SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

September 11, 2010

Hari Raya open house Singapore

Filed under: Food,Singapore,Travel — Alex @ 1:36 pm

September 10th 2010 marked the first day of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Some parts of the world especially in the western world call it Eid. It is a joyous occasion for the Moslem community everywhere in the world. I am however very familiar with the celebration in Singapore.

As a non Moslem, I get to participate too on this special day. My Moslem friend would normally have “open house” where everybody is invited to visit and enjoy special Hari Raya food. The time of visit is normally from 11am – 7pm. It is not written as a rule but everybody kind of know the right time to visit.

This year  I visited my dear friend Marsha and they prepared quite a number of dishes for the guests. Rendang and ketupat is a must for this special day and they are usually known as the Raya food. Back in the days, rendang and ketupat could only be found once a year during the Aidil Fitri. Nowadays you don’t have to wait once a year as they are vendors selling this dishes whole year round.

Since I am old school, eating dishes prepared by your friends is way better than buying it from the shop. Is not because it is free but is that special day that makes eating rendang and ketupat really awesome.

I’ve been slacking with providing more info or recipe and the food that  I’ve been eating in Singapore but I hope to provide all these information one day. However I can provide you some pictures of rendang and ketupat to make you envy.

Ketupat is the square rice cube. The leafy thing is being used to store the rice and cooked in boiling water. At the side is the beef rendang. The big bowl is peanut sauce and it can be eaten with ketupat when beef rendang is not available. I prefer to eat ketupat with rendang when I am really hungry but when mouth is itchy, I’ll just eat it with the peanut sauce. This is something Filipino would really enjoy as ketupat is made of rice.

Thank you Marsha and Joey for inviting me and wish you guys a Happy Hari Raya Aidil Fitri Day.

September 8, 2010

Typical supper food in Singapore

Filed under: Food,Singapore,Travel — Alex @ 6:44 pm

One of the favorite past time in Singapore is having supper with your friends. A meal between 9.30pm – 3am can be considered supper. It is a meal after dinner and when the mouth is itchy, you go for supper. It is not meant for filling up your tummy but more of food tasting kinda meal.

So here are some typical supper food where it is commonly found in food courts all over Singapore. My friends invited me to go for supper as they know I am into food blogging nowadays. I still feel very awkward taking pictures of food and thanks to my buddies who reminded me to snap the pictures of the food before being devoured.

BBQ chicken wings that is best eaten with special chili sauce that came with the wings. These wings are normally marinated with soya sauce and occasionally honey to make it taste a little bit sweet.

I have  no idea what you call this shell in English. We just call this Gong Gong and the texture of this creature is kinda rubbery. It is normally boiled with ginger and then you pluck them out and dip it with the chili sauce. It has some fishy smell to it and basically tasteless. I have no idea why people liked it and my guess is maybe more of wanting to bite on something rubbery like a chewing gum.

This is how gong gong looks like after pulling it off it’s shell.

All time favorite kangkung belacan. In English is known as Morning Glory With Shrimp Paste. Very tasty.

Grilled Mackerel or “Ikan Kembung panggang” in Malay. It is normally cooked with some special mixed of chili paste on a banana leaf to give a fragrant smell to the fish. We actually wanted the grilled stingray instead of this but they ran out of stingray. Sting ray wold be a better choice for this type of cooking as the flesh of sting ray is much softer and smoother. The dipping for this grilled dish is the cencaluk.

Chicken and beef satay. I’m sure by now everybody knows what satay is.

The food court that we went to for this supper excursion was in Pasir Panjang. Not really a big food court but they are quite a bit of selection of noodles, seafood and other types of food as well. Since there’s only the 3 of us, we can only manage to order these few items. Dining in Singapore is best to go in one big group of 10 people. That way you can order more food and share among friends and sample everything. Sometimes foreign friends do get confused with all the sauces that accompany the dishes. To get a good dining experience, you need to use the right sauce for the right dish.

September 5, 2010

Saturday evening in Chinatown, Singapore

Filed under: Food,Singapore,Travel — Alex @ 3:00 am

I can’t wait to make another post as I didn’t want my previous post about bad experience of mine to stay as the first post of my blog. When two friends of mine called me up and asked me to meet for dinner, I suggested that we go to Chinatown  for some really good hot pot.

In recent years, Chinatown Singapore has really become the “real” Chinatown as they are great influx of Chinese People from Mainland China coming to Singapore to set up businesses. So many new restaurant serving authentic Chinese food can be found in Chinatown.

I arrived earlier than my friends so I decided to go snap some pictures and here are some pictures I would like to share it with you guys.

The famous People’s Park Complex, is a popular destination for housewives to go look for great bargains on household items. My mom used to frequent this place long time ago.

The Chinatown main road. You can also see a flyover or bridge in this picture. People like to hang out on the bridge with their friends.

