Singapore, 2016

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February 9, 2016 by Wayne.

All these modern-y Asian cities sure look the same, don’t they?

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Day One

Upon landing, we had 4 Fingers at the airport. Bad choice. It doesn’t taste anywhere as good as the Mid Valley branch. Pretty bad QC here, though at least the skin is still somewhat crispy.¬†Maybe we should have gone for the McSpicy everyone keeps talking about.

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The fries tasted as sad as they look

On the way to Orchard Plaza (to pick up Laneway tix), we found out about the pretty incredible Singtel tourist SIM. For $15 or so, you get 100GB (?!) of data, free call minutes (domestic and int’l) and SMS. All of which lasts for 5 days. Alternatives include the Starhub $50 travel SIM that grants you 100GB for 5 days, 5GB for 30 days and $50 of credit that’s valid for 180 days.

We relied almost entirely on the MRT to get around, since it’s so convenient. Most places are a short walking distance away from a station, and the trains are very regular. We did use Uber once though after Laneway when the train service had ended. To this date, I still haven’t quite used the Singaporean bus service yet. I hear gothere.sg, MyTransport, ExploreSG and CityMapper are excellent.

The first meal of the day was at Deen Tulang Specialist, purveyor of fine marrows.

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It’s always an interesting (and incredibly messy) experience eating sup tulang. I think I’ll pass on this next year though. Twice in two years is about enough for now. Having said that, you should definitely give it a shot if you haven’t had this odd concoction before.

After dinner, it was time for The Projector!

I first discovered this gem a year back, and it’s grown impressively since then. Think sold out seats at the two boxes, and a packed crowd outside at the cafe.

We watched The Revenant (review here). Nice to see they’re airing quite a lot of current movies in parallel to their usual curation.

After The Projector, it was off to Geylang for a largely forgettable dim sum supper.

Day Two

Laneway day!

To kick it off, we dropped in at Teppei Syokudo for some killer kaisendon. For only $20, you get layers upon layers of sashimi and chopped tuna / other additions, as well as green tea. And it’s honest to god delicious. The tuna tastes like a delicate creamy pate, and the thick chunky slices of marinated white fish, salmon and tuna somehow manage to top even that.

The photo (and compression!) does a horrible job of depicting it but this was easily one of the best meals I’ve had in Singapore. Oh, and the portion is ridiculously huge.

On to the music at Laneway 2016:

– East India Youth: Came to Laneway for him and he didn’t disappoint. Du was incredible, shame he got slotted into such an awkward time spot. And physical spot since the audience was roasted alive by the incredible heat.
– The Internet: Much better live! One of the standouts of Laneway, would have been a good choice for a closer.
– Cashew Chemists: Surprisingly alright-ish, good background music while eating on the picnic mat.
– Hermitude: Pretty boring for the most part. Good music to chill and nap to though
– Battles: Surprisingly middling live. Possibly because of the audio mix? Last 2 songs were great though!
– Beach House: They don’t transition well into the large stage at all. Much more suited for smaller venues. Fairly boring and forgettable performance.
– Grimes: She killed it. Suh good! In stark contrast to Beach House, Grimes transitioned so perfectly into the big stage and absolutely dominated with her self-assured presence.
– Chvrches: Marked improvement over the last time I saw them, could easily have been the closer act instead. Lauren’s polished her live vocals a wee bit, and they seem a lot more comfortable on stage now.
– Purity Ring: Pretty chill stuff, gorgeous light show.

As for the popup stores, there weren’t quite as many cool things as last year (how do you top Sailor Jerry’s buy 2 drinks get 1 haircut/tattoo free?). Onitsuka Tiger was impressive though, with their design your own tote and sneaker art jam.

Food-wise, there were some pretty stellar stores this time around. The most noteworthy thing, though, was the fact that they finally got rid of the ridiculous coupon system!

Iskina Cebu

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Lechon cebu at its best. Went for the pork belly with spices since the full-pork-chop-up had a pretty long waiting time. Fantastic stuff regardless.

Do-Si-Rak

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That’s the lechon cebu at the bottom left. Do-Si-Rak was basically this lunch box thing where you have rice, vegetables, meat and sauces in a bucket-pot and you shake the everloving hell out of it. Also very commendable, definitely a step up above what you’d expect at, say, a Malaysian festival.

Blend Lab

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The Blend Lab unsurprisingly had the longest lines at Laneway. The smoothies and blends were the perfect tonic to the unrelenting weather.

After Laneway, we dropped by the legendary Geylang frog porridge which was…pretty underwhelming. Can’t say I was too surprised. Singapore is notorious for terrible “local” dishes, relative to Malaysia.

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Day Three

Blue Garden – $25 Korean BBQ buffet. Not exactly great but you can get well stuffed here.

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Next, it was off to the consistently awesome Books Actually.

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And Plain Vanilla…the smell of the bakery is jaw-droppingly good.

Easily some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever tried.

For dinner, we visited Saveur at Purvis Street, which has been getting pretty good reviews for both affordability and price.

We had two separate foie gras starters – one with apples, port and vanilla bean, and the other with lentils. They were both pretty great. The lentils one was more “traditional” in a way, with its salty, fatty goodness preparing the palate for the main course. The apples and co was a markedly more unique take on the dish, with layers of sweetness underlying each mouthful.

The duck confit wasn’t quite as remarkable, though it wasn’t overly salty the way it’s usually served in KL. A decent dish, especially for the price.

The half chicken though, god damn. It would be the platonic ideal of roast chickens if not for the meat being slightly undercooked around the bone (sous vide pls). The jus is horribly addictive, the meat delightfully salted and tender, and all this is without the usual plethora of herbs and spices. This is unadulterated chicken at its best.

Day Four

Keisuke Tonkotsu King at Orchid Hotel. It’s called the King for a reason.

As a side note: Orchid Hotel seems to have plenty of Japanese places (yakitori, sushi etc) alongside Keisuke ramen, I wonder if they’re as good!

This is the gold standard of ramen to me (having never been to Japan). It’s a hole in the wall that serves unlimited eggs, bean sprouts and sesame seeds to go with your ramen. And boy oh boy, what a bowl of ramen it is.

Bankara dishes out the best ramen in Malaysia IMO but this outstrips it by quite a considerable margin. The broth is thick, heavy, oily, almost unforgivingly heady. The noodles are chewy (may be best to go for the ‘hard’ option). The pork is succulent and melts away at the lightest touch.

It’s very, very good.


Cool Places

  • The Projector
  • Teppei Syokudo
  • Keisuke Tonkotsu King
  • Books Actually
  • Plain Vanilla
  • Saveur

Places to Visit During My Next Trip:

  • Sarnies
  • Open Farm Community
  • Pantler
  • 28 Hong Kong Street
  • Chye Seng Huat
  • Ah Bong’s Italian
  • Littered With Books
  • Lepark
  • Cat Socrates
  • Fatcat Ice Cream Bar
  • Gastrosmiths
  • Dehesa
  • Twins Korean
  • Drips Bakery

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