My life mantra of “only go places where you know people” is basically how we ended up in Singapore for Thanksgiving last year (also how many Thanksgiving have I spent abroad so far? 9 now? Sorry, travel > eating turkey and you have my parents to thank for that since they threw me on a plane to Shanghai when I was a 1 year old). The best part of this is I went to visit Tuyet who is currently living there (and whose wedding I went to in Serbia!) and I don’t even have a photo of us?!??! #epicfail #toobusyeating
I usually pride myself on recovering VERY well from jet lag, but I can tell you my trip to Singapore consisted of being awake for 8 hours a day and eating 3-4 noodle dishes and 40 dumplings a day in those 8 hours.
I can’t say that this was one of my favorite places ever (hello Iceland, Bosnia, Egypt, Cambodia, the list probably goes on), mostly due to the fact the thing that sticks out most in my mind is the number of giant malls that are around the city. Every non-hawker stand we ate at was inside a mall.
1. Singapore is a ridiculously clean place – gum is illegal as is expelling mucus out of your nose! It is spotless EVERYWHERE!
2. Malls are everywhere. Luxury malls where every article of clothing is in its exactly perfect location.
3. It’s HOT because it’s by the equator (hot, humid, wet!), thus the malls for everyone to be indoors.
4. Food is not only a way of life, it’s probably life. The hawker stalls are amazing and of course, ridiculously clean for street food. Tian tian chicken at maxwells and Newton for a whole load of spicy seafood and noodles! Pro tip: go to Tian Tian on off hours. If you’re jet lagged this works out perfectly. Our 3pm lunch meant zero people in line.
5. Gardens by the Bay is the best free thing to do! Go at night when they light it up. (Outside is free but it’s enough and a great stroll!)
6. British influence – looking up in Chinatown to see British influenced shop rows!
7. Two dumpling places I tried for xiao long bao: paradise dynasty and Din Tai Fung (both inside malls, obviously). PD had a slightly thicker skin (but not to the point where it seemed like it came from a frozen bag), but Din Tai Fung wins for the beef noodle soup and chili dumplings and a much thinner wrap.
8. A lot more people spoke Chinese than I expected, had to dust off those skills real quick!
9. You know when you’re in Singapore when you feel like you’ve eaten enough food for a year, then get an article from a friend that says “top 52 dishes to eat in Singapore.” 😳
10. Jook (porridge) and Daan tat (egg tart) for breakfast at KFC 👌