Monday, December 10, 2012

Night time walk around Singapore

One of my favourite things to do when traveling in a new city is to go explore it late at night. I love late night walks, when most of the tourists have retreated to popular night spots and the streets have emptied. Singapore has a wonderful Promenade by the water with a fantastic skyline which is crowded with tourists in the day but completely empty at night with fabulous lights shining brightly in the water.

I walked with Megs and Rahul around the entire Promenade slowly taking in buildings, listening to Meg's stories about the time she worked in Singapore. She explained the history and the significance of the skyline. I guess it was just wonderful walking with my best friend taking in little details of the night. I was grateful that Rahul and her walked with me so late at night with barely anyone around. Once we got to the massive towers that balance a ship on top (the view from the top I hear is outstanding with an infinity pool and gardens in the sky), I saw the alien like structures of the Gardens by the Bay. I decided to go across the various connecting bridges and walk through the alien structures. Here I was, one in the morning, standing under these giant mystical and slightly out of this world forms. As Meg's explained that I probably liked these crazy supertrees is because they reminded me of my project in school- a whimsical and seemingly impossible home for an alien and a human. Though highly criticized, The Gardens by the Bay, are quite amazing.  For a country as small as Singapore, it continually invests in making beautiful public spaces, free to its people, for recreation that would capture their imagination. Gardens by the Bay is in its 1st phase, it probably has several years to go before all the plants grow on the structures and the vision is fully realized.

So before I get carried away telling you about all the things going on in my mind that very very late at night, let me share the photographs I took that night.

Perfect song for this magical city walk. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kaya toast, a slab of butter and some half boiled eggs

You would think I would know something about this popular Singaporean / Malaysian breakfast by now. But I did not till I sat at a little cafe chain called Toast Box after hours of walking through Bugis Junction Mall in Singapore and watched a young couple dip toast in half boiled eggs. They seemed like they had poured soya sauce and pepper in their eggs and the toast was thickly laden with butter and a jam. I was intrigued to the point I was unashamedly staring at them eat their snack. Seemingly breakfast food, people were ordering this late into the evening. Who says breakfast should only be eaten in the morning.

So the next morning I got my own Kaya Toast and coffee from Toast Box. I did not venture the half boiled eggs yet. And then that afternoon I stopped by another local cafe and bought the set breakfast for lunch. Yes and this time with the boiled eggs and soya sauce and pepper and all. It was quite interesting. The coffee in Singapore was outstanding. The best filter coffee I have had yet.
So what is Kaya toast. Well its a jam like spread made of coconut, eggs and sugar. Its got that warm curstardy taste to it. Its offset by a generous helping of salty butter on freshly toasted bread. Its like a bite of heaven in your mouth. It goes perfectly well with coffee.

Kaya toast became a popular breakfast in Singapore and Malaysia when local Hainanese people who worked on British ships serving jam and toast for breakfast adapted it into their own diet. So instead of serving toast with fruit preserves they made their own local version of coconut jam called Kaya.

I have to say, I loved this breakfast so much I had a Kaya toast almost every morning with my cuppa joe. At Toast Box, they several different kinds of toasts - I tried something called a Floss toast which is basically pork shavings on the Kaya served on a thick slice of bread. Yes you heard me right- pork shavings. Its an interesting combination - think bacon and syrup. They had a peanut butter too that seemed very popular but I did not try. I wish I had more time and more mornings in Singapore to lap it all up.
freshly baked bread, coffee and lots of eggs
Superb coffee
A slab of butter sandwiched between Kaya slathered toast
True to their word, the coffee was outstanding and so was the toast
the half boiled egg
Half boiled egg, soya and pepper. Not a bad combination
More Kaya toast
Delightful cup of coffee
Floss on toast and coffee and eggs
Oh yes! Half boiled goodness. Getting a hang of this breakfast
Floss toast: light shredded pork on Kaya toast- sweet and salty
Eggs once more
Peanut butter pastry
Some more cold coffee

The perfect breakfast song