The biggest plus of being a globetrotter is that you expeditiously know the places you will keep going to, throughout your life. They soon land on your list of favourites such that you will need only that one little excuse which will lead you right there. For the record I already have a long list of favourites, but in that list is a mini list of the top most favourites. Any guesses for the name of the city which is the crowning glory? Singapore indeed!
For a shopaholic like me, Singapore was an unmitigated haven. Ever heard of someone from Mumbai making weekend trips to Singapore just to shop for an important event, or just to shop for the love of shopping! Oh my… I did that countless times. I would book the flight and hotel online, and was all set. Each trip to Singapore was sheer bliss, especially Orchard Road. I think on all my trips I was perhaps just seen going up and down Orchard road, not sparing a single mall or a single deal. But there is a quirky reason that made Singapore one of my favourite cities to hangout, and that wasn’t shopping. Surprisingly for a non-foodie like me, the best reason to keep visiting Singapore was food!
I am a vegetarian who doesn’t even eat eggs and am totally fussy about food, even the vegetarian food that I eat. Imagine my plight when work took me all over the Far East, mainly Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia; and food was always a bone of contention. To top it all I have an even greater issue. Despite travelling all across the globe I have never been very open to tasting various cuisines in different countries. I keep searching for Indian restaurants in each new city I travel to. Infact when I started travelling in the early days I used to research beforehand and carry a list of Indian restaurants close to my office and hotel. Also, like my infamous Indian friends I could never really get down to packing foodstuff for my trips. Hence, travel to the Far East in the initial days made me edgy, and I was always stressed because of food, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia. That, till I discovered Singapore! And then there was no looking back.
Singapore is a city for serious eaters. I ascertained this even while I was studying on the Singapore campus of my B-school INSEAD. People say that New York is a city that never sleeps; in the same breath Singapore is a city that never stops eating. For a gastro-tourist, somebody who lives to travel and travels just to eat, Singapore is probably the best place one can go for maximum bang in a minimum period of time. For me my love for Singapore deepened even further for various reasons connected to food. Firstly, during my loooong shopping days, ‘my’ type of food was available in the food court of every single mall. There were various Indian takeaway counters in practically every food court, and that was such a stroke of luck! I could be out shopping, practically the whole day and not starve.
This one time, when I had to visit Singapore on work, a colleague took me to ‘try’ out Thai cuisine. I was in a flux because I couldn’t refuse and at the same time I didn’t know what to expect. The saving grace was that he knew I was a vegetarian and had told me that would get taken care of. Thank god! And today, I am so thankful that he made me experience Thai food, because that has become my favourite Singaporean cuisine. We went to Jane Thai at Orchard Towers. We had a great time and I got hooked to Thai food. There is no dearth of Thai restaurants in Singapore and most of them are fabulous eateries at great prices. Ofcourse, once in a while in Singapore I still love visiting the Indian restaurants in Little India and along Boat Quay.
Great shopping with lovely food has made the incurable shopaholic in me simply fall in love with Singapore! I’d like to close this post with a wonderful quote pertaining to Singaporean food that I read recently:
“Nobody in Singapore drinks Singapore Slings. It’s one of the first things you find out there. What you do in Singapore is eat. It’s really a food-crazy culture, where all of this great food is available in a hawker-stand environment.’ – Anthony Bourdain
Image source: Flickr