The Epicurean Lifestyle

Last weekend, Prescott and I made two trips down to the Epicurean Market, a huge festival of food and drink held annually at the Marina Bay Convention Center.  It features booths at which you can taste all sort of tapas-sized snacks and desserts…

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… a farmer’s market (not to be confused to be with farmer’s markets back in the US — this produce comes from far away and is well out of our price range) …

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…and rows and rows of stations for selling and tasting wine:

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Attending turned out to be an expensive proposition — we paid to get in, and then we paid for most of what we had to eat and drink.  But the prices were reasonable and the food was incredible.  Here’s an incomplete summary of the savory dishes we sampled:  lobster and corn chowder, lobster tacos, red snapper tacos, duck and pork belly bun, truffle fries, lobster laksa, and snapper laksa (you’ll see some themes in that list, partly related to what we selected and partly related to what the chefs were featuring).

We also drank well.  Our beverages included an ABC (apple, beetroot, citrus, vodka and elderflower) …

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… a laksa ramos (gin, lemon, lime, egg white, coconut, soda water, and laksa leaves) …

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… a kaya sour (bourbon, coconut jam, frangelico, egg white, and pandan bitters), and several tropical sours (the ingredient list for that one remains a mystery, but it was delicious).

We also made our way through several of the dessert offerings.  We started with banana fritters served with gula malaka (palm sugar) ice cream:

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Prescott had both a great coffee milkshake and a wonderful caramel jackfruit funnel cake with coconut sorbet. I tried a delightful, upscale version of halo-halo from Spago (halo-halo is a Pilipino street dessert made of layers of shave ice, evaporated milk, and various other ingredients; mine had pineapple shave ice, bits of mango, and some other unidentifiable forms of deliciousness):

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Some of the lines at the festival were prohibitively long.  The jumbled row of people behind us here were all waiting for specialities from celebrity chef Tetsuya Wakuda:IMG_3606.jpgI stood in that line for about half an hour for two tiny — but perfect — pieces of trout served over yuzu-infused rice.  I generally don’t have the patience to stand in any lines at all, but this was worth it.

Singapore taxes alcohol at $88 per litre of alcohol content for wine and spirits, making it one of the most expensive places in the world to get a drink.  Lots of people flock to this particular festival for the chance to sample and buy wine at relatively cheap prices.  We mostly looked around — we’re not big wine drinkers — but I couldn’t help buying a mini of this scotch:

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It’s a festival in Singapore, so you can expect some kind of strange art.  Sure enough, this Fiji water bottle display stood right in the center of the event:

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I think we’ll go back to the Epicurean Market next year — we had a lot of fun trying out the many tasty dishes.

Epicurus (the Greek writer) believed that pleasure was the greatest good, and for him, that included gaining knowledge about the world.  To that end, if you want to think about something other than eating and drinking, I offer a few book recommendations:

  • The Dust That Falls From Dreams, by Louis de Bernieres:  a lyrical, sad, but hopeful novel about World War I and its effect on one British family and their neighbors
  • Old Filth, by Jane Gardam:  a quiet, moving, far-ranging novel about the life of a judge and his time in Britain and Southeast Asia
  • The Oath, by Jeffrey Toobin:  a look at the Roberts Court and Obama (totally depressing for a Warren Court liberal, but important and informative reading)
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie:  a slip of a novel that looks at the import of books during China’s Cultural Revolution
  • The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth von Arnim:  a romantic, hilarious novel about four women who take a house together in Italy in the early 1900s (it was made into a fantastic movie in 1991).  It’s a very proper book about very proper women.  So I have no explanation whatsoever for this cover — all I can say is beware of independent publishing:
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