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Friday, December 24, 2010

Singapore: Hawker's Food Centres and Iggy's

 We were off to Singapore for Christmas and of course, we wanted to sample the local cuisine, as well as the best that Singapore  has to offer (or so says the Miele Guide anyway). Overall, Singapore reminded me of Toronto for some reason. Maybe it was the flatness of the land, or the wide roads, or the business district that empties at night, not quite sure... I would import a few things from Singapore to Hong Kong if I could; true multiculturalism (as opposed to Hong Kong's self-segregated 4% non-Chinese population), politeness & etiquette (face it Hong Kongers, you have no manners), clean-air.
Anyhow, I digress. Back to the food...

First hawker's food market we visited, Lau Pa Sat, right in the business district.






The char kway teow we tried at Lai Heng char kway teow; fried rice noodles, cockles, bean sprouts. Meh, not expensive but, well, not all that great either. Kinda tasted "brown" to me.


...we then tried some satays. Kinda on the dry side. Had better...

Ok, now, 3rd time lucky right? Some Hainaneise chicken? Not bad, the chicken was ok and the rice nice and fragrant. But again, the big deal is the cheap price rather than the taste. Overall, we were quite disappointed with the food there (3 different stalls)

We went to the Raffles Hotel for a quick visit...

... in Singapore, we just had to try a Singapore Sling at its birth place.

Now, this was honestly the single most disgusting drink I ever had in my life. It's not even your typical cold-medicine tasting fruity drink but a rather nasty tasting concoction that reminded me of some 5th grade chemistry experiment gone wrong.

I wouldn't brag about it... but then again, maybe that's what Singapore Sling are supposed to taste like. Never had one before. Yuck. Just thinking about it gives me the shivers.

We stayed at the Mandarin Oriental. Great location and the morning buffet, including in our package, was amazing. Great variety, great taste, bellies full for the day.



328 Katong Laksa. They have a few outlets in Singapore. I had to try their Laksa; I love Laksa. It was OK. The one at Singapore Restaurant in Ottawa (Canada) is better! Go figure.

We had planned this night to Iggy's for a while; being ranked one of the top 50 in the world (#28 on 2010's http://www.theworlds50best.com) got our attention. First in Asia according to Miele's Guide. Food was very good, no question about that. However, 28th in the world? I don't know. My experience at Lucas Carton in Paris, L'Atelier Joel Robuchon in Vegas (not the HK one!), Jean-Georges in New York, and Ferrera in Montreal were better: more layers in the flavors, better combination of tastes. Don't get me wrong though; this is definitely world-class eating.

Amuse-bouche of flavored butter ice-cream.

Foie-gras lollipops.


Iggy's lair...

Kohada fish; tomato, clementine peel, mango, quinoa, beet. Simple, fresh. The clementine peel is genius; not sour, perfect complement.



Fresh mini-baguettes. I had... 3...

Hokkaido scallop; bacon, celery, granny smith. What's with the foam? That's the bacon! Molecular cuisine; funky but it didn't add anything to the taste. All fluff if you want my opinion (pun intended).

Needle fish; garlic, dill, shallot. Bit bland.

Raviolo; duck, yam, egg. Quite good.

Wagyu strip loin; baby leeks, radish, rosemary. Very good. Although I think the Kobe beef we had in Tokyo was a bit better.

Vacherin Mont D'Or; Yukon gold potato, mache. Cheese!

Iggy's pop; strawberry, vin cotto, gorgonzola. Meh.

Winter; chestnut, coconut, coffee, lemon. Meh.
All-in-all, I'd like to go again on a non-Christmas day. I liked the food but I wanted to love it. Might be that the expectations were too high.

May in tea-heaven at TWG Tea in Ion Orchard's mall. Worth a detour for tea-lovers. You can sit and have high-tea.

We were curious; tons of ice-cream stands selling little bricks of ice cream wrapped in bread. Bottom line? It was ordinary bread and ordinary ice-cream. Oh well, it was still ice cream and 28 degrees out.



Another food centre, another try at Hainanese chicken. Better this time but maybe we should have tried the expensive Hainanese at Chatter Box. We were left a bit underwhelmed with the famous Singaporean poultry dish.

Iggy's Christmas Gastronomic Menu Dinner
Gastronomic Menu                               2 x $250
Kir Royal                                             1 x $28
Glass Torbreck Wood Cutter Shiraz     2 x $21
Glass Iggy's Reserve Pinot Noir            2 x $37
Aqua Panna                                         1 x $13
Earl Grey Fortune Tea                          1 x $10

Total: SG $785.06 with 10% service charge and 7% GST.

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