Monday, July 31, 2017


Tian Tian Chicken Rice [Maxwell Food Center]

What is more Singaporean than chicken rice, and what better place to have it than Tian Tian's?

That of course is so unplanned, just a random thing as we foraged for a late dinner, and I was actually there for the beer than anything else.

But the next day's lunch was no fluke as the jewels of of the Imperial Treasure Noodles and Congee House were presented to prelude a feast of heirloom Chinese dishes. 

Back to the chicken rice, the rightful term is Hainanese chicken rice since the dish originated from Hainan province's Wenchang chicken which eventually made it's way to Singapore where it has become a national dish.

It is in some ways similar to the New Bugis Street's transformation from being Albert Street and erstwhile epicenter of a regular transgender culture to what is now billed as the largest shopping street in Singapore. 

In other words, Singapore is emerging to be a harmonious blend of the old [colonial houses] amidst the new [gleaming highrises]. 

It was Jo's mission to buy something and Oskar's familiarity with the city-state that brought us to Bugis which led us to the golden domed Masjid Sultan, the centerpiece of Kampong Glan, and to a discreet corner tea shop where we refresh ourselves with Teh Tarik prepared by a barista who seemed to pull the milk tea between two vessels.

At nearby Haji Lane, we ogled at street art and tested craft beer at Good Luck Beerhouse which sounds funny in the Filipino context, like husbands going home late from sleazy beerhouses to angry waiting wives, so good luck!  

At Chinatown's Food Street, we got overwhelmed by the options and ended up in the wrong place.

Fatty Weng's Restaurant may have a significant place in Singapore's culinary history but their seafood noodle is flat, their alleged best-selling honey-glazed pork ribs is too sweet, and I don't really like tocino.

Banana Leaf Apollo [54 Race Course Road]

Day 2.5 found us lunching at Banana Leaf, Singapore's oldest Indian restaurant, where Thomas Thomas scratched my itch to sample fish head curry, another must-try in Singapore at least as far as my understanding of KF Seetoh is concerned, which was presumably invented in Singapore by an Indian chef to capture a share of the dining Chinese who have a propensity for fish heads.   

There were two heads and I ate all four eyes of them, that is why I was having double vision while exploring Chinatown one final time, everything so clear that I discerned that one single line [South Bridge Road] connecting three major religious centers in Singapore: the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple of the Chinese, the Sri Mariamman Temple of the Hindus, and the Masjid Jamae of the Muslims.  

They were all there in peaceful co-existence in that stretch of Chinatown that also lead to the rowdy Street Market of bargain items of all sorts although my extra-powerful vision pierced through all that to an almost deserted street corner bar where I found Oskar's lost craft beer joint.

And that's [almost] it, a concluding two pints of cold Archipelago Brewery liquid gold and a free Tiger Beer mug from the friendly bartender to top my extraordinary quest for chicken rice and fish head curry.  

Epilogue at the Sidcor Sunday Market [Eton Centris]

But there's more from the chicken rice and fish head curry of course, like Bicolano and Ilokano food stalls at a Sunday market just across the big street from my Manila abode.

There, Bulan had dinakdakan in lieu of the steamed chicken, and Italian sausages in place of the fish head.

And did I went back for a second on a pork barbecue with a burnt-out stick, an acidic kilaweng kambing, and chewy ube ice cream.  

The best part though is the French and Dutch beer moment with Bulan, and that's no chicken shit or fishmonger's tale.

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