Food in Singapore

There are lots of different people in Singapore from all over Asia, so naturally there are lots of different types of food. There is Malaysian food and Indian food and Chinese food. In this article we will be exploring the food in Singapore and finding out all the different dishes. Lucy fell in love with the boiled dumplings she even started calling us my sweet little boiled dumplings!! I called her back dumpling-face. I think that most of the time we ate Chinese. My favorite is like crispy noodles with meat on top. We had beancurd twice and it tastes .. well, it doesn't really taste of anything but its texture is of a very solid jelly. It looks like a piece of toast on the outside but like white jelly on the inside. We had many different dishes. One of the most famous is the boiled chicken and it is as plain as it sounds, served cold!! Weird. Daddy had a VERY, VERY, VERY spicy dish. The lady told him it was extremely spicy but he ordered it anyway. It was worth it to see his face, we all rolled around laughing. I tried to make him eat a spoonful of chilies but he didn't, he ate one chili though but is was cooked so it wasn't very spicy. When you eat Chinese food you always get a little dish of raw chilies green and red. {I would think the food was spicy enough}. Most of the time we ate in hawker markets that are basically lots of stalls and tables and you go and get the food you want. The way to pick the best food is to look for the stall with the biggest queue. 60% of Singaporeans eat at hawker markets every day. Several hawker stalls have even been awarded the Michelin award. Indian food is delicious, I think it is one of my favorite foods. We ate on banana leaves at one place, the Banana Leaf, they had delicious food. Another place we went to was Mr. Puta, I ordered butter chicken and a butter naan and I shared it with Lucy. There is lots of food in Singapore these are just a few types, we ate a lot of sushi too because we were staying above a Japanese supermarket. Durians are fruit that smell really weird, people who like them say they taste nice. But people who don't like them say it tastes like someone doing a poo in your mouth. We ate chicken and chips one lunchtime and it tasted great to have English food for a change. We ate loads of great food in Singapore, I hope the rest of Asia has just as great food.   A hawker stall. DSC02031 Hawker stall food DSC02033 Daddy eating hot Chilies DSC02034 Chips (for a change) and coconut DSC02038 Super spicy!!! DSC02041 Too hot for me!!! DSC02043 Some lovely masala dosa DSC02087 Dumplings, for "Dumpling-face" DSC02095 Smelly durian fruit DSC01981 Chinatown hawker market DSC01964 Lots of yummy coconut DSC01963 Getting coconuts at the hawker market DSC01959 Boiled chicken, chicken rice and coconut DSC01943

Singapore – Start of Asia (sort of)

