December 19, 2013

Makan 2013 Day 4: old and new favorites

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I rolled out of bed and decided to take a break from jogging this morning, which meant I was able to shift my eating schedule a little earlier.  I decided to head to one of my old favorites for breakfast.  Ever since the late 90s, every trip to Singapore has involved a visit to Killiney Kopitiam, and it's a ritual that I intend to keep to.  They may not have the best kaya toast in town, but I've been going there for so long there's really no need for me to switch.

I hopped into a cab and headed for the "original" shop on Killiney Road.  I'm due to have a big lunch, so I passed up the opportunity to get my nasi lemak fix this morning in favor of something "lighter"...

French toast - I always get this when I come here.  One piece of battered and fried toast, and you melt a pat of butter over it, then lather it up with the shop's kaya.  Wonderful stuff.  Of course they never give me enough kaya...

Bread toast - a more popular choice, and it's nice that this gets cut up into bite-sized chunks that you can pick up with your fingers.  Love that little pat of butter melting in my mouth!

Kopi C - gotta drink these coffees with condensed milk and sugar every time I'm in Singapore.  Just loading up on the sugar.

Got my breakfast in, so I'm all happy.  To get something specific from a particular location, it wasn't at all surprising that the one-way cab fare I paid to get to the restaurant was more than 3 times the price of my breakfast.  But that happens a lot here in S'pore.

I was pretty excited about our lunch today.  I was trawling the Chubby Hubby site for ideas, and came across Aun's post on Violet Oon's Kitchen.  Seconds after seeing the picture, I was sold.  I called and reserved a table for us.

We arrived at noon, which was a little early.  The space was clean and comfortable, decked out like a tropical version of the classic French brasserie - replete with descriptions of dishes on mirrors on the walls.  This was nice, and now I was looking forward to the food.

Ngo hiang - this is a classic that I always like to try, and here they've cut the roll into pieces before deep-frying.  This made the entire surface area crispy, but also meant a whole lotta oil has been soaked up.  The stuffing is very tasty and tender inside, but I'm not sure I prefer this version... A little too heavy for me nowadays.

Dry laksa - now THIS is why we've come... to try the dish that Chubby Hubby was raving about, since the message from his post seemed to be "get thee to Violet Oon's" or something thereabouts.

Verdict?  YUM!!!!  I love Singaporean laksa (sorry, Penang...) and this is a great variation of the traditional soupy bowl.  Instead of a bowl of soup laden with spices and coconut milk, it's all condensed into a "pesto" that coats the noodles.  You've got prawns, fish cakes and tau poks... and topped with chopped laksa leaves.  Heavenly, and not quite as heavy as a full bowl of soupy laksa.  Oh I'd trek over to Bukit Timah any day for a bowl of this!

Black pepper prawn pasta - I love how they've taken another Singaporean national dish and transformed it.  For those loving the fiery burn of a mouthful of black pepper, this dish is for you.  As with any spicy dishes, the heat gradually builds up on your tastebuds, and in the end all I tasted was black pepper and olive oil.  Very satisfying in that sense.  I guess the arugula is just garnish...

I was kinda full already, thanks to the laksa, but was also determined to try dessert.  I shoulda taken a look at the cakes on the counter before ordering the kuay beng kah with gula melaka and coconut cream.  That's one BIG slice of tapioca cake!  And it ain't no chiffon cake full of air, either.  But hey, drench something in gula melaka and I'll slurp it up... but I only managed to take down about 1/3 of it before giving up and packing the rest.

With our bellies full and needing to walk off some of the calories, we flagged down a cab and headed to Gardens by the Bay.  This is a new attraction that came up post-2008, and somehow I had never been really excited about wanting to see it, although I was more than happy to tag along with the Specialist and BFF.

We entered the first of the two domes - Flower Dome - after the staff scanned the barcodes on our tickets straight off my iPhone.  The air-conditioned space felt a little chilly at first as we adjusted to the lower temperature inside.  I have to admit that I found the space to be amazing.  To bring together all these different species of plants from all over the world and having them housed in a dome with limited space... Most of these are completely new to us, as we don't live and haven't travelled to some of these parts of the world.  Some of these trees are very tall and have taken decades to grow, and I'm sure it took serious effort and a team of highly-trained specialists to care for them.  Very, very cool.  I brought along a couple of lenses and had a field day with my camera.  Poor Specialist and BFF had to put up with me...

Next was Cloud Forest, another interesting experience.  One is greeted by a waterfall immediately after entering, and then walk around the central "mountain" until it's time to take an elevator to the top.  From there you walk on walkways that circle around the "mountain", which gives you a pretty unique experience as you look at plants and trees from different perspectives.

Our legs were getting a little tired, and my Basis was telling me that I'd taken more than 9,000 steps for the day.  We made our way back to the entrance and grabbed a taxi back to our respective accommodations.  Dinner's coming up in a couple of hours...


Gark said...

Kopi C - is coffee with evaporated milk.. not condensed milk :) Sugar optional.

Welcome to Singapore.

Peech said...

Thanks for clarifying! Always had that confused because the "C"...

Derek said...

I prefer toast box for my Singapore breakfast fix! The laksa sounds devine


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