kc goes to singapore
Last year was “one of those” birthdays. A birthday that ends in 0, which are supposed to bring on senses of panic, angst and crisis. I’ve never been big on the drama, so I figured why not make it something to REALLY look forward to. Something that I’m counting down the days in anticipation and not in dread. And what would help me do that? A trip! I booked Mr. KC and me onto the trip I’ve always wanted to take–safari in Tanzania, followed by beach time in Zanzibar. And the icing on the cake? An extended layover in Egypt to see the pyramids.
It was an incredible trip and the best birthday present I’ve ever given myself. The birthday came and went, but Mr. KC and I both realized that there’s something to taking 2 weeks off at the end of January to make off for somewhere warm and sunny. So, when I received a promo email from Lufthansa advertising ridiculously low rates to Singapore, we decided that it was time to make our first trip to Asia. 10 minutes later we were both booked to Singapore with plans to use it as a means of getting to Cambodia. Best birthday tradition ever.
So, while Singapore was in many ways a glorified layover, we still had time to take in the sights and even more importantly, the tastes. With layovers at both the beginning and the end, we had 2 nights, 1.5 days which was enough to cram in some good eats.
Our first night we managed to stay awake long enough to wander down to the Marina to get a seat outdoors for an order of chili crab.
85 degrees, outdoor seating, seafood, lime and coconut juice, we were in heaven. Sadly, neither Mr. KC nor I were terribly skilled at taking apart our crab. While the crab was fantastic, we spent more our our time trying to get at the meat rather than enjoying it. Imagine our surprise as we’re leaving and a waiter is taking care of this for the table next to us. Hmmm, good to know for the next time.
On our way back from Cambodia, we had another evening and full day. Perfect. Enough time to take advantage of the fact that it was the Chinese New Year and enjoy some dim sum. We started the day at a restaurant known for its dumplings in…a mall. Coming from a country where mall food=Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen, this took a little bit of sucking it up on my part. I’m glad I did. Those dumplings, with their 18 perfect folds. Hip hip for mall food.
Dozens of dumplings later, we made our way to Chinatown to enjoy the New Year festivities.
As we were getting ready to leave, we decided to try durian, the infamous “stinky fruit”. I’ve heard a lot of talk about durian, but generally, most of what I hear is this “It smells horrific, but the taste is rather interesting.” Interesting=equally horrific, if not more so. I will save you the photo montage that tracks the look of horror that morphs into a look of disgust which ends in a look of “where’s the nearest trash can, I may not be able to keep this thing down.” Needless to say, I’m not joining the durian fan club any time soon and I quickly came to appreciate these signs that I kept seeing all over the subway system in Singapore. I wonder if the fine is so high, they couldn’t fit all the zeros. Probably.
After each eating half a tin of cinnamon mints, we set off to the only thing that could really take care of the durian after-taste.
Next stop: the Post Bar of the Fullerton Hotel, allegedly the place where the Singapore Sling was originally invented (at the time it was the Raffles Hotel). What’s a trip to Singapore without one of these? It was the perfect way to end the day, and a nice way to relax before heading back to the airport for our 13-hour flight back to Europe.
Using Priceline‘s bidding system, we landed two hotels in the Orchard Road area for $85/night. Given that Singapore is not known for being cheap, I felt like we really lucked out. Both hotels were great, but the Hilton was definitely better than the Marriott.
581 Orchard Road
320 Orchard Road
Most of these were taken straight from our guidebook, so it’s nothing “off the beaten track”. With that said, the food was great. Don’t resist checking out the endless food courts of the malls. They’re pretty amazing.
Din Tai Fung (dim sum): I’m still dreaming about their dumplings. Lovely! Paragon mall and other locations.
No Signboard Seafood : We went to their location on the Esplanade our first night and it was perfect. Warm weather, waiting outside and even live entertainment in the form of the cheesiest singer ever. The only thing that made it better was the chili crab served up.
Durian pancake stand: Can’t give a website or an exact location for that matter, but it’s directly outside the subway stop for Chinatown. Please don’t go. And if you do go, I’ll deliver my “I told you so” in advance.
Post Bar: We chose to go here after stopping in at the Raffles and seeing a whopping $24 price tag on their Singapore Slings. While the Post Bar wasn’t much better we reasoned 1) it didn’t break that really strong mental barrier of $20 and 2) technically speaking, it was invented at this location and not the site of the new Raffles hotel. Either way, it was a beautiful bar and they served up the biggest bowl of steak-cut fries I’ve seen in a long time.