Archives for the month of: October, 2013

I like to think I’m quite adventurous about what I eat but actually, I’m not. So far I’ve had some wonderful food and I’ve avoided what is possibly still wonderful food, I just have no intention of eating it. Ever.

The first – Yes, it’s the fish head curry. I’m sure it’s delicious and it’s a local speciality. This place is always packed and I keep telling myself to go and experience it but then that little voice in my head sings…. Pop goes the eyeballs.

fish head curry

The second is another speciality restaurant that we see as we stroll to the shops. There are two tanks outside – one is full of live crabs (Chill crab, don’t mind if I do!), the other is full of frogs. The kids think these are pets and Ned is quite keen to keep one in the shower. I don’t have the heart to tell him they are the key ingredient in Frog Porridge. It almost sounds like you’d eat it in a michelin starred restaurant as a taste sensation and not in a backstreet cafe for breakfast. Either way I’m going to complete my time in Singapore without consuming a frog or keeping one as a pet.

When I was in Japan I was taken out by one of my lovely group of ladies that lunch (and study English conversation really half-heartedly) and they insisted I ate a live sea urchin as part of a posh lunch. I’ve never quite recovered. I definitely remember drinking barrels of beer to wash it down, and then singing a lot of karaoke and after that it all fades into a distant hazy fishy drunken memory.

On the flipside

One of the best things I’ve eaten here is at a chain of restaurants called Din Tai Fung. (This chain is also in New York and Australia making it less exotic as I write). It serves Taiwanese steamed buns amongst other things called xiaolongbao. I was taken here by Aly from Thailand and her gorgeous mother when she visited Singapore from Chiang Mai. There are some people in life that are real ‘ladies’, proper ladies, and Aly’s mother is one of them. When we entered the restaurant you can see the chefs preparing these tiny buns ready to steam. Our conversation went roughly like this.

Aly’s mum: I wish someone had told me how to eat these when I first came here as I totally didn’t know what to do!
Me: (Feeling very suspicious that there was going to be a sea urchin involved) What’s the deal?
Aly’s mum: Well I was hungry and popped the whole thing in my mouth and bit it. And you know they very cleverly insert soup in to it so I scalded my mouth and ran around the restaurant screaming. We’ll get Aly to show you how to eat them as I’m a bit clumsy at it.
Me: Aly, how do I eat the soupy bun without squirting it over your mum?

So it transpires that you lift it delicately out of the steamer into your spoon where you then carefully insert your chopstick into it piercing the bun. The soup then streams onto your spoon. You then sip the soup and eat the bun. Delicious! And in all the countries I’ve visited no one has ever told me how not to make a total arse of myself in public so beautifully.

dai tai fung

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We’ve been away – more on that later but I’ve saved a few of my more choice moments from the last few months. Enjoy.

#1

I was in little Giant. As opposed to big Giant where the other stressful shopping trip occurred.
The kids love little Giant as it’s round the corner, we can walk there and it doesn’t involve hordes of people. It then usually involves a wander to Hoppity’s, our favourite ice cream shop.
I was on my own (a rare thing) and needed a few bits and bobs. I have one of those trolleys that you pull along behind you. What a look eh? I don’t have a car in Singapore so am embracing my practical side. My practical side hates me.

In the queue and minding my own business I lugged my basket onto the till and started to open the trolley. The very nice checkout lady busied herself and I busied myself. Another octogenarian (could have been nonagenarian) was wheeled up behind me with either her helper or granddaughter at the helm.

“54 dollars and 80 cents” said the checkout lady
“How much?” said the old granny
“It’s not our shopping” said the helper
“No it’s her shopping and she’s spent too much” said the granny
“You’re speaking in English!” said the helper (also in English) slightly mortified.
“So” said the Granny giving me a look up and down.
“She’s spent too much, she should look at her basket and put stuff back” announced the granny
I give the old granny a hard stare.
“Does she have children?” said the granny
“I don’t know” said the helper – now looking like she would like to be anywhere else.
“Yes” I said thinking I may as well join in the conversation about my shopping.
“Hmph, she has too much food.”
“I’m not going to eat it all in one go y’know” wondering why on earth I’m engaging in with this.
“Hmph” Not sure how one can write a snort that sounds disbelieving.
“Are her children big, as big as…….”
“Right now, granny, outside….” I mutter, slightly murderously.

#2

Ned “Mummy, on UN day, Oliver is getting to go as Peter Pan!”
Me “You have to represent your country Ned so he can’t just dress up.”
Ned (slightly irritated by my lack of understanding) “ He IS doing his country, he comes from Neverland”.
Me “I don’t know quite how to break this to you Ned, but he comes from The Netherlands, not Neverland”.
Ned “Oh, that IS disappointing”.
Me “Yes, it is a bit.”

And lastly, #3

We live on the third floor, it’s actually the second floor because in SE Asia you don’t have a ground floor – are you following? Right.

During the week our condo is very quiet with everyone out at work or school and apart from the helpers hanging out washing or pottering to the shops it’s lovely and quiet. So, when I got into the lift and thought ‘my top is on inside out’ I then thought ‘oh I’ll just whip it off in the lift and put it on the right way, what are the chances of someone wanting the lift?’

Quite high as it happens…..

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