Yesterday had been a long day of travel so Doug and I took the opportunity to sleep in some and luckily Rubaina and Tawfiq did the same. At around 11 a.m. Tawfiq suggested brunch and after some debate on where we should go, we jumped in the car and headed off to a nearby hawker centre.
Rubaina and Tawfiq were bringing us to a sit-down stall that has a variety of local cuisine for us to sample – Indan, Malay, Singaporean, etc. We sat down and perused the 30+ pages of options – which was way too much. Not knowing what was best we left it up to the two of them to do some ordering in addition to Doug’s Chocolate Oreo Shake and Lynn’s watermelon juice. Out came a slow progression of deliciousness after some attempted upselling from our waiter. We had mutton stuffed murtabak, yogurt chicken, a variety of naan, dal, curry puffs, and on and on. There was certainly no room for dessert, but this is kicked off what we are calling the “Sunday Sandwich,” a day consisting of eating resting then more eating.
After lunch we headed off to a FairPrice grocery store to gather some goods for dinner. We had told them on our last visit to Singapore that we wanted to cook for them as a thank you and never got the chance, but now that we were back we were taking advantage of it. We all agreed that a Greek-themed meal would be delightful, especially because they had never had fried feta before, so we set about gathering all the ingredients we would need. Some things were difficult – fig jam, Kalamata olives, and honey. We found all we needed after some much appreciated assistance from the nearby stockers. After about a mile and a half of walking (according to our pedometers), we had all we needed in hand and were ready to head back to their apartment.
“How would we spend the rest of the day?” was now the question. Easy. Relax on their couch while watching a movie, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which turned out to be a Cold War spy thriller. While not the greatest movie in the world, it did a good job of keeping us entertained. We all agreed that the American actor was subpar but the Russian actor was quite believable. Where did it stand of the James Bond Spectre Scale: Lynn – “Far better!,” Doug – “Way worse!” It seems we disagree on some things.
After our deep cinematographical debate (joking), it was time to kick off the second set of eating. While Tawfiq and Rubaina hit us up with some tunes, we took to the kitchen to start on dinner. We were preparing a Greek feast – Fried Feta with honey and fig jam, Greek baked fish, Greek salad (Santorini style), and seasoned potato wedges (Doug had a craving). All this was topped off by Italian bread with ricotta and homemade quince jam (a gift from a coworker of Rubaina’s) and homemade fruit juice a la Tawfiq. All in all the meal took about 1.5 hours to prepare and all of 20 minutes to devour. And yum, we really miss cooking.
Our stomachs were stuffed and we hadn’t walked enough to warrant it all so, Tawfiq and us took off on a walk around the neighborhood, popping in at the local mall (which was very busy for a Sunday night), and getting treated to a stone foot massage at its completion (there is a round walkway of progressively smaller stones that you walk along barefoot – it is quite nice). When we got back to the apartment we progressed into a series of ridiculous internet videos. Doug and I were treated to the lovely “Das Boot” from vat19.com and we got to introduce Tawfiq to Amy Schumer’s “Milk, Milk, Lemonade.” It was all hilarious! After much laughing we agreed it was time for some rest and took off to bed after saying another sad goodbye to Rubaina who would need to leave early in the morning (professors work really, really hard).
Daily Walking Mileage: 5.0
- Most people in Singapore do not cook at home and rely on the variety of delicious inexpensive food nearby (Rubaina and Tawfiq are not these people and do a lot of cooking at home). As a result a lot of people don’t have ovens in their kitchens and sometimes instead use their cabinets for additional storage. In the case of an apartment they had visited a few years back, the owner was hoping that they didn’t cook because he was using the kitchen cabinets to store his many many books.
- In recent years, many of the traditional hawker stalls are being refurbished with fancy western food – fried chicken, burgers, steaks, etc. Not only are the prices increasing, but the local cuisine is being lost. Not cool, Singapore.