Friday, May 31, 2013

Simple American in Singapore, Part 2.

The Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee. Stall #02-17.

(continued from Simple American in Singapore.)

After a very short weekend in Singapore, Simple American and his missus returned yet again to the garden city of Singapore. Given the short duration of their time in Singapore, what would leave them with positive memories to reminisce many years later? 

Our visit to a hawker centre
Enjoying treats to good food at one of our popular hawker centres came to my mind! The dictionary's definition for the word "hawker" is "a person who travels from place to place selling goods" (source: The Free Dictionary). Based on this definition, we would have expected a hawker to be someone who peddles from places to places to sell goods. However, in today's Singapore, the word "hawkers" commonly refer to people who sell food or goods in purpose-built facilities called hawker centres.

It is intriguing for me to read about the history of hawker centres in Singapore. In the days of my parents' childhood, street hawking was very common. Many people were travelling from streets to streets selling goods and services. However, one of the problems created by street hawking was poor sanitation. This posed to be a threat to public health. To improve the situation, between 1968 and 1969, there was an island-wide registration of street hawkers being carried out. From 1971 to 1986, the government constructed purpose-built facilities called the hawker centres to house these hawkers. These hawker centres providing marketing and eating facilities for residents of the public housing estates.

Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee stall. Stall #02-17.
Photo by Simple American.

My pick for our overseas friends was the Hong Lim Food Centre and Market at Blk 531A Upper Cross Street. It was situated in the heart of Singapore's Chinatown and was reasonably nearby the hotel that my friends were staying. My key recommendation was the Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee. For S$3 per plate, the stall serves an outstanding plate of delicious Kway Teow Mee, also known affectionately as Char Kway Teow.

Mian Jian Kueh from Granny's Pancake. Hong Lim Food Centre.
Photo by Simple American.

At the Hong Lim Food Centre, we also saw many other wonderful food treats such as the Mian Jian Kueh (pancake), curry puffs, and more. Simple American's missus shared that in her birth country, Mian Jian Kueh were available from the street-hawkers. I felt grateful to our hawkers for serving us with food at reasonable quality, affordable price and with good enough standards of hygiene.

Photo by Simple American.

Exploring South Bridge Road
After a fabulous treat to breakfast with my friends, we explored Chinatown. My original intention was to bring them to the Thian Hock Keng temple. It is one of the most important Hokkien temples in Singapore. Many Chinese immigrants would visit this temple to give thanks to the Goddess of the Sea for their safe voyages. However, due to the interest of time, we only had the opportunity to explore a part of the Chinatown, mainly along the South Bridge Road.

Traditional handmade BBQ pork slices from Kim Joo Guan.
Photo taken by Simple American.

During our stroll along South Bridge Road, our guests got themselves delicious traditional handmade BBQ Pork Slices from Kim Joo Guan's flagship store at 257 South Bridge Road. We also visited the Birds Nest Gallery inside Eu Yan Seng's International Ltd's Corporate Office at 269A South Bridge Road. We caught glimpses of Sri Mariamman Temple (the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore) and the Jamae Mosque

Jamae Mosque.  218 South Bridge Road.

Sri Mariamman Temple. 244 South Bridge Road.

Although I was well aware that Simple American and his missus were pretty full from our breakfast, I thought it would be worthwhile to get them a few egg tarts from Tong Heng to sample. Located at 285 South Bridge Road, Tong Heng has earned a good reputation of serving one of the best egg tarts in Singapore. Food that is made with good pride and love somehow tastes delicious.

Tong Heng's egg tart.
Tong Heng.

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple.
Taken by Simple American.

We did not visit the famous Thian Hock Keng temple. We did visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and also explored the adjacent Sago Street. A brief visit to Tai Chong Kok seemed to have brought nostalgic memories to Simple American's missus. For me, it was somehow heart-warming to see moon-cakes even though I confess that I have been consciously not eating moon-cakes so as to keep to a low-sugar diet. The moon-cakes reminded me of the occasional times during my childhood years when we could enjoy the moon-cakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Moon-cakes from Tai Chong Kok.
Taken by Simple American.

The coffee treat
Simple American and his missus love having coffee. Simple American's missus spotted the Nanyang Old Coffee at 268 South Bridge Road and they generously gave me a treat to a tasty cup of coffee. There is a humble-sized coffee-museum inside this establishment. Somehow a visit to the coffee-museum further enhanced our brief break for coffee at the Nanyang Old Coffee. 

Lunch at Bras Basah Complex
For our lunch, we visited the Bras Basah Complex's Coffee Express. Simple American and his missus  ordered desserts while yours truly ordered noodles from the Parklane Teochew Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle stall. 

After lunch, we spent some time exploring a part of the Bras Basah Complex. I felt that this neighbourhood was quite a convenient and friendly one to live in.

Friendships are strengthened. Memories are created. May Simple American and his missus have a meaningful and memorable visit to the South-East Asia, including Singapore. Other bloggers from Singapore have also brought them to other parts of Singapore for interesting experiences.

Hopefully I did not work Simple American and his missus too hard physically during our adventures about Singapore. I am notorious for travelling long distances on foot during my adventures about Singapore. Whatever it is, may our overseas friends remember fondly, the taste, the smell, the sights and the friendly people of Singapore.


Simple American said...

I am happy to walk with you about Singapore any time PY. The pace was quite reasonable and the companionship quite dear to me. Looking forward to another walk in the future.

oceanskies79 said...

Simple American: Thanks for the company of you and your missus in my humble adventure about Singapore. :)