Singapore Day 10-14

I don’t have that many photos of my last few days in Singapore. Probably reflective of the fact that I tried to stay home as much as possible since the parents were back from their holiday. Wanted to be a “guai” (good) daughter and show face at home. But you know what, I was “abandoned” for half a day on Saturday, so I went out to do my own stuff alone, on my own. The solitude I had was actually very much welcomed!

One thing I really hate seeing in Singapore is the scene of domestic helpers walking their employers’ dogs. I don’t know why people have pets when they throw them to their helpers to look after. The poor dogs are often used as an excuse for the helpers to head out of the house to make their phone calls on the sly. These furry cuties don’t get to explore, play and walk much. Many of them end up sitting on the pavement, sometimes in the scorching sun.

I don’t really blame these helpers because they too need their private time away from their employers and this is usually the best opportunity. I blame the employers, the pet owners who don’t look out for the welfare of their dogs.

Love this photo of Elsa and the mouse. I had forgotten that I had given my ex-boss the mouse as well, so it was a surprise when she posted this photo of my gift of Elsa to her. Am glad they both went to someone who really appreciates them, and to a boss that I appreciate for all her help and generosity to me.

When I did actually hang out with the parents, it was always about the food. I am definitely my father’s daughter as we both live to eat! My dad really travels for good food, even bringing us to JB when we were young. We had the most decadent of dishes, this cold crab with abundant roe was one of them, and the simplest of fish ball noodles. Although for the latter, I had to wake up at 6.30am to go beat the queue with mom and dad!

Suggested that they go try out FIX today, a new cafe in the Balestier area. The donuts with ๆตๆฒ™ sauce were da bomb. Made hot and fresh with a wonderful sweet/salty egg custard dipping sauce. Dad said it was better than eating the bun version from dim sum restaurants as you can control the amount of sauce you want. Mom was seen mopping up the sauce when all the donuts were gone. Looks like they enjoyed this place that I introduced them to.

On my day alone, I decided to head downtown to run some errands and pick up some yummies to bring back to the husband. He had a short list of requests and I made sure to fulfill them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Popped by one of our favorite sushi places for a one person lunch. This place is by far one of the cheapest conveyer belt sushi joints around. Quality is clearly not the best but I don’t mind it much since it is so cheap. And if you stalk the belt long enough, the aburi salmon sushi is really quite yummy. But terribly illusive to eat since you cannot order it off a menu at all!

Missed the husband very much this day. We used to eat here fairly often and it was always fun to just sit there and hunt down our favorite sushi plates together. Even the aburi sushi didn’t taste so good without him around you know? Missing him terribly and so glad I am heading home to Evanston soon!

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Coffee

I still remember my first cup of coffee in America. I was in DC for a conference way back in 2009 and had plonked down at a Starbucks (my familiar go to) for my morning fix. Still remember what the taste of the coffee reminded me of – stale cigarettes! I wonder if it was because the milk was burnt or if the coffee beans turned rancid but I tossed it immediately after one sip. No other customer in the shop seemed to be reacting badly, I even bought one more cup to test again. Concluded it must be just me and my tastebuds not agreeing with the coffee in the country. It was the same bad experience in other instances, though none as bad as the first.

So I came here feeling very sad, thinking that I will probably not be able to enjoy my coffee for the next few years. It was especially sad since good indie cafes were popping up all over the place in Singapore when I left, and are still doing so right now! I also miss my cheap and comforting cup of Kopi-C siu dai (and sometimes Teh-C siu dai) from the kopitiams.

Luckily with some searching, I’ve found some good places here. Latest being this bakery that we stumbled upon near our usual supermarket. Treated myself to a large latte and a sundried tomato and feta croissant the other day. There was no seating in the shop, just one bench outside the entrance. But the weather was great and I was alone anyway to require anything fancier. It was the simplest yet most satisfying experience.

I now know how to look out for coffee shops serving my favorite beans. Dogwood Coffee and Metropolis Coffeeย currently top my list. Another unlikely favorite is Dunkin Donuts! Remember scoffing when a friend told me that the best selling coffee in America is actually Dunkin Donuts. I couldn’t believe it then but I do now. It’s in the creamer, like a drug that you cannot resist. And the prices are easy on the pocket too. It’s my cheap go to reliable choice. Kinda equivalent to my kopitiam coffee back home I guess. ๐Ÿ˜€

What does your neighbourhood smell like?

A walk outside my condo is a taste bud tantalising experience as the smells of fried chicken waft along the streets.

Had been curious about this place ever since I set eyes upon it. A dingy looking building across the road from my apartment. Didn’t help that the name of the shop really matched its appearance of a dodgy shack.

So I Googled “The Chicken Shack”, as I always do when I want to check out new eateries. And quickly realised that this little shop was selling the best fried chicken in the whole of Evanston, well at least according to people on Yelp. Couldn’t help but abandon any notion of eating healthy and made a beeline for the place once I had an off day from cooking (husband had a lunch meeting).

The familiar American fast food chains we see back home in Singapore is actually hard to find here in Evanston. There is no McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Burger King in downtown at all. We have ย Chipotle (which is really yummy mexican food btw) and Five Guys (a burger place way yummier than McD’s). And then “The Chicken Shack”, a small mom and pop place which apparently has been around for eons.

It’s actually pretty dingy inside as it is outside so it’s not usually a place I would naturally want to go and try out. But I guess it’s kinda like the theory back home; where the dirtier the eatery is, the more delicious the food would be?

I was greedy and ordered takeout of 2 pieces of chicken and deep fried catfish nuggets with a biscuit at the side. Also added a side of coleslaw and mash with gravy. It was oily, crispy, very salty but everything a good fried chicken should be. The husband didn’t want anything to do with it when I showed him the leftovers. That health freak.

As with every greasy meal, the guilt factor always gets to me after. So I am telling myself to only have this as a treat once every other month. ๐Ÿ˜€ But I am already plotting what I’ll order next. Deep fried chicken gizzards! yums…

Instant Spicy Treat

When you have to cook for yourself, the easiest way out would be to grab some instant noodles!

TV ads of this Instant Laksa have been appearing almost every day at my hungriest moments (i.e. dinner/supper time) and packs and packs of noodles are placed in plain sight when I visit the supermarket. I had to succumb to buying one pack to try sooner or later…

As expected, I had a gratifying dinner last Thursday night. The gravy was really tasty and authentic, like those that you buy from laksa stalls outside. Would I buy this again? I think probably not and here’s why:

1. Ramen with laksa is kinda of an odd combination and the noodles required quite a long time to cook. I realised it too late and had pretty hard noodles to eat. For someone who prefers my instant noodles more firm, this is too much for my liking already. Thick Bee Hoon is still my fave for laksa.

2. I wished that it came with more laksa paste rather than coconut powder. The gravy was already “lemak” as it was with half a pack of coconut powder thrown in. The coconut taste would probably overwhelm the chili if I had used the whole pack

3. Unlike other instant noodles, this would have no kick if you ate it plain without any fresh ingredients thrown in. Luckily I had some chicken, sotong balls and veggies lying around at home, else it wouldn’t have been a very substantial meal.

Still like the laksa gravy though, so I might just buy the laksa paste on its own in future. And to add fresh milk to the paste instead just so that it will be just a little bit healthier.