Friday, August 3, 2012

Marina Bay Sands


A reader of this blog in Singapore had kindly sent me a guide book on the hawker stalls in Singapore a few years ago, probably to change my opinion that the best food in Singapore is found in restaurants, the more expensive the better, and that the hawker food there can't hold a candle to the hawker food in Kuala Lumpur.

I brought the book with me this trip and my son Wey who reads the book often, marking the things he wants to eat, suggested Chai Chee Pork Porridge (name of the stall) since my stomach was still unwell. Wey had also marked Western Food 85, famed for its crispy pork knuckle, which was right next to Chai Chee PP, at 85 Bedok North St 4. When we got to the stalls (which are in a newly renovated hawker market, and near a stinky birds shop), we found that Western Food 85 had moved away. Dang moment for Wey.


The pork &century egg congee and the chicken congee were thicker than Hong Kong congee, very smooth and not saturated with msg (as congee in KK are), and we loved it. S$4/RM10/USD3.30 for regular bowl.

Hub loves wonton noodles and orders them whenever he's not in KK because the wonton noodles in KK are hopelessly soft and bland. We found Singapore wonton noodles pretty good, with a springy el dente bite like wonton noodles should, but the wonton dumplings had soft pork mince (a no no for us; we prefer crunchy prawns filling) and the soup lacked shrimp roe flavor.

Singaporean fried lobak (turnip cake) is very different from Malaysian's version and I am partial to Malaysian lobak. This plate of lobak was too sweet, didn't have bean sprouts and lacked turnip flavor.

The Marina Bay Sands casino and hotel complex looks ridiculous from far, like a ship had somehow run aground on the top of three buildings--but when you get up close, it is stunning. I've had the pleasure of listening to Moshe Safdie, the architect for the building, talk about the Marina Bay Sands project during the e.g. Conference in Monterey in April this year.

Singapore has an Eye too.

The lotus-shaped Singapore Museum. Must visit it next trip.


This is the pool end of the 'ship'.

In the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

The sky bridge connects the hotel and casino to the 2-weeks old Gardens By The Bay. I love plants and had looked forward to walking in the Gardens but it was too hot and I thought I'd go back some night (when there'll be a lights display) but never did. It's okay because the garden will just get better with time. Trust it to the Singaporeans to come up with this fantastic tropical garden, the only kind in the world.

The hotel has many restaurants but the biggest one (I think) is Rise, which has a daily buffet so beautiful that it's hard to resist. I could though, because I was still sick and nothing appealed to me. Hub and Wey decided to eat the buffet (S$57/RM145/USD47, tax included) so I went window shopping. When I came back, they both looked unhappy, too full and regretful and as always with buffets, they both swore they'd never eat another buffet again. Wey said he didn't even try more than 20% of the spread because he felt so full. Here are just some of the buffet:






rise buffet
The carrot cake was very delicious (yes, I ate some), with a very light texture. The filling was cream cheese but the top and sides were covered with fresh cream.

To get to view the famous infinity pool on the 57th floor, you have to either be a hotel guest or pay an entrance fee of S$20. A friendly waiter told us that a better deal would be to go to the rooftop bar for a drink, so we did that. And that's when we found an even better deal: Go to the lift at Tower 3 and ask to go up to the bar for a drink. The lady'll give you a card and you can then go up. Once up, you can sit down for a drink or a meal or just walk around. We saved S$60 and felt so clever. Of course, that means you don't get to enter the pool area but the view from the bar is pretty awesome anyway.

A view of the Gardens By The Bay. The  bridge on the lower right of the photo connects to the hotel (I'd be crazy to walk there under the 3 pm sun). Those circular towers are 'super trees' and reminds me of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia.

Exciting things are happening to Singapore's skyline and architecture.

One end of the 'ship' is a roof top bar called Ku De Ta which I thought was rather disappointing compared to the world's top roof top bars, especially Moon Bar at Banyan Tree in Bangkok and Aer at Four Seasons, Mumbai

The other end is an awesome infinity pool.




I had the casanova (I think it was called), a choc upcake, and the raspberry cupcake, both good but not awesome, S$6/RM15.30/USD4.90 EACH.


After a long walk around the complex (we skipped the casino because minimum age for entrance was 21), I was hungry and Mozza Pizza it was. You'd be a fool to miss Mozza Pizza's pizzas if you are in Marina Bay Sands.