When you travel like we do you have to stick together as a team. There are 5 members in this team, 4 humans and 1 vehicle. Therefore it seems strange to split up for a while, maybe even rather callous to leave one member behind. Poor thing sitting alone, while the rest of the team jet off hoping that he will catch them up later. We left the truck in Freemantle, near Perth, waiting to catch the ro-ro ship to Singapore. The ship had been exceedingly punctual on its journey around the world (Steve has been cyber-stalking it for the last month) but ended up hanging outside Melbourne for a week. We never found out what delayed it but the knock on affect was that after all that meticulous planning we still had to leave the ship in Australia while we flew to Singapore. This is the 5th time we have shipped the truck between continents and it is the 2nd time we have had to fly out before it leaves by boat. The truck had passed customs and was checked in at the port, so there was nothing for us to do. You've just got to roll with it and hope that when you turn up at the port at the other end that everything is present and correct. For us it was hardly a hardship, Singapore is a wonderful place to spend an extra week. Great food; interesting things to do; nice people; fast wifi;.........did I mention the great food!! - I now understand why it is a national obsession. It was also nice to spread out a bit, we rented a couple of serviced apartments in our time there. After living all in one tiny room 24/7 for 3 years, it was wonderful to have walls between us for a while. We even got time to do those jobs that are usually tricky on the road like going to the dentists, doctors, clothes shopping and getting school resources for the year ahead.DSC01977 DSC02180 DSC02014 DSC01944 DSC02023 DSC01973 To coin a rather corny phrase, Singapore is a great cultural melting pot with a mixture of ethnic Chinese, Indian and European residents. Everyone seems to get on and everything seems to work well. All the signs are in Mandarin, Tamil and English. Our first apartment was more downtown on the river. We made several forays into Chinatown. Steve's old colleague, Katya, who we met for dinner the previous week in Perth had a stop over in Singapore, so we met up with her again. She gamely came with us to a Hawker Market in Chinatown. Hawker Markets are a collection of food stalls, sharing tables for customers and they are everywhere. This being Singapore they are spotless, clean and full of excellent food. Just in this last week, a number of stalls have been given a Michelin star, that is how good they are. The girls and I found a table while Katya and Steve queued up at various stalls for dishes for us to share. Delicious food and lovely to see Katya again. Alisha is writing her first public blog all about the food in Singapore, which we will post straight after this one, so I won't add any more.DSC01967 DSC01957 Chinatown DSC01983 Singapore made for a great first stop for us in Asia, as well as sampling the different Asian cuisines, there were some great museums highlighting the different cultures. The girls and I first took a serious look around the Asian Civilisations Museum before taking a treasure hunt to look for a missing museum mouse. We also had a lovely afternoon wandering around the district of Little India ending with, you've guessed it, a great meal. We also loved the gardens, even though is modern city with 5.5 million people on a small island, there are lots of pockets of green around. The more formal Botanical Gardens were delightful at the weekend, full of relaxed Singaporeans. The new futuristic Gardens by the Bay blew us away with its 2 huge domes, strange structures and themed areas. The Cloud Forest had a 7 storey high waterfall, you made your way down through the mountain behind and above it, experiencing different biomes. The Flower Dome was meticulously laid out and was full of prizewinning orchids as part of a flower show. Outside the Supertree Grove looked liked it was straight out of a Dr Suess book, with its 4 and 6 storey high "flowers".DSC02086 DSC02083DSC02098 DSC02101 DSC02123 DSC02142 DSC02177 Our second apartment was in a more residential district, as our stay was extended by a week we had to find more accommodation and it was busy. It was fascinating to wander around. The girls and I went to two different churches on the Sundays. It was amazing, the first a Methodist Church had a congregation of 7,000! Every Sunday they have at least 5,000 worshipers spread between 7 services. Even though it was so large, they were very organised so visitors felt very welcomed. The original English style church from a hundred years ago, had been added onto, and added onto, until the whole complex was massive. Trying to find the girls in Sunday School was tricky. We went to the English service but most of the congregation were ethnic Chinese. The same was true for the next Sunday at an Anglican service in our new neighbourhood. Although the congregation was smaller, they were just as friendly.DSC02092 With the temperature fluctuating between the high 20s and low 30s, it was just as pleasant to see things by night as it was by day. We spent an evening out by the Marina Bay. Watching the water and light show in front of the weird and wonderfully shaped Marina Bay Hotel, which has a "boat" suspended on the top of its 3 skyscrapers. From there we walked through the massive, smart shopping centre to the Gardens by the Bay for their light show. It's a testament to Singapore's reputation for cleanliness, that to watch the show that most people lay down or sat on the floor. DSC01996 Marina Bay DSC02212 DSC02202 DSC02192 All the time we were enjoying ourselves in Singapore, Steve has been slaving away getting all the paperwork sorted for Malaysia. We had thought it was a fairly straightforward procedure, until the Malaysian Automobile Association told us they wouldn't issue us with compulsory insurance. Creating a flurry of panic on our side, eventually Steve found another provider. He ended up going over to Johru Baru twice, a town in Malaysia just over the border. First to get the insurance, then a few days later to get the temporary import permit. On his second visit to Malaysia he spent a total of 45 minutes in the country. Mind you he has had 2 more of his passport pages filled up! The other complication is that motorhomes are illegal in Singapore. So the truck isn't even allowed to drive from the port to the border, a distance of less than 15km. We have to employ a tow truck to pull us to the border. The border post is on a huge freeway. As we have an automatic truck, Steve will need to disconnect some things for it to be towed and reconnect it before driving over the border. The girls and I, with all the luggage, will have to meet him somewhere on the freeway/border/who knows?? Thank goodness for mobile phones. Therefore for our last night we moved to our third hotel, just a kilometre from the border, with a marina and a beautiful view of the bridge going over the straits. The girls are looking forward to a swim up curry later. DSC02215 Hopefully all the issues will come together over the next 24 hours, we will be reunited with the truck and we can start to enjoy overlanding in Asia.

