Today we were off to Universal Studios. Not sure why but the park doesn’t open till 11am, so we had a very quiet morning and just took a cab over to the park. Singapore being small, we weren’t really that for from the park so a cab there was only $14 (cabs seem much cheaper here than at home).
Before entering the park we found the Lego store so had a good cruise around there before park time. As soon as we got in the park my inner 13 year old was “Let go on all the rides!! Roller coasters yeah!!”.
The first ride we picked was the “transformers”. Not exactly a roller coaster but a great 3D type ride with hydraulics that moved you up/down,
Left/right etc. My inner 13 year old might have been “rides – yeah! Let’s do them all” but my 50+ year old stomach was saying “umm, no – I don’t think so…”.
The stomach won that battle, from then on we pretty much just stuck to the kiddy/nana rides. We did make one exception for the water log ride in the Jurassic world section, fantastic, but you will get very wet. Luckily I packed a second pair of shoes.
The Shrek 4D experience and the Steven Spielberg “Lights/Camera/Action” where you experience a hurricane were both excellent.
If you do visit the park, get a “skip the line / fast pass” it will save you hours of queuing. Some rides had a 60 minute wait, the fast pass cut that down to 10 minutes.
On Sunday evening before dinner we took a “bumboat” river cruise here in Singapore. The name of the boat comes from a Dutch word for canoe “boomschuit” or tree boat. We had planned to do this on Saturday evening, it was one of the only things I hadn’t booked in advance (it’s a small boat cruise with dozens of boats – shouldn’t need to prebook that!).
Well I was wrong, it was packed and completely sold out on Saturday evening. Sunday was vastly different, we could get tickets easily and sit wherever we wanted on the boat.
The cruise only takes about 40 minutes and doesn’t go all the far, just around Clarke Quay and into Singapore harbour and back, but you do get a nice little history lesson on this part of Singapore plus some fantastic views of the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. I would do this later around sunset to get some pictures of all the lights.
Dinner was some great Cuban/Mexican fusion in Clarke Quay
Found a cafe hiding right across the road from our apartment here in Singapore. Coffee was a little stronger than the others I’ve had here in Singapore. Was also slightly cheaper, most coffees here are now over $8, which is double most places at home. This one here was $5.50
Cafes are no where near as busy as cafes at home in the early morning. 7:30am and there are only a handful of people in here
On Sunday we did a food tour of Chinatown with the “Secret Food Tours” company. This will be the fourth city I’ve done with the same company (Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo were the others) and this one did not disappoint. We started near one of the subway exits in the Chinatown section of Singapore and stated from there. Our guide (Helen) is a Singapore local with Chinese heritage, full of energy, exuding happiness and willing to answer any of the questions we had on Singapore-Chinese food and culture.
We started with BBQ Pork Bakkwa which is a dried flat spiced piece of pork that’s BBQ’d. It’s slightly chewy with a lovely Smokey sweet taste. Not really amazing to look at, but absolutely delicious. It’s similar to jerky, but way nicer.
We