The waitress suggested that I try their most exciting and unusual pizza, the one with nettles, salami, caciocavallo and egg, S$30/RM76.50/USD25. It was very good (Wey was blown away by it) but I prefer pizzas with a tomato base. Mozza's pizzas are expensive but totally worth it! This time, the pizza was larger than those we ate last year.

After all that food, Hub and Wey said they'd skip dinner but when dinner time came, we found ourselves back at the hawkers' stalls in Koven where Wey had the mee bok and Hub ordered a claypot chicken.



I didn't think that I'd like this but after one bite, I couldn't stop eating. The chicken was tender and tasty, the gravy had hints of Sichuan peppercorns and other Sichuanese spices. I enquired and was told by the waitress that the cooking was Chongqing-style. Chongqing in Sichuan was the capital of China in 1066 BC, in 1063 and from 1939 to 1946.

We had to have dessert on a hot muggy night, and queues are good signs.

Super smooth soy bean jelly (taufu fa) and grass jelly (leong fun). Both are jellies, but different in flavors and texture. The grass jelly (black color) was soft yet springy while the soy bean jelly was slippery-smooth and soft. About S$1.90/RM4.80/USD1.55 per bowl.

It was a good food day. And night.


Kelly@thehungryegghead said...

Did you find the bathrooms in Marina Bay disappointing? Not 5 stars at all, at most 3.

I agree with you that the expensive food in Singapore taste better than hawker as I did not find the hawker food impressive since I live in HK.

The best meal I had in Singapore was here:

The worst:

Baby Sumo said...

I always can't resist taking photos of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, dunno why. The tourist-effect I guess. ;P

I didn't have time to visit Gardens by the Bay the last time I was in SG too, and one of the restaurants I wanted to go to had a 1-month waiting list. -.-

Blur Ting said...

Oh, you should have asked me! I live quite near Bedok North food centre (I get all my fresh food and veggie there) and it has been closed for renovation all year.

Pita Pan at Marina Bay Sands is also good. I love the hummus there. It's all vegetarian though.

Lots of good food at Kovan. I eat there quite frequently. Maybe I'll try the Sichuan chicken tonight if I can.

malaymui said...

Haven't stop by Singapore for many years. Many new sights and food to savoy. Perhaps it's time to stop by Singapore the next trip home ^^.

Unknown said...

fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
guest house in jaipur

terri@adailyobsession said...

kelly: yes the bathrooms nothing to blog about. my friend said the rooms r disappointing too. i too find sg hawker food not very good altho i must say their choices r getting more n more. hk is one of the top food capital of the world, u lucky girl!

baby: haha me to, even when on the bus or taxi. it's diff by day n night isnt it?
oh i nvr believe in making bookings for restaurants more than a week b4--there r so many other choices!

blurting: ok, i'll ask u next time! i live nearby too when i'm there, east coast rd.

malaymui: sg is very very pleasant, a perfect example of how msia shd be...

gopal: spammer

Unknown said...

HI Terri,

I did not visit your blog recently and was unaware that you were coming to Spore or I would have recommended some local places for you to try.

BTW, in Spore, the wonton served with wonton mee are ALL made with mince pork. You need to order Sui Kau which is bigger but is made with Prawn fillings. A good place to try is at Zion Hawker Food Centre (opposite Great World City, river valley road.)

With the fried carrot cake, you normally have a choice of white (salty version with eggs) or black (sweet version with black sweet sauce). Traditionally, the black version is for breakfast.

Did you manage to pick up some Prima's Laksa mix this time?

PC said...

Hi Terri,

If your family and you ever make it to Ipoh, give the wan tan mee, tou fu fa and lui cha a try. I do not mean to exaggerate but these are the best I ever had. Cheers!

Po said...

Hi Terri,

If your family and you ever make it to Ipoh, give the wan tan mee, tou fu fa and lui cha a try. I do not mean to exaggerate but these are the best I ever had. Cheers!

Kelly Siew said...

Gosh reading your posts about Singapore makes me miss the food there. And the cleanliness. KL makes me sick sometimes. The Sichuan Chicken Claypot Dish looks fantastic!

terri@adailyobsession said...

unknown: thanx for the info. oh i totally forgot about the prima laksa paste. must must must get it next trip.

po: i was in ipoh a long time ago so yes, it's time i visit ipoh again:)

kelly: at the sg causeway point, my son said it felt like he was in the states or some place like tt. every place we went, it was clean, tidy and even wheel chair friendly. tt's singapore. *sigh*

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