Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Republic of Singapore

Officially known as the Republic of Singapore. The world’s 5th wealthiest country declared self-government in 1965 and split from Malaysia to form the smallest nation in SE Asia. Singapore is wealthy, chic, orderly, cosmopolitan, clean, hot, tropical, and highly governed.Bordering Malaysia to the north and Indonesia to the south, it is surprising that a majority of the population is Chinese, with large populations of Malays, Indians, and Indonesians.Singapore is an export-driven, highly developed market-based economy, imagine if the founders of your country were still alive. It is where the business wealthy and elite come to wheel & deal and live on a tropical island at the same time. We saw more sports vehicles in the small island nation than anywhere else we’ve been, and to have a vehicle, let alone purchase one in Singapore means big bucks. As we traveled further south and closer to the equator we never paid much attention to daylight and time, but in Singapore being almost directly on the equator we were aware of the fact that the sun rises and sets everyday at the same time.
So on our first day we took advantage of the extremely well organized bus and monorail system
to go have a peep around Little IndiaFirst up was the Tekka Market
A large open-air market selling fresh food and produce, traditional Indian clothing, and a large food court area.We purchased a few souvenirs and headed into the district officially known as Little India. The Little India district in Singapore was very similar to the Little India district in Penang and Melacca, Malaysia with similar temples and temple ornamentationSingapore's Little India had the same shopping boulevard with music shops blaring the latest Bollywood tunes, beauty shops offering such services as facial jewelry application, spice shops with shelves and shelves of shining aluminum cooking utensils, and men on the sidewalks braiding large floral garlands.Let’s be honest, the main reason we were in Little India was to eat and we had heard of a great banana leaf restaurant.
Tucked among the cute little colonial buildings, he hit vegetarian heaven
With such a diverse population, our waiter was Indian, but the Chinese staff kept bringing us food we didn’t order. We ended up with two full banana leaf set lunches, but we insisted on getting the crispy vegetables we ordered as an appetizer, but cancelled our initial order, which in the end was fine by us. We ordered two appetizers - crispy vegetable and tandori cauliflower.The crispy vegetables consisted of chucky and mostly whole vegetables mixed with lentle flour and fried. Crispy and nearly greaseless the crispy vegetables were surprisingly hardy and filling for an appetizer.The second appetizer we titled “tandori cauliflower” an item we had in Penang at another banana leaf restaurant and we had been dreaming about it since. The cauliflower provides a soft and creamy consistency with a tangy thick coating of spices that stays crispy and tart after frying – delicious!In the end the meal was completely too much for us to finish, but as our first meal of many in Singapore it was a sign of the good eats to come!

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