Bless my coworkers because they took my desire to “eat local” to heart and lunch the next day was even more “local” than the day before. It wasn’t in a mall but was a busy restaurant nearby filled with other locals. They introduced me to “Chicken Rice” which is roast chicken in a light delicious soy-sauce-based sauce, almost like a teriyaki and a cup of rice. Not just any rice but really, really good rice. I don’t eat rice very often but if all rice was like the rice in Chicken Rice, I’d probably have it every day. They told me Chicken Rice is very Singaporean. I applaud them for their good taste. Oh and it isn't "Chicken and Rice" but "Chicken Rice". I know because I was politely corrected when I tried to add the "and" in there, lol.
We also had some kind of pork wrapped in a crispy skin, fried crisp and sliced into rounds from a log. I asked what it was called and they told me but neither my ears nor my tongue can do it justice so I won’t embarrass myself by trying to name it. Just trust me that it was delicious. We also had crispy, lightly bread shrimp. Can’t go wrong with that either. Plus a local dish of noodles, also quite good. My only issue with noodle dishes is they invariably come with bean sprouts. Back in the US, I always request the dishes be made without it but when in Asia, I didn’t want to be that American tourist insisting on how I want things so I just went with the flow, especially since all the dishes are shared and I’m sure my colleagues, unlike me, don’t consider bean sprouts the devil’s toothpicks.
|Crispy Fried Shrimp|
After work, I wandered back to the underground mall we had gone to for lunch the previous day.
It was the Raffles City Mall. I didn’t spend too much time on the bigger shops; they were just like what was available at home, literally. Instead, I poked around the little eateries and the local grocery store. I love walking the aisles of a grocery store when I travel. It sounds so simple but I like seeing what’s locally available. Sometimes you really have to look because it can be mostly global brands – Oreos, Kit Kats, Hershey bars, and Ritz crackers abound. But sometimes I discover different flavors I only see in other countries like Coconut Oreos and seaweed flavored chips. At least I assume we don’t have them in the US since I don’t shop Asian grocery stores when I’m at home.
I found a different bakery this time and picked out a couple of different bread rolls for dinner that night. It may seem like a humble meal and at less than $5 SGD, I’m not exactly padding the expense report but, hello, Asian bread. I’m there. I was staying in a really nice hotel but the cheapest room service entrée cost more than I spent eating local in a day. So no room service for me. Even if room service had been free, I still would’ve preferred wandering the underground malls and little eateries for sustenance. That’s how I like to experience a country - through its food.