Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Soups of the World -Singapore

What is a holiday without trying some new and exotic soups? On a recent excursion I got to sample souply delights in Singapore, Dublin and Paris.

Singapore was a new experience for me, both for weather and food, sights and sounds. And Man, it is HOT there. ALL the time. Luckily I was there in the dry season, and it was still stifling humidity as you walked out the door. They have two great compensations for it though- they know how to aircondition (and sometimes go overboard, I was actually quite cold after some 2 hour conference sessions) and ice deserts- and they were absolutely fantastic.

This first soup I had was part of a sumptuous 3 course meal from a Hawker stall that cost me under SGD$10! Japanese Crispy fish with ramen and edamame. It was adequate, but not fantastic.

This next one was a revelation. I was very lucky and got to do a cooking demonstration class at Coriander Leaf, a Singaporean restaurant. It was an interesting day, and we got to do some great eating. One of the biggest surprises for me was the Hot and Sour Soup. I've always thought that I didn't like these, and have avoided them for a few decades. But this one was fantastic. I slurped the entire bowl enthusiastically. And would be quite keen to have it again. I don't know that my family would be so keen though.

This next soup was consumed on one of my more adventurous expeditions. For some reason I was intrigued by the "Healthy Vegetarian Eating" place on the block next to my hotel. I'd walked past many times, and for some reason became increasingly keen to go. Sadly, it provided the worst food experience of my time in Singapore- which was generally interesting, and positive.

I became confused staring up at the pictures that were all labelled with meats. I thought maybe the sign on the window was outdated or something. So I picked the char siu ramen. Expecting pork. I'm not exactly sure what it was but I suspect that it was actually putty coloured to look like roast chinese pork. The texture was distinctly alarming, and not terrestrial. I managed to eat most of it- well it had set me back SGD$4.50, and so much putty had been harmed in the making of this dish that I had to. I didn't go back.

This last one wasn't really a soup, well I wasn't expecting one, but I think it's what I got. I was having trouble deciding between desserts at the hotel at my restaurant, which had branded itself as a tapas try everything kind of place. So I asked to try two desserts. I don't think they were used to such indecision because I got nanogram quantities of both. Both were very good, but the soupier one- cheng tng- was absolutely delectable. Spicy, sweet, unctuous. A sweet soup of dried fruits, nuts and barley. It's definitely something I'd like to check out in the future, and explore the options.

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