Sunday, June 21, 2009

We Came, We Ate, We Did Not Conquer

For those going to Singapore, several things come to mind – the shopping, the climate, the wealth, and the hawker stalls! The culinary scene of Singapore consist of some of the best selection of food courts we have ever seen. And yes, we do mean food courts as in mall food, but in Singapore not only are the malls mega sized, so are the food courts. First up was the food court in the basement of the Takashimaya mall on Orchards Road.We literally stumbled upon this food court while making our way out of one of the best books stores around - Books Kinokuniya, and coming from the land of Powell’s Books that is quite a statement. We were bowled over by the volume and variety of food available, but not in a “oh they have a little of everything” kind of way. We had to slowly stroll each and every vendor because the offerings were so unique and different from what we think of as food court food.Unlike hawker stalls and street vendors where you can see everything being made, food courts reel you in with the beautiful glass displays and the sheer volume of food available.Deciding what we wanted was difficult enough, especially when it came to determining what sweet item we wanted to balance out the savory lunch we had. Will it be French desserts like éclairs and cream puffs?
or will it be Italian gelato or Japanese griddle cakes?or some candy?
We couldn’t come to Singapore and not eat at a proper hawkers’ stall. Being the highly governed country Singapore is, the hawker stalls are also highly governed, making them clean, well managed, and even more efficient. We decided to meet the cousins for lunch at one the busiest hawker stalls in the city-state: Lau Pa Sat.Located in the heart of the business district, the lunchtime crowd was heavy, but we were up for the craziness the minute we stepped in the all iron Victorian era building with one of the best selections of “food court” food around.This place was huge and with multiple “streets” or halls that spread out from a circular interior.Finding a seat in this massive place was difficult at first with hungry downtowners laying claim to any available seat, but we soon found a table and ventured down each of the 9 halls to gawk at the offerings.Thankfully the vendor signs down each of the “streets” were different making remembering where we are sitting easier.Some stalls had fantastic menu boards making deciding even more difficult.As much as we were drawn to the Ultimate Burger stall, we opted for Japanese.Besides sushi, we hadn’t had much Japanese food and was instantly drawn to katsu-curry-noodle pictures. We ordered a kimchi raman noodle bowl
a curry wheat noodle soupsome fried gyozasand chicken katsu
Everything was flavorful, fresh, satisfying, and ready in a flash, the way lunch should always be!We even heard that in the evenings they shut down the busy street infront of Lau Pa Sat Market and grills are brought out for a massive outdoor bbq food court! Wow - we love you Singapore.
We soon headed out to some sightseeing. Singapore is a great tourist town with its great public transportation system, museums, historical buildings, and even an island. We later met up with the cousins for dinner, at you guessed it, a food court! This one was located in the mini-mall right in their apartment complex! Imagine our utter surprise this place even existed! Singapore’s skyline doesn't just consist of towering office buildings.
Massive residential complexes are everywhere.
We had seen the little shopping area that is situated next to the bus stop at the front of the complex next to the road. We noticed there was a Chinese restaurant and a 7-11, but what we didn’t know was the fairly large shopping area on the ground floor and a basement with a large grocery store and a food court!We were psyched! This food court was definitely geared towards the large number of families living in the complex with pizzas, pastas, fresh salad bar, a dessert bar, and numerous other “western” foods. We were immediately drawn to the Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Japanese food vendors.
We got a papaya salada curry laksasome Japanese fried chicken or kara age
and a caesar salad. That’s the beauty of food courts you can eat your favorites from anywhere and everywhere in one sitting.

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