Thursday, 31 July 2008

Singapore and Supermarkets

We got a taxi from the airport to our hotel. I know that Singapore has a lot of critics and I was certainly one the first time I went there. But really the odds were stacked against a good holiday when my bags were lost, my clothes (winter ones) were funky and not in a good way, and I got food poisoning (dodgy fish ball). This time I liked Singapore though. Most of the other cities that we visited have not bothered about the road from the airport to the city they're just ugly, but in singapore there's bouganvillea and trees and flowers and it's tropical and quite pretty. It certainly helps distract you from all those apartment buildings and there are a lot.
So we arrived at our hotel which was very nice and situated on the main shopping area. We 'freshened up' and were amused to find that our bathroom had a big window looking into our bedroom so Jack and I could sit in the bath and wave at S. There was also a marble seat in the shower which Jack and S thought was okay. I found them both sitting there with the water pouring over them, looking very happy.
We decided to check out the shops. We found a supermarket and I had fun poking around. Now we know that I love a market, but I also love looking at supermarkets in other countries. The supermarkets in England are very good. Such an amazing amount of produce from all over the world (guess air miles are not a priority) and the take home meals are astounding. Not the muck that you get here which is usually crappy lasagna or fried rice. At places like Waitrose or M& S food and even the cheaper supermarkets, you can get roasted duck salad with rice noodles, or a selection of curries with accompaniments or wild Scottish salmon with kipfler get the idea. And the desserts. Lemon tarts, chocolate fondant, panna cotta. Astounding. I can't see why people would need to cook (and this from me, someone who enjoys cooking). I know the chef at the manor has certainly given up!
The Supermarkets in Scotland were much the same and with no veal (though lots of expensive NZ lamb). What is the story? Is it because veal (oh so yummy) is murder?
The french supermarche, well we really only went to the one in Jouy, was great. Such good wine for so little money. Ahhh. And great puddings. In France it was so easy to buy things for a dinner with good bread, cheese, tomatoes, ham and wine. And the butter. I bought this breton-paysan butter which had salt crystals in it. So delicious. My tastebuds were happy but I'm sure my heart was saying, "eeeeek!"
And so to Singapore supermarkets. They are fun. They usually have heaps of Japanese groceries which are always worth a look and usually a big area of fresh sashimi and sushi, which looked delicious. Then there's usually a little barbecue or two cooking up squid balls or red bean pancakes (in the shape of a fish!) so it always smells yummy. There's lots of products from all over the world and I could've spent hours checking stuff out but I don't think Jack and S would've been happy.
And everywhere we went people talked to Jack, smiled at him, stroked his hair and asked a million questions about him (and how old S was though not sure how that was relevant).
After perusing in a Singaporean department store I was in the mood for some Char Kway Teow (a kind of malaysian wok fried rice noodles which are so good). Actually I'd been wanting some since we were in Singapore on the way over. I had been given some vague directions from a fellow guest at the hotel but they turned out to be too vague. We ended up in a food hall full of locals and no tourists but there was no Char Kway Teow on offer so we ended up having wonton noodle soup and some not so crispy duck with noodles and fresh watermelon and papaya juice. It was okay but not Char Kway Teow. Maybe next time when I have more energy I'll go in search of them or the next time I'm in Sydney. There's a noodle bar in Campsie that does them well.
We ate a cinnamon chocolate gelato on the way back to the hotel and went to bed as we were off early the next day on our last flight back to Sydney. Nearly home.

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