October 31, 2012
Tastes of The Orient
I know this one's a little later than usual Dear Readers, but you see, I've been away on holiday.
So long overdue, that it's actually the first time in over 20 years that we've travelled anywhere that wasn't to visit family- just something for ourselves.
Bliss.... And we had a wonderful time indeed!
We went to gorgeous Singapore, the country where I was born, and have always wanted to explore as a 'grown up'. The plan was to explore the real country and not just do touristy stuff but meet real people, see real sights, and eat real food.
Well, we sure did plenty of that!
I had a few concerns about eating gluten and lactose free overseas, but it didn't end up being as difficult as I first thought.
Most people speak english very well, so I was able to ask about meal ingredients, and sauce was generally served on the side so there was no contamination that way either.
Lactose free milk was readily available, but gluten free bread was nowhere to be found, and most shops didn't seem to understand what I was talking about.
All in all the trip was just wonderful, the country is fabulous, and the food is AMAZING! I've already started planning another trip for the future :)
I certainly won't bore you with our over 1000 photos, but I thought you might like to see some of the foodie highlights of our trip
Now at first glance, this may not look typically Asian in origin...but what if I tell you that it's the gluten free option for High Tea at iconic Raffles Hotel?
And all for me!!!
Bottom tier: Sandwiches
Smoked Salmon; Egg and Cucumber, Ham,Cheese,Tomato with Basil; and oddly, plain tinned Salmon with Mayonaise
Middle Tier: Fresh Fruit floating in Orange Juice, and Caramel Apple Verine
Top Tier: House made Fresh Raspberry Marshmallow, and two gorgeous Chocolates- yummo!
At huge buffet display there were also one or two goodies I could enjoy, and it was a wonderful experience indeed
A mountain of freshly shaved ice, topped with three syrups, drizzled with evaporated milk, then with additions of corn, red beans, palm seeds and glass jelly.
Big enough for two to share at the bargin price of $2
Haianese Chicken Rice
This dish was one I was really hanging out for. I make my own version at home, but wanted to try the Real Deal. The only problem was everywhere I went it was sold out! It's such a popular meal that the lines at Hawker Centres and food stalls selling this were huge, and I just seemed to be pipped at the post each and every time. I was so happy when I finally got my share :)
Such lovely, moist chicken and the rice might look bland, but the flavour was just amazing and rich too- delicious
Another iconic Singapore dish- Laksa
Each version I tried was very similar, but quite different from what I'm used to over here.
For starters, they locals used only rice noodles (which was great) here in Australia- or at least in Canberra, they come with both rice and egg noodles and I have sent many back to kitchens when they ignore my only-rice-noodles-please request. Also these ones were a lot stronger in prawn-y flavour and not as rich in coconut milk.
I really enjoyed having it for breakfast though!
These little ice cream stalls were everywhere, usually run by lovely little old gentlemen with gorgeous smiles for everyone.The ice cream was wrapped in wax cardboard, and kept in eskys with a huge slab of ice for cooling, then cut to size by the vendor, then wrapped in a slice of pink and green sweet bread to stop it dripping everywhere. I obviously had the messy bread-free version, but my choice of durian flavour was certainly delicious.
Before we went away, BigJ, littlej and I agreed on the Great Singapore Satay Hunt.
We all love these little sticks of yum, and were determined to track down and try as many varieties as possible during our stay. We sampled 17 varieties all in all, and our hands down favourite was an Indonesian variety! We gave each one a score out of 10, with catergories including spiciness, stickiness, sauce, char technique and overall flavour.
This is a prawn.
A very Big Prawn.
For scale, check out the regular sized chopsticks at the back of the plate. HUGE!
Served simply grilled with some garlic and a tiny little lime. I've never seen a prawn of this size before, and I once worked at a seafood market for a year. Now where to track them down over here?...
This picture is of A Random Act of Kindness
littlej was at the pastry counter at the first hotel we stayed at, when she saw another young girl with a packet of my usual Country Life bread I eat here in Australia. They struck up a conversation over the toaster and littlej mentioned that her mummy ate gluten free too. Halfway through breakfast, a lovely lady approached our table and said that they were on their last day in Singapore, and would it offend me if she offered me the rest of their gluten free loaf? They had bought it with them from Perth, and it would be a shame just to throw it out.
I was really touched and of course it just made my day! Unfortunately I failed to get the lovely peoples names, but although it may seem a small thing to others, when you struggle with food InTolerances, little things like this are such a big blessing indeed :) Thankyou xox
My Australian Breakfast in Singapore, with Beerenberg jams too!
Congee Rice Porridge, I much prefer savoury to sweet, so this might become a winter breakfast staple for me from now on
These signs were at every food stall and hawker stand everywhere. It shows that the stand has been inspected and aproved by the govenment, with each stand being licenced and given a hygene rating
The rating must be prominently displayed at each stall,with D being the lowest, but I only saw A's and B's.
I wonder if our food courts would welcome this idea here?
Not strictly Singaporean, but a nice choice for littlej as a change from steamed rice. Very delicious, and topped with yummy pork floss
In contrast to our first hotel, who truly tried but just didn't get the whole 'InTolerance' thing, this second resort had things sorted!
I had emailed ahead, and been assured that there would be plenty of options for me, but I've certainly been stung before. It was great to see that these issues were a priority for the kitchen too.
Freshly made gluten free waffles!
Gfree toast and mini muffins too
More ice creams:
Durian (a bit too strong for me this time), Red Bean, and our favourite- Jackfruit
Last, but certainly not least Dear Readers, what trip to Singapore would be complete without the famous Chilli Crab?
This was our one big blow-out meal, eaten at a nice little reataruant on the river. The crabs were displayed at the front, and you could either choose your own, or just order small, medium or large. We left the choice to our waiter, as even though littlej has no trouble eating anything really, and my Dad kills his own meat, she found it too difficult to actively particeipate in picking a live victim herself.
Wait until I bring home my own live mud crab from the markets to make this dish at home!
So my Dear Readers, I apologise for my absence from the blogisphere of late, and for not keeping up with comments on your lovely blog posts as well, but as you can see I was busy eating my way around Singapore :) I can hardly wait to go again!
So Dear Readers, were you born overseas, and what country would you visit if you could?