Monday, August 11, 2008

It's Colonial Day!

I didn't intend it to be so, but my day just unfolded that way.

First up, a visit to the Botanical Gardens and the National Orchid Garden. At 8:30 AM it was bearable if I stayed out of the sun. The orchids were colorful and exotic. I'm glad I went, but really, I was just killing time before lunch. Gardens are nice, but they just don't excite me the way random stalls of street food do. Two hours later, I was ready to make my 10 minute walk to Dempsey Hill for some curry. Ten minutes has never felt longer. As I walked, I wished it would rain. But it didn't. Instead, the cheerful sun kept beating down on me. I told myself I would treat myself to a soda with lunch and kept walking.

Somehow, I dragged myself to Samy's Kitchen at last. There, I was treated to some delectable Indian food, served at round tables on a veranda overlooking a grassy hill. The waiter brought my selections over in buckets, and ladled wonderful dal and lamb curry on the banana leaf. I even had green beans, my first veg in a day! The food was intensely flavored, fiery, and seemingly innocuous, until I wanted to cry from the heat. Was is the humidity or the spice that made me want to cry? I'm still not sure. But I loved it! A good meal, worth the punishing walk.

Later in the day, to high tea at the Raffles Hotel. I had high expectations. Iconic hotel in Asia, where people appreciate teatime. A three-tiered tray of goodies arrived when I sat down. Sandwiches, scones and pastries, none of which were notable, except for the chocolate eclair with the chocolate custard. The food was disappointing to say the least. There was also a Singaporean buffet to accompany the tea, featuring dim sum and other Asian desserts like tofu in a lackluster syrup (I think they forgot the sugar), a nice curry puff, and a bland, though not terrible popiah. As I ate, I kept thinking, "these are wasted calories." The setting was beautiful, all whitewashed and sparkly and dramatic high-arches. The tea in the cute silver pot was piping hot. During my two hour stay I narrowly missed knocking over my table, dropped my silverware to the floor, and generally made a mess. It's a wonder they didn't try to rush me out of the elegant surrounds. I dallied in the dining room and people watched while plotting my next meal. Tomorrow: no more colonial meals!


Blogger Darcy said...

You're in Singapore? I had no idea. I'm so jealous.

You absolutely MUST have some lime juice while you're there (the best is when you can get it served in a plastic bag with a drawstring...). Also, fish head curry is pretty damn awesome, and probably easiest to get at a banana leaf restaurant in Little India.

Stay far away from the durian ice cream, but you knew that. ;)

7:21 PM  
Blogger erica said...

I did try so tofu ice cream. And I checked out the durian-shaped theaters. Does that count?

5:51 PM  

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