Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dian Xiao Er, T3

We got in midnight last night and were told that Yi's Jetstar flight was cancelled and they had put her up in a hotel for the night. Which made me thankful we chose to transit Yi in Singapore and not KL. First thing in the morning we got a call from Sniffer's discipline teacher. It was Sports Day and he was not seen in school. We were told to search the Damai cyber cafes and if he failed to appear, he'd get a black mark. I dressed for the role--jeans, shirt and jacket, sunglasses and mean look, considered bringing a baton, and marched into all the cyber cafes in Damai. Sniffer got lucky because a junior boy's mom got to the cyber cafe first, slapped her boy (which I fully applaud her for) and the rest of them scrammed off back to school. Did I really think that life would be easier when I have only one kid to contend with? Such is my life, and there must be a reason God gave me more sons than daughters.

We had no access to the internet in Singapore and I purposely did not make a list of places to eat because I wanted a relaxed trip where I can eat wherever I happened to be. I can tell you that that's a doable thing in Hong Kong, where if the food's not good the restaurant will close within a week, but in Singapore, you better know where to eat. I know you are thinking 'She's dissing Singapore again' but hey, between Singapore and Hong Kong, I'd rather live in Singapore where it's safe, clean, efficient, not chaotic and Singlish can entertain and embarrass (gosh, I didn't realise until now that there are two 'r' s in embarrass) you at the same time. But as far as shopping and eating go, hands and feet down, Hong Kong wins by a million limbs.

I decided that on this trip, we'll just eat Sichuan food and some good wagyu. Hub as usual is happy as long as I let him eat without guilt while Yi'll eat anything as long as it's Chinese. She thinks western food is boring except for salads, which she loves. I can't remember any exciting salads I've eaten.

I remembered reading somewhere that the best Chinese food are found in Chinatown and Geylang and since I didn't like Geylang, we went to Chinatown. In fact, we went to Chinatown twice, and both times we were disappointed, but I'll tell you that some other day when I get my photos uploaded by Yi. I'll work backwards today and use photos from my camera.

Do you know that Singapore has a swanky new terminal, Terminal 3? We arrived too early for check in so we took the skytrain to T3 and had dinner at a Chinese restaurant called Dian Xiao Er, meaning, I'm told, 'shop's little waiter'. These days when you throw a stone in Singapore it's bound to hit a China Chinese. From the waiters to the cooks to the salesgirls, the whole of Singapore has turned China Chinese. One thing this means is that there's lots of authentic Chinese restaurants, many of them mom and pop owned and run. But, surprise--authentic means as authentic as the local Singaporeans' taste and we were told over and over again by the Chinese waitresses that dishes have been adapted to suit our tastes. They say this like they were doing us a favor (which they were I suppose) but who wants fake authentic cuisine? Which is maybe why we were so disappointed and ended up, by the 4th day, eating instant noodles and udon with lots of veg and beef and agreeing that it was the best meal we had upto then.

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Dian Xiao Er gave us the best Chinese food we had eaten on this trip. Although the ma po tofu, a dish I judge Sichuan restaurants by, was definitely suited for local taste buds, it was tasty and I would recommend this place for a quick meal. We chose the meal set for 2 persons at S$38, which gave us 5 items, including rice and soup, and we added two extra dishes and the bill came to S$66 all-in which was acceptable for airport restaurants.

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Part of the meal set, the herbal crispy skin duck was very good. I give it high marks for flavor, taste and crispiness.

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Next on the set was tung po pork, which was good too although, as with all Chinese braised pork dishes, there was too much fat to meat.

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The last set dish was a simple fried baby kailan, done very well. The lotus root soup was good too.

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One look at the ma po tofu and I knew it was more 'outside of China' ma po tofu. You can tell by the fact that cornstarch is used to give it a thicker sauce, there's no red chili oil, and most of all there was no Sichuan peppercorns which are essential to this fiery fragrant dish. As with most unauthentic or 'American-style' ma po tofu, the sauce was a sweet and sourish concoction that is no where near the real thing. However, this dish was tasty (as compared to those we had in Chinatown) as long as you don't think of it as ma po tofu.

