Long Weekend in Singapore
6th June to 9th June 2008
The Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival meant a work free Monday so it was off to Singapore we went. Really an opportunity to catch-up with mates, it was also good to visit some sights we hadn't previously seen. A nocturnal adventure at the Night Safari was a highlight, as was a morning spent frolicking on Sentosa Island while trying to avoid an obnoxious hangover. Singapore of course presented plenty of opportunities to eat and drink.
Many similarities could be drawn between Singapore's food scene and what happens here in Hong Kong. There are lots of great local places offering unique food at bargain prices, but also an upper crust of restaurant's who charge the earth and spend way too much effort worrying about how they look.
Heading to the local Italian seems to be a tradition where ever you are and for many in Singapore I gather the local Italian is Pizzeria restaurant de Mario. This little place tucked away on Robertson Quay is fantastic. The big serves of traditional food are well made and packed full of quality ingredients. My serve of spaghetti with crab, tomato and mushrooms was excellent. This place also scores extra points for its low-key atmosphere and reasonable prices.
For me a visit to Singapore isn't complete without at least one stop at Little Indian. It's an absolute gem of a place that counters all the stereotypes of Singapore's boring conformity. Naomi stocked up on Indian bangles, while I went shopping for poppadums before we randomly chose Serangoon Kaaraikudi Banana Leaf Restaurant for lunch. This place was packed with locals and the friendly waiter served us each a pile of food that was almost as big as the restaurant's name. The rice, chutney, dhal, vegetables and chicken curry was tasty, authentic and a good example of what Little India has to offer.
Too, Too, Too Many Drinks
OK food's done, now for a drink. One thing I did notice about Singapore was that it seems to be lacking coffee. There are a few branches of the big chains around, but even these are pretty scarce. Finding a decent cafe and a decent cup of decent espresso is strangely difficult for a city of Singapore's size and international flavour.
Saturday night was a mission to catch up with an old school buddy; someone I hadn't seen for twelve years. Nights like this always seem to involve a few drinks so we hit the bars of Clarke Quay. The Disneyland like carnival atmosphere of this 'entertainment zone' was enhanced by a bungee jump, costumed waiters from ridiculous themed bars and crowds of camera wielding sightseers. After wandering indecisively we ended up in one of the many bars where plenty of gin and tonics and a good outside table resulted in a fun night. Though I enjoyed myself, Clarke Quay wasn't really for me; the drinks were ultra expensive and the bars wrapped up in too much ego to be really pleasant.
Sunday was all about recovery and Sentosa Island was the place for it. After the enthusiasm of Saturday night's drinking a day on the beach was just what the doctor ordered. After some excellent frisbee and a little dip we wandered along the beaches and palm lined tracks and ended up at KM8. This beach bar was the perfect place to chill; good tunes, beers and bar snacks resulted in a relaxed afternoon, the only problem being the staff who seemed even more relaxed then the punters.