Bon matin mes amis. Comment vas-tu? I’m doing very well, thanks for asking. It’s been a little while.
You might be pleased/uninterested to learn that I’ve been continent-hopping again. Here’s the photographical evidence, for your viewing pleasure.
You may or may not know that Singapore is one of my favourite places dans le monde. I lived there for a bit when I was younger and, as it turns out, still feel utterly comfortable on that side of our fair planet. In my mind SG is the perfect mix of Asian extremes and beauty, coupled with Western ideas and traditions making it an accessible and incredibly easy place to live in as an expat.
Then there’s the food…
There’s a reason that Singapore is famous for it’s love of food. The choices are insane and constant. You can’t walk five minutes without being bombarded, either assaulted or tantalised by cooking smells and amazing displays of culinary genius. In fact, the food in Singapore is a great way to illustrate the contrasts in other aspects of this country. You’ve got China Town for authentic Chinese cuisine, Little India for the best curries, Arab Street, Food Nation, Vivo, all nestled next to places like the Golden Mile Complex for a taste of Thailand, Starbucks (natch), haute French cuisine and hundreds of fancy French patisseries, hotels boasting fine dining, Michelin starred chefs setting up restaurants next to street vendors hawking Malaysian or Vietnamese dishes. You want Sushi and crepes? Fine. You fancy a Big Mac followed by some fresh hot Jalebi? Done. Or perhaps you’ve a hankering for that Singaporean favourite, Chicken Rice? I could murder a big $4 plateful right now.
The food alone is a good enough reason for me to want to move back there!
I had a brilliant time, showing the other half around, catching up with my family, meeting up with some faces from my childhood and generally stuffing my face.
I’m already planning another trip back there but, until then, I’ll just have to continue to gaze wistfully at the photos on my phone.
The Sri Mariamman Temple, quite beautiful architecturally. Always something new to spot in the carvings.
A lazy rickshaw man having a midday snooze near The Carlton.
The daytime view of central Singapore’s Business District.
Coconuts – $2
Mr Sarah Bosson and I had our names painted and framed in Chinese, as you do when you’re a tourist. So clichéd but really cute and the guy was a total sweetie about it too.
More food in the MRT station at Bugis Junction- totally spoilt for choice and, below, one of the bustling food courts at Vivo.
Orchard Road at night. Very difficult not to spend all of our money. At least, I thought so…
Singapore by night is as beautiful as Christmas. (Although it does get even more spectacular at Christmas.) The last two were taken 56 floors up, from the Sky Park on top of the Marina Bay Sands. Breathtakingly high. Worth the trip. More on this below.
Our girly shopping sprees along Orchard Road lead us astray, both with fashion and with food. We had a delicious breakfast in Paul’s, the famous French patisserie (bottom-right picture), before meandering through and in and out of Tiffany’s, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada…
“When in Rome..!” – Naturally we were in Singapore and so of course had to check out Raffles Hotel, which was conveniently just down the road form our hotel, The Intercontinental. We spruced ourselves up a smidge and headed up to The Long Bar to sample the varied Sling menu. I had the Courtyard Sling which was wonderful. One is supposed to toss one’s peanut shells on the floor when one is done with them, creating a sort of sea of shells to wade through in your best heels. Kind of like walking in a stable. But hey, it’s tradition!
At the Marina Bay Sands mall we mooched into a ‘café’ called High Society. Black and white checker-board tiles, red velvet embroidered armchairs, velvet rope and thick velvet curtains. Very theatrical. And the pastries and cakes were a work of art.
Bottom left is my plateful of some of the complimentary desserts on offer in the Skyview lounge at Changi Airport. I LOVE free food and wine.
Bottom right is the display of hideously expensive tea infused macarons in TWG Tea Salon & Boutique. Flavours such as Earl Grey Fortune with Chocolate Gauche, Napoleon Tea and Caramel, Bain de Roses Tea, Camelot Tea and Praline,… I wanted them all.
Storm clouds rolling in over Clarke Quay, where just seconds before had been bright sunshine. The prelude to a mighty storm.
Some sights, smells and tastes from China Town. And, bottom left, the Dim Sum Lady approaches.
Little India, during the day. While we were there they just starting to set up for Deepavali, the festival of lights, although I didn’t get any good photos of the decorations. But I did get some nice ones of a monk on his mobile, some indian food we scoffed, the doors of the temple, and some of the jewellery in the windows of Mustafa Mall.
The Mr and I thought it might be nice idea to try some Durian fruit. Famed for it’s god awful smell but sweet ‘heavenly’ taste we decided to brave the stench and sample the fruit. We found a seller who hacked it up for us in the blink of an eye, while I chatted to an old woman about how it tasted and where’s best to grow it and the differences between Thai Durian and Malaysian Durian. As we wandered off we both took big bites. What a fucking disaster. It is absolutely vile. It tastes like sewage. Like rotten eggs. And the texture is like paste with a slimy skin on. It coats your mouth and sticks to the roof, rendering it impossible to chew and swallow and get rid of the taste. And even when you finally do swallow it the taste will repeat on you and haunt you all day. Urgh. So, yeah. My recommendation you would be not to try the infamous Durian fruit.
There are these wonderful bakeries all over SG, but not bakeries as we know them here in the UK. The main name seems be Bread Talk. You pick up a tray and some tongs and just add anything that tickles your fancy as you wander around and then take your tray to the cashier at the end. So cheap and tasty. The average shop will come in under $4, which is about £2. Perfect for breakfast. We ate this sort of thing most days, with a Starbucks. My holiday drink of choice being the festive menu’s Iced Toffee Nut Frappuccino. Another favourite tipple of mine, one remembered fondly from when I was little, was H-Two-O. I hated any sort of fizzy drink as a child but that made finding me a drink harder as vending machines generally only stock Coke, Mountain Dew, Lilt etc… but then I discovered that the Isotonic H-Two-O was a till drink and proceeded to drink it ALL THE TIME. They don’t sell it over here in England so of course when we went back I had to find a can. And of course it’s quite gross now, as an adult with fully grown taste buds. But I still loved it! Candylicious is a Candy supermarket. There’s quite a few of them, and I remember seeing one in Dubai too. Every sweet-tooth’s dream!
We went to The Fullerton Hotel for High Tea in their courtyard on a Saturday afternoon. High tea is one of the few practices of colonial times that has stuck, and it comes as no surprise that the practice has flourished in a place as foodie as Singapore. Carl Bertka, one of Gordon Ramsay’s head pastry chefs, has been recruited from the United States to oversee the experience at The Fullerton. Each piece is a work of art. each dessert, each slice of cake, each tiny sandwich. Afternoon Tea in SG is a feast for the taste buds and for the eyes, with everything being a pretty as it is delicious. I’m only sorry I didn’t take any photographs of the tiers. And as soon as you’d eaten something it was being replenished by the ever-attentive staff. The perfect way to spend an afternoon.
The Marina Bay Sands. A fairly new building with a huge glossy marble mall at the base, three towers of hotel rooms and then the top deck; the Skypark, a huge garden, an infinity pool, and Ku De Ta bar and restaurant. Perhaps the best views in town. Standing on the edge, hair blowing gently in the warm breeze on a balmy evening, looking down on Singapore city all lit up, sipping a ‘Yellow And Dirty’. Utter perfection. Possibly my new favourite bar in the whole world. Certainly my new favourite drink; Grey Goose vodka, pineapple juice and a vanilla pod. Amazingly simple.
Tanjong Beach, one of the beaches on Sentosa. Not a bad way to waste a day, sipping cocktails and listening to my iTunes collection.