In about four hours, I will be getting on a plane, leaving Singapore for home. I am tired and ready to be some place again where people ask me all the time if maybe they know me because I blend so much. That does not happen here.
The past two days have been work heavy, so my whirlwind tour hit the wall. Which is ok, because I crammed as much into the few hours I had in order to be able to say I saw a lot of this country. I wanted to have a good sense of it. I think I do.
After going to Buddha’s Tooth temple on Monday, I walked around China Town. But Frankly, I don’t remember much of it. I was in something of a daze. OK, so that isn’t really true. I remember it. It just doesn’t realize stand out. Sweet vendors selling pretty much the same thing you can buy at the other markets. The music was different.
As I was walking down one small street I stopped at a really small restaurant squashed between two shops. Most of the little restaurants in the places I walked were completely open to the street, so it was easy to see what people were eating. And in this place a woman was eating a mountain of beautiful ice cream like I had never seen. It was quite beautiful. I was hanging back a bit, trying to figure out how to get a picture of it without looking like a total idiot (I have been trying to figure that one out for the past week) when an older asian woman, clearly a regular customer of the restaurant, asked me where I was from. I hadn’t uttered a word, but it’s pretty clear that I am a tourist…of course. After exchanging some pleasantries, she asked what I was looking at. I pointed to the towers of ice cream and she said “Oh, No. You eat the walnut paste! It is hot. You will like. We eat it all the time. That is why we are so sexy.” The women she had been chatting with laughed wildly. So, duh, I ordered the walnut paste immediately, of course. I actually ended up ordering both that and the “Snow Ice.” Ridiculously too much food, but it was too fun to not have both. I considered it dinner.
The soup was actually quite good. I was expecting it to taste a little like soupy peanut butter…so I was understandably nervous. It was quite a large bowl and very rich and very sweet, that and the fact that the taste was unfamiliar to me meant that I could only actually eat a little bit of it. Same for the Snow Ice, which was strange and delicious. The Snow Ice was actually not as sweet as regular ice cream, which I liked oddly. But I think what I enjoyed most about it was the texture. You know those places on ice cream sometimes where it is very icy from the difference between the freezer and the bowl? Or that crunchy texture of the edges of the ice cream in a really cold root beer float? It was like that, all the way through. I enjoyed that immensely.
Tuesday, after work, I headed over to Little India here. I had a mission in mind. I wanted to try Khulfi. I had never heard of Khulfi before this trip. It is a “traditional Indian ice cream” and it seriously rocks. I had no idea ice cream had so many variations.
There is a Khulfi bar in Little India, called, um, Khulfi Bar. And it got rave reviews in a magazine I read in the airplane. I headed straight for it.
Little India is a little, um, more dicey than the other places I had been in Singapore. Streets feel a little rougher…attitude is a little more aggressive…the alleys are a little narrower. There is an edge here. Which was a bit nerve-wracking in moments, but I have to say I was THRILLED to see that there was an edge somewhere in Singapore.
The Khulfi Bar was on one of these little streets. I passed some restaurants with serious character as I made my way to the ice cream shop, wondering all the time how a place like this could make money, tucked away as it is. I am so American.
Many of the shops in this part of Singapore have decorative things hanging from the ceiling and things to sell stuffed into every corner. The saris I passed along the way here were so beautiful that it was very hard not to buy one. Every time I stopped, I imagined how ridiculous I would look in a sari and kept walking. I don’t wanna be that girl. The one who thinks she looks cool in ethnic clothes, but really looks like some completely out of touch tourist character in a National Lampoon movie. I kept walking past.
So, I ordered mango Khulfi with Lychee (I LOVE lychee nuts) and a lemongrass frizz. Still not clear on what a frizz is, but it was so fun to just order something like that.
I love Khulfi. It is much more dense than American ice cream and the kind I had was in little discs, about an inch in diameter. It was truly incredible. The lemongrass frizz was interesting, tasting good, had some interesting seed like stuff floating around in it that was cool. I felt very cool and adventury here, the sole diner in what was reviewed as the most exciting thing to happen in Little India in a very long time. Maybe it was the time of day.
The rest of my trip to Little India was really challenging. Nothing bad happened. I was just tired and so were the people who were working there and shopping there. The place is supposed to be really hopping on Sundays, when the laborers have the day off.
I accidently ended up finding the subway station and decided to hop on and try and navigate my own way back to the hotel. I had never really explored Clarks Quay, where I was staying, but it was early and I had plenty of daylight to get lost in. I actually really enjoyed this little journey back to my room. I will write some about that next.