Some really old buildings and the road is pretty busy

Lanterns being displayed and Chinatown is getting ready for the Mooncake Festival. When the decoration is fully done, Chinatown will be transform into a really beautiful and colorful place. It’s actually a yearly tourist attraction where people all over the world would visit.

Restaurant are everywhere in Singapore. Most people prefer to patronize the non high class restaurant as the food is way better and is really cheap. The restaurant are normally set up in an open air environment and just next to the road. Many Westerner felt it is unhealthy but I can assure you it is 100% safe. You need to experience it for yourself and then you will enjoy dining outdoors Singapore style.

A very busy restaurant specializing in selling all sort of porridge. On weekends is really hard to get a seat. No reservations normally and it is first come first serve basis.

Rows of restaurant alongside the road. Almost every restaurants are packed with customers. I don’t think I will be bragging when I said these stretch of restaurants are around one kilometers long.

An old building built in 1879 which is still standing tall next to the hot pot restaurant where I will meet my friends.

Entrance of the hot pot joint that I’ve chosen among many in Chinatown.

I just walked in and informed the waitress that they will be 3 of us and she gave me a table.  Once we have our table and decided on the soup or broth of choice, is time to go get your meat, vegetables and seafood to your table and ready to cook it by ourselves.

Big selections of sea food here and it’s all very fresh.

Our choice of soup. Chinese herbal soup that is tasty but mild and the red colored soup is known as “Ma Lat” which is a famous Szechuan soup that is spicy. Is a kind of special peppercorn and chili mixed.

When the soup is boiling, is time to put the seafood in. I’ve always put the seafood in first and followed by the meat. This is to sweeten the soup with great flavor. Then you can put in the meatballs and vegetables that are cook really fast.

On top of all the raw food that you need to cook yourself, the restaurant also prepared some cold dishes, fried chicken wings and dumplings.

Our messy table with all sorts of food ready to be cook. Tsingtao beer from China to go along with our hot pot – heaven!

Hot pot or commonly known as steamboat in Singapore is really one of my favorite dish and it’s best to eat with a company of 3-5. While waiting for your meat to be cook, you get to catch up with your friends. Hot pot normally takes around 2 hours to complete as you really eat it slow. It’s really ideal for a get together type of occasion as it is cheap and not noisy like in a club where you can’t even talk to your friends. It cost us SGD15 per person for all you can eat exclusive the drinks.  With the amount of quality seafood, meat, meatballs, vegetables, dumplings, salad and so many more, I think the price is just amazingly good. Oh, they have watermelons  too for desserts.

September 1, 2010

Thank God I am a coward

Filed under: Chit Chat — Alex @ 11:55 pm

I had an unpleasant incident yesterday. The day started off perfectly with my breakfast but something happened to me in afternoon that wasn’t that cool. I was deciding whether to post the incident in my good nature blog. I finally made the decision to do it because I am still a little bit childish I guess. I even took the time to write about the incident and email it to The Strait Times Singapore. I am quite certain that they will not publish it. At least I get to hone my writing skills. The incident does not change my perception about Singapore and I hope you guys will not generalize how most Singaporean behaves. Below is my email to the Strait Times Singapore.

My Email to Strait Times


I am a Malaysian Chinese who often spend my holidays in Singapore. I am a big supporter of Singapore and have always been fascinated with the growth of this tiny Island. Whenever I go abroad I would sometimes referred myself as Singaporean rather than Malaysian. For the record, my dad is born in Singapore but he chose to be a Malaysian when the two countries decided to part ways as he was working in Malaysia. My auntie and cousins are still Singapore citizens up till now.

While I am a big supporter of Singapore, some foreigners do have some complaint about the attitude of Singaporean towards migrant workers. I’ve always tried to defend the Singaporean and argued that is just some bad apples that are acting that way. However today I get to experience first hand while in Lucky Plaza.

We were all queuing up to withdraw some money from an ATM machine of POSB. Right opposite of the ATM machine is a remittance company. Initially I thought everybody was queuing up to send money and not for the ATM. I realized that the queue was for the ATM and quickly fall in line. After a few minutes, a Singapore guy did the same thing by not realizing that he was jumping queue. He was about 7 people in front of me and I pretended to ask the girl behind him if this is the line for ATM hopping to make him realize he was cutting the line. I sensed that he heard but pretended to not care as I caught him stealing a glance at me.

When the ATM was available, he casually walked to the ATM and made his withdrawal. He then proceeded to go to PNB and I am still waiting for my turn to withdraw my money. At that very moment I was deciding to let it slide or to confront him later. When it was my turn to withdraw money, I decided to satisfy my curiosity if the gentleman knew he cut the queue. This is Singapore and this couldn’t be happening as the gentleman appeared to be very cultured with his attire and I-phone.

So when I approached him in the bank, I just casually asked him if he knew he jumped cue. He answered no and wasn’t in an apologetic manner. I wasn’t expecting him to be apologetic  like most people do regardless first world or third world. I just said thank you and walked away as my curiosity was answered.

