesting observation though: While Hong Kong only has a few Ding Tai Fung stores, Singapore is littered with them. This is a good thing as we could all use more delicious soup buns.
Char Kway Teow from Junction 8 Food Court, Bishan
Ding Tai Fung, Junction 8 Outlet
Dinner: Nasi Lemak from Punggol Nasi Lemak
As detailed here, I love Nasi Lemak slightly more than my very own mother; and to me, no one does it better than Punggol Nasi Lemak in Singapore. Yes, there are people that complain about the price and about it being overrated, but nowhere else has a chilli that deep and complex as this establishment. And judging by the long lines every night, I know I am correct.
You simply queue up and point at a certain dish, curry or fried food that you want accompanying your rice. For this time, I got sambal ladies fingers, braised eggplants, otah (Southeast Asian spicy fish cake), fried dried shrimps with chilli, along with the standard deep fried chicken wings and egg.
So how does it compare to the ones in Hong Kong? First, the rice is much more fragrant and stronger in coconut. Also not being fluorescent green helps a lot. The batter on the fried chicken was insanely crisp and light, while all the other side dishes complimented the rice perfectly. This is one of my favourite things to eat in Singapore (I say that alot don’t I?), and I strongly recommend everyone to make a visit.
Yes, queues are long and prices are higher than your standard nasi lemak, but it is all worth it.
Punggol Nasi Lemak, Main branch in 371 Jalan Besar.
965 Upper Serangoon Road
238 Tanjong Katong Road
So this marks the end of my first day in Singapore. Now I can rest with a stomach full of deep fried goodies and coconut fat. Until next time, peace.