Reflections on Australia

Lucy   Australia was fun. Sometimes it was so hot, it felt like we were baking and then one day came when it was so cold and raining that the truck wouldn't start.   Australia is one of the only countries that have marsupials, mammals that have pouches. My favourite is the wallaby, like a kangaroo but smaller and it normally has different markings. I like because it scared Daddy one night in the dark, it touched his hand and he screamed. Wombats are marsupials too but their pouch faces backwards, so the baby doesn't get all mucky when the mummy is digging holes. I like the animals in the seas too: turtles, rays, colourfulfish and corals. I loved swimming with the whale shark it was very big and grey with white markings.   I love Australia, I will be sad to leave it behind. But after all I will still have it in my memory. Alisha   It is rather hard to talk about all 9 months, if I told you about what we did everyday you would still be reading this 2 years later.   My favourite was Sovereign Hill and the history of Australia. My least favourite was the first time we went out on the boat in 1770, as everyone was violently ill. We heard the boat actually sank a few months later but everyone was OK. The Solway Lass boat trip in the Whitsundays trip was so much better because it was calm. It was an old fashioned sailing boat, we helped pull up the sails and we had a nice long sail. Australians are all really friendly, it was nice to speak English and not have to learn another language.   I have found one of the most annoying things in Australia is the mosquitoes and the flies. In the Outback, there are several different types flies, there is one that goes in your eyes, nose and mouth. They want to drink the moisture in there. We bought really stupid looking hats to keep them off of our faces. Gilly It has been a wonderful 8 and a half months doing a circuit of the country, it's hard to summarise the country properly in a few short paragraphs. From the coast to the outback, the scenery is absolutely awe inspiring. Of course the Aussies themselves, make it a great place too. Friendly; laid back; straight talking; and passionate about their country without being inward looking. Catching up with old friends has also been a joy. With a shared language; partially shared culture; great food and drink and easy camping (the wikicamp app has even the most remote wild camping spots mapped out) it has been an easy 8 months overlanding. The Aussies are great campers and love being outdoors. There are lots of Grey Nomads (retired Australians) usually in caravans, spending years travelling around the country. In some places like the Kimberleys the travellers must have outnumbered the locals by a thousand to one. You can understand why there are so many people on the road, what a great way to spend your retirement. They may have long ago got rid of the £10 Pom scheme but pockets of the country seem to be almost entirely populated by recently arrived Brits. I can see why emigrating Down Under is so attractive. I love the fact that Australians "call a spade, a spade". Top End, Red Centre all accurately describe their locations. It also applies to products to: "Start Ya Bastard" for a spray to start a car in the cold. Alisha made a list of some of her other favourite place names: Dead Horse Creek, Hangover Bay and Useless Loop. The differences between the Outback and the Urban areas is distinct. They could be entirely different countries and it is not only the difference between Indigenous and Western cultures. Personally I've come to love the Outback over the last few months although I'm still not sure I could live there full time but the sense of space is extraordinary and good for the soul. We have absolutely loved our 8 months in Australia, I'm sure we will be back. Steve We are really glad we spent so long in Australia. It's a fantastic country and there is an amazing amount to see. Looking back for me it's like three different countries. The first is the major cities (there are only five of them) which are like cosmopolitan international cities you find in many parts of the world. The second is what I would call small town Australia. These reminded me a lot more of England and like small towns anywhere in the world had their only little nuances. And then the third is the Outback which is very different. The Outback is just so vast and the distances between places is huge. The scenery varies from some amazing sights to just flat and boring but you really get the feel of been in the middle of nowhere. Camping under the stars there was amazing. The scale and size of the Outback defies belief. Whilst most places are extremely remote there is still a tourist infrastructure as many Australians as well as foreigners are out there travelling and camping. And who can blame them when it is so magnificent. To put it in perspective we drove 15,000kms and in that time only passed through 2 towns with a population of more than 40,000. Australia is a huge country but with a low population and even then most of the population lives in the main cities and along the East Coast. To put it in perspective it's nearly the size of the US but with less than 10per cent of the population. It is an easy country to travel around and has meant we have started to take things for granted. Camping was easy with a mixture of wild camping, camping in beautiful national parks as well as campgrounds everywhere. Shopping and getting supplies was easy and it was nice to be able to buy some British staples such as pork sausages and marmite. Each state had its own fantastic stand out features: we loved the Flinders Range in South Australia; the Alps and Great Ocean Road in Victoria; all of Tasmania; Sydney in New South Wales; the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland and the Red Centre in the Northern Territories but if I had to pick my favourite state it would be Western Australia. That state may in some ways be the most "remote" in Australia but it has it all. Great outback up in the Kimberley, the fantastic Ningaloo reef, a wonderful wine region and the most amazing beaches. We also loved Perth, a laid back city with a wonderful setting. Of course it helped that we were so well looked after there. As we travelled around Australia it was great to meet up with both old and new friends. Australians are very welcoming and friendly and this made our time their even more enjoyable. One thing that amused us as we travelled round was the amount of signs there were telling you what you could or could not do or warning you of something. Sign making must be a very lucrative business in Australia. To be honest with common sense most of them were unnecessary. I think other countries also suffer from this "nanny state" mentality but at least the Australians you meet just laugh at it and are a pretty pragmatic bunch.