Showing posts with label singapore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label singapore. Show all posts

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Durian, from Indonesia to Singapore

Among all the sticky fingers and durian burps came the anticipated question: Should we get another one?
Our tummies were full, we seemed to vacillate but we all knew the answer: Yes.

Fruits. They're what you grab at grocery stores and farmer's markets, to be eaten as snacks or accompaniments to your meal. Garnishes, palate cleansers. But not durian. In Singapore, durian sellers have set up tables and chairs. They will open the fruits up for you to enjoy right there and then.

Butter Durian
This practice is spreading to part of Indonesia, too, like in Medan. I think this is partly for two reasons. One is that the stinky fruit is banned from public transportation like MTA and buses in Singapore, so it's harder to buy and take them home. Second, unlike berries that you'd eat as snacks, when you eat durian, you want to eat them.

You may think all durians are alike, but once you land in Singapore you'll realize you're wrong. There are as many varieties of durian as there are in the family of oranges/clementines/tangerines! One of the more popular is the butter durian (pictured above), smaller but sweeter than the durian monthong from Thailand. A box like the one above was S$10. The durian sellers can also tell you which ones are sweet vs "bitter" (they're not really bitter but has more of a subtle bitterness or more fermented taste underneath the sweetness). How? I have no idea until I eat them, but somehow they can. This isn't variety dependent but is a characteristic of each fruit.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Singapore Slinging at The Long Bar, Raffles Hotel (Singapore)

The Singapore Sling is now more than just the country's national drink. Most of the Singapore Slings served around town are made with mixers, and sometimes even from dispensers. Souvenir shops sell Singapore Sling mixers and even Singapore Sling flavored chocolates. The drink was first created by a Hainanese-Chinese bartender at the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel, Ngiam Tong Boon - supposedly in 1915. A famous cocktail by a Chinese bartender! I never had the chance to come here when I visited Singapore with my family, so since I'm spending half the day solo, I decided that I'm due for it.


The historic Raffles Hotel is a beautiful space, a respite from the busy, noisy streets of Singapore.

You can take the elevator, escalator, or stairs up to the second floor, where the Long Bar is now located. The bar was busy at 4 in the afternoon, but even though the tables were full, the fans slowly waving on the ceilings gave it a relaxing atmosphere.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Missing Laksa in LA ...Out of Luck?

There isn't much in the way of Singaporean food in LA. So what do you do when you're craving it? Would you hold out or would you try your luck?

The Singaporean restaurants I know of are only Singapore Express, and Banana Leaf. Since I was heading to the 3rd St Farmer's Market for the fruit juices at Eple anyway, I wondered if I should try out Banana Leaf. A majority of their menu is decidedly Indonesian, like "nasi goreng"/fried rice etc. Being Indonesian I can't justify my eating Indonesian food at a Singaporean restaurant, especially with Simpang Asia so nearby.

I've been craving, but wasn't sure if I should try my luck here, but in the end I did anyway. Here's a bowl of Laksa from Banana Leaf: Now, the last time I had laksa was what, IMHO, the best katong laksa in Singapore: 328 Katong Laksa. So how does Banana Leaf's Laksa compare? Well ... it's not bad, but it really doesn't. I thought the soup was not bad and they add an adequate amount of the chili sauce, but it was just full of fishballs. While katong laksa contains the right amount and proportion of shrimp, squid, and fish sticks, Banana Leaf's laksa contains a bit of tofu and a whole lot of fish balls ... I like their bean sprouts touch, but otherwise it doesn't quite do it for me. Oh, and it's missing the coriander.

I guess when you're really craving laksa, it's a decent bowl to tide you over until you can make it down to Singapore. This part of the world is sadly underrepresented in LA, hopefull that will change one day ..

Singapore's Banana Leaf

6333 W 3rd St # 122
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 933-4627

Singapore's Banana Leaf on Urbanspoon
Singapore's Banana Leaf in Los Angeles

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