Here’s what we did not eat today:
- Pigs’ brains with chicken feet
- Fishball noodles
- Happy Soda, Crazy Soda, or Milo Dinosaur
- Frogs (these are available in many forms, including live at the “wet market” at the bottom of the Chinatown Complex, which just freaked me out)
I have always considered myself an adventurous eater, but Singapore is making me think I’m pretty limited. Menu items of all sorts make me think, “ick” or “no way” or just “huh?” It’s one of the many things here that makes me realize that I’m really very western. I’m not sure I’ll have overcome that by the end of our two years here.
Other surprising things about Singapore:
- There is no recycling. None.
- There is a ton of security. It’s everywhere. It’ll probably merit its own blog post. I suppose that part of having a super-secure state with low unemployment involves hiring a million people for security jobs. But it’s crazy.
- English is the language of signage and business, but as Prescott says, most people here speak English the way people in “Game of Thrones” speak the Common Tongue. In general, English is a second language, and what you’re hearing around you (unless you’re interacting directly with someone) is a swirl of Malay and Tamil and Mandarin and Japanese and Tagalog and on and on and on.
- Singapore is pretty darned clean, but not as clean as I’d expected. And there are a good number young men (probably not locals) sitting around not working, and I’m not sure what’s going on there.
Anyway, here’s what we did eat today: for lunch, freshly made dumplings and dumpling noodle soup; for dinner, smashed tofu panyet, krupuk, and gado gado.
We spent the afternoon in Chinatown — first at lunch at a hawker center, and then wandering around. I went to the Buddha Tooth Relic Center (how can you resist a place with that name?). Both monks and a good number of laypersons were chanting in some sort of a service.
We also saw another amazing Chinese temple …
…and one of the earliest mosques in Singapore:
Soon afterward, we stumbled on the Singapore City Gallery, a museum that’s an odd combination of boosterism and legitimate information about urban planning and Singapore. By far the most interesting things are the scaled-down models of both the central part of the city and the entire island.