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Trip Report – Singapore 2014 Part 1

Sorry for the delay in finishing up our Asia Trip writeup. There’s been a lot going on! But here I am with the last few installments of the trip, our 5 days in Singapore! We went to Taiwan and Singapore as part of our Asia trip earlier this year. Read my previous posts on Taiwan here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

We had an amazing time in Taiwan. But I, of course, was looking forward to Singapore, because that is my home country, where I was born (and I still hold a Singapore passport!), and where my extended family still lives. We stayed with my Auntie Hua Kor and her family, and we had the best time! They are probably the most gracious hosts ever – and that’s why I always stay with them when I visit Singapore! My Auntie has a beautiful apartment on the East Coast of Singapore complete with water views and cool breezes which is much needed in the humid, tropical weather. My Auntie, cousin Su-Ann, her husband, Phil, and cute-as-a-button-son, Tyler, picked us up from Changi Airport (the most amazing airport in the world, btw) and we headed straight for lunch at a local Malay restaurant. Gosh how I miss this type of food!

Malay food – so flavorful, spicy, and delicious.

I was overcome with delight as it was durian season when we were there. Durians are those large spiky fruit with soft creamy flesh on the inside. However, most people think it stinks to the Nth degree. They say it smells worse than rotten onions combined with old socks. I really don’t understand the fuss, to me, it just smells like…durian. It is probably one of my most favorite things to eat ever, but Steve wouldn’t even touch it (hahaha). To be fair, he did try a bit and politely declined subsequent offerings.

I love durians!! This was my profile pic on Facebook for a while.

When you buy durians, the fruit seller can either crack it open for you to eat it there, or they will pack just the fruit for you in containers. Beware though, you cannot take them on public transport unless they are hermetically sealed – they stink that bad! Good thing we had a car!

Durian seeds inside are covered in a creamy yellow flesh. I can only describe it as sort of custard-y. I think everyone should try it at least once!

Our stay in Singapore was fun but we didn’t do anything terribly touristy, although it was Steve’s first time there. We just relaxed and hung out with my extended family, oh and we ate A LOT.

We met up with my Auntie Evelyn (left) and Auntie Vilin (Right) in Marine Parade.

Us with my cousin, Terrance, his wife Vivian, and son Theo. We ate at Din Tai Fung which is super popular. Thanks for lunch guys!

Din Tai Fong Spore

Delicious Chinese food. Not pictured are the soup dumplings which we had devoured by the time I got around to taking pictures.

(Yes, I do realize that Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese restaurant but we didn’t get a chance to go there during our Taiwan leg of the trip. But I’d like to say that Din Tai Fung maintains it’s level of quality in all their restaurants! In fact, we were just at Din Tai Fong in Rowland Heights, CA the weekend after Labor Day and it was just as good as I remembered on my very first trip to the original Taiwan location in 2011)

We did spend a night at the glitzy Marina Bay Sands hotel courtesy of my Auntie who is a loyal customer of theirs. They knew her by name! The Marina Bay Sands is that large hotel and casino complex which resembles a spaceship and boasts the famed rooftop infinity pool which has been featured in countless architectural and travel magazines. Thanks also to my niece Nikolette, who worked there at the time and ensured we had a great stay.

The majestic Marina Bay Sands

We had a luxurious room with a king-sized bed and a beautiful view of Singapore and the bay.

Checking out the view with my Auntie.

The well-appointed room in the Marina Bay Sands.

The bathroom with the free standing tub in the shower area. It was great as it contained all the “wet areas” to one side.

Complimentary fresh fruit and chocolates – because we’re high rollers like that. (Not really.)

We had breakfast in each of the two rooftop restaurants courtesy of my fabulous Auntie! Sky on 57 has both buffet and a la carte options and The Club was all buffet. I much prefer buffets in Asia – American buffet restaurants just do not compare. Both restaurants were really good but Sky on 57 was my favorite.

Sky on 57 was one of the rooftop restaurants we had breakfast at.

Singapore laksa and soft-boiled eggs are some of the items you can order a la carte. The laksa was delicious!

The are the prettiest mini croissant egg sandwiches I’ve ever seen!

Some of the various things you can get at The Club’s breakfast buffet. They had dumplings, bao, and little tubs of glutinous sticky rice with bits of pork. Yum!

We couldn’t leave without checking out the most-talked about feature of the hotel – the skytop pool! The view was amazing and it was nice to take a dip in the cool water.

In the infinity pool overlooking Singapore. 

Lots of people enjoying the pool with a view.

In between gambling with my Auntie in the huge casino (of which I had to pay 100 SGD just to enter for 24 hours, thanks to Singapore law trying to dissuade citizens from gambling), we managed to get a little more food into our bellies in and around the Marina Bay Sands.

Singapore style beef noodle soup

Singapore-style oyster omelet

Chicken curry with rice and kaya (coconut jam) toast with a soft boiled egg from Toast Box.

Kaya is a popular sweet coconut jam flavored with “pandan” leaves. I’ve only really had it in Singapore and have not seen it elsewhere. The traditional way to eat it is on buttered white toast. When I say buttered, it literally is a slice of butter. Butter is the main ingredient and the kaya is just an afterthought! This makes for a delicious, rich and slightly sweet sandwich that is perfect for breakfast or a snack any time. I always have this with some Singapore-style coffee, which is thick coffee with condensed milk. I like it iced but hot is good too!

Thick buttery goodness. It not as crazy buttery as it looks because the butter in Singapore tastes different than Ameriacan butter – it just tastes good!

Here’s another specimen of kaya toast from Ya Kun, a popular chain in Singapore.

Did you know that there are some pretty good places to eat IN the casino itself? And that they are dirt cheap? My Aunt took us to a steamboat restaurant for D-I-Y hotpot goodness and it was less than 10 bucks per person. Of course, it’ll cost you more if you are a Singapore citizen and have to get inside the casino…but since we were there anyways…

Singapore “hotpot” – you cook anything you want in the boiling stock and then dip it in sauce. You can create your own dipping sauces from a fixin’s bar.

I got a chance to meet up with my old friend, Jasmine! We haven’t seen each other in forever but I think she looks exactly the same and we had a ball gabbing it up like old friends in the Toast Box cafe (where you can get the aforementioned kaya toast and coffee). BTW, thanks again for lunch Jasmine! You’re a sweetheart!

Me and Jasmine! We were holding up the pillow because we wanted to show that we were eating at Toast Box.

Stay tuned for more Singapore eating!

See the rest of our trip to Taiwan and Singapore, read my previous posts on Taiwan here: Part 1Part 2Part 3.

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