Good morning, oh hazy Singapore,
And then, off we walk about 30 minutes to reach Chinatown. Compared to other Chinatowns I have visited, this feels nearly too clean and organized, all very neat, polite, pretty much the same stuff all over and identical prices. Only the taylors, after seeing the shirt I am wearing, are trying to get me into their shops and then their prices for silk shirts magically dwindle from 69$ to 30$ within a few minutes, because I keep saying ‘no’ since I really do not need another shirt (well, maybe .. )
We move along and pass by this colorful hindu temple (Sri Mariamman Temple) which shows up in all tour guides and documentaries:
And we arrive at Maxwell Food Centre at the perfect time of 11:15AM, but there is already a huuuge line at Tian Tian, which is famous for Haianese Chicken Rice, but everything moves along in an orderly fashion and I quickly get a heap of perfectly cooked chicken for 7$ plus chicken broth boiled rice … very tasty indeed, but the whole procedure has somehow taken the soul out of the food, it feels very cookie cutter. I also get a portion of black carrot cake at a different stall, which is nothing compared to the Western idea of a carrot cake. Very tasty as well and only 3$ for the small portion, which is big enough for both of us.
Time to get going and we visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple for some prayer and reflection, also to escape the sun which, despite the haze, is still burning quite some AND we are basically ON the equator, I am fairly certain I got burnt despite sunscreen, and all the hats I looked at at the shops were too small …
The idea was to get back to the hotel for some down time, but my new return route brought us to Clarke Quay, which on Sunday lunch time appears rather mellow, looks like the main action here happens at night. We found this fountain in the middle and were very happy to get wet.
(In fact, he is slightly traumatized by the frequency of UniQlo visits he has to endure with us when we are in Japan, but most of his clothing comes from here)
And then instead of walking around Fort Canning Park, we went straight through it, which means a lot of steps, as it actually is a hill, which used to be a fortification in the past. It is now a very popular lunch spot, we saw a place being set up for a wedding and there is a big art center in the middle of it (oh, and then ruins from the 14th century)
But that was really it (for now) .. break time!
While Clarke Quay is really nice for an evening stroll and offers all kinds of restaurants and cuisines, it feels very fake, like a theme park for wanna be foodies. I did not even look much at the menus, fearing tourist rip off pricing, but it still is a nice area to stroll around and Julius just had to stop at that fountain again and got even more wet this time!
We then went to our pre-selected fall-back option dinner wise and had each a nice steaming bowl of pretty good Japanese ramen! Based on a chicken broth called “Toripaitan soup”, we got both spicy and non-spicy with an extra egg. Delicious, but of course it is still not Bakatare (2 more months … ) … but even Ritsu said, when she saw the pictures, that it looks very authentic. And according to their website this broth is really difficult to cook and takes 5 hours to make every day.
While a delicious dish, other than the spring onion garnish, NO vegetable to speak off. We need to go get salad tomorrow!
Nice stroll back through the balmy air and we heard thumping music and found a free heavy metal concert on an open air stage not far from our hotel. Julius listened intently and tried his best head banging impression (which goes great with his long hair) but after 15 minutes he said ‘I think this is for bigger kids…’
Thus happy having had a day full of adventure and experiences, we returned to our hotel.