As I was walking out, he then said excuse me and I turned back. He then asked me this question, “If I were to tell you that I did it on purpose, what you are going to do about it?” I have to admit that the question threw me off. I was shocked and angry at the same time on how someone not being apologetic is able to ask such questions. I told him I can’t do anything if he were to answer me that way and I would most probably shake my head and walk away in disgust and mumble something to myself. I am no muscle head and never fought once in my life.

He then proceeded to ask me to “WAIT OUTSIDE” like to challenge me for a fight. I told him that I’m not going to fight him but if he insist that we must, I told him we fight over it at the police station. He then answered me we never involved police one with his Singlish. Then he told me that this is not Philippines and if in Singapore, one must be prepared to face the consequences if you confront somebody. I told him I am not from Philippines and that made me realize that what really ticked him was he couldn’t accept the idea of a migrant worker confronting him about his mistakes.

Finally the bank manager came to us and asked us to tone it down as we disturbing the customers of the bank. I immediately felt embarrassed for being selfish and did not care about the customers feeling at that time. I asked the Singapore gentleman if everything is cool now and he said yes. I just walked off but being human, I was really not satisfied with the outcome.

I really wanted to go back to the bank and asked him if I can see what are the consequences of confronting someone who did something wrong in Singapore. My intention was really to keep taunting him and asked him to go police station with me to show off his manly side. I would either succeed in humiliating him as I don’t think he will go to the police station with me or scenario number 2 would be he will give me a sucker punch out of agitation. I was hoping he would do the later as they are so many witnesses around. I’ll just take one for the team, in this case is team Philippines.

P/S : I hope with some good editing, this email can find it place somewhere in any media. I sincerely believe it is a good read and comical at the same time. If not, it served the purposed of venting out my anger and disgust.

Warmest regards,

Alex Goh

( Still have high regards of Singapore )

There you go guys, that was what happened to me. For those of you who are curious why I chose that title that I thanked God for being a coward. I would have landed myself in trouble with the authorities if I weren’t one. Let’s just say the Singapore dude got a face that is really inviting to give him “ONE TIGHT SLAP”.

A typical morning in Singapore

Filed under: Singapore — Alex @ 1:10 am

It’s been a while since I made a post. From Manila, I went to Macau on the 19th August and stayed there for 5 days. Was invited to attend expo and I invited my parents to come hang out with me in Macau. My buddy Zach and Felix was also invited for the expo and all of us stayed in the same hotel. I will post about Macau the next few days.

Today I am posting about Singapore because I promised my brother ( from a different mother and father from Netherlands ) to show him what I am going to eat for breakfast. He has never visited Singapore but hopefully by next year June he will come visit Asia.

I love waking up early while I am in Singapore because of the food courts that is near my flat. The food court opens as early as 6am and there are approximately 100 individual stalls selling all sorts of foods. Not all of the stalls open at the same time but they are quite a handful are open to sell mostly breakfast meal. Singapore breakfast is “wild” according to most of my Caucasian buddies as the meals are heavy. I have to admit that the food is not as healthy as cereals and milk ( BORING!!! ) but no Singaporean has been reported dead while eating breakfast. The breakfast culture has been like this ever since and most of us are used to it.

While walking to the food court, I decided to snap some pictures of HDB flats of Singapore. Most Singaporean live in HDB and it is the cheapest form of housing in Singapore. Condos and landed property like houses cost a fortune. Since Singapore is a small island, high rise HDB are the best form of lodging.

It does look like a posh condo with all the trees

More HDB ahead and I’ m approaching the food court.

The early morning crowd in the food court near my flat. You can see the fish ball noodle soup stall is already open for business.

I walked around a bit to snap more pictures of the food court. Seen here is a Bah Kut Teh stall getting ready for business. I will write more about Bah Kut Teh in the future.

People lining up to buy their breakfast from this stall selling fried noodles.

Since I am a big fan of spicy food, I decided to patronize this stall that sells Curry Laksa ( noodles cooked in coconut and curry based soup ).

This is how Curry Laksa looks like. It has noodles, bean sprout, fish cake, fried tofu and cockles ( some sort of shell that is quite similar to clams ). This dish is not for those with a weak stomach. The soup is already spicy and yet we still have the chili dip for the cockles, fish cake and fried tofu. This cost me SGD2.00 ( aprox PHP64 ).

After the curry laksa, I went to a drink stall to get a drink. Opposite of the drink stall is another stall specializing in selling Yau Char Kwai ( fried dough ). The curry laksa is actually good enough for my breakfast meal but since my mouth is still itchy, I decided to order the fried dough to go along with my cold Soya bean. Talk about putting crazy calories in your body in the morning. I think if these food cut short my life to 5 years, so be it.

The drink stall and next to it is a fruit stall selling fresh food. Since I’m already super full, no fruits for me this morning.

So this is what I normally do in the morning while in Singapore. Tomorrow I will visit the food court again and I will get to choose on what to eat from the 80 stalls. Eating breakfast and read the morning newspaper is something I enjoy very much.

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