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I like yee mien, the best of which can be found in Shatin, Hong Kong. This is the regular yee mien with dried scallops, mushrooms and yellow chives and it was okay.

If you check in at T1, you are allowed into the transit area in T3 where there are lots of new restaurants. We hadn't checked in and so couldn't enter the transit area. I'm told the shopping's quite good too. I love airport shopping. There's so much to see all in one place and everybody's travelling somewhere, all dressed up in coats and travel apparel and it makes me feel so...excited, like hey, look at me, I'm travelling. And then I go to my gate, and it's further and further away and there's less and less people, and that's when I feel, yeah, I'm travelling...to a place called Kota Kinabalu.


11 comments:

bryan said...

Ooo I ate there a few days after T3 opened, I was already in Singapore and we went to the airport to meet my grandmother and uncle. Food was pretty good, but as you mentioned, priced at airport prices.

I can't say I've been very adventurous when it comes to food in Singapore. I usually go to food courts or Sushi Tei. However I remember a friend brought me to this great place in Geylang, if I could just remember the name.

Why don't you like Geylang?

ganache-ganache said...

I totally agree with you about the China Chinese in Sin, everywhere you go, even my mum's neighbour !!! What can I say ??
Oh the gate, it's always at the last & I hate it, so we always end up running towards it cos' we're too engrossed with airport shopping !

Precious Pea said...

Good choice to transit in Singapore as you will surely end up swearing at those food serves at KLIA.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

looks like i can spend some time in the airport by checkin in early!

NEE said...

It is very interesting that you always make your frustrations with your kids (sons) sounded funny. but i am sure you were prob on the brink of explosions. Haii...

anyway, thanks for sharing the tips. hope to see more singaporean restaurants and eateries posts soon.

hongyi said...

oh GOSH not that bum-in-your-face pic!!!

i miss u, and i wish u were here to prepare a bowl of udon for me :(

Anonymous said...

You are right, I have not eaten anything that good in Singapore. A place called Lau Pa Sark in Raffles's place. looked good but the soup for my duck noodle was luke warm. Very disappointing.

Danny Ng said...

hey auntie, i promised i'd work your navigation menu. sorry i've been a bit busy but i've finished my website's design now so will have some time to look into this.

let me know what menus you'd like?

Danny Ng said...

hey auntie, i promised i'd work your navigation menu. sorry i've been a bit busy but i've finished my website's design now so will have some time to look into this.

let me know what menus you'd like?

terri@adailyobsession said...

bryan: hey man, yi n i were wondering what happened to u :)

last trip geylang put me off bc it rained n the place seemed slushy n dirty, both literally n also the sleazy way. this trip, we didn't get down frm the car n it was better. our friend drove us into a small street, n it was eye-opening to see so many YOUNG PRETTY chinese hookers, standing elbow to elbow. was sad to see tt. so young.

ganache: :D sing now speak better chinese.

yeah, gate's so far away we have to give up shaopping time yah/

PP: shame on msian govt, can never get anything right can they. not tt they even try. but maybe even if they do they still won't get it right, so much politics in everything.

joe: our flight was 9:#0 n we got to the airport at 6, thinking we'll have lots of time but the airline didn't allow check in until 7:30!! waste of time in T1

nee: *sigh* what i tell here is alrdy highly edited. if u could here what they do, you'd pray 4 me too :)

yi: so we r back to romamcing each other on line...was wonderful seeing u n ming on skype the other nite.felt sad for wey. he's so far frm u guys physically n emotionally.

anon: yes, as far as food goes, sing is not very good is it

danny: thanks, but i think it's easier to get uncle's staff to do it :)

bryan said...

I been around, just haven't commented in a long time! I've only got three blogs I check regularly and you're one of them.

As for Geylang, yes it does look a bit dirtier than the rest of Singapore but I always just think of home. And yes it's a bit off putting seeing all the working girls, even during the middle of the day. There's a place there called Tanjung Rhu Pau (My spelling might be off) and I love their char siew pau, it's really small and lots of filling. Just across the road from where it was is a carpark, and at 3pm there were already some there.

Now the place has moved a few blocks down, and opposite a school. I just wish there was a place that could offer pau as good as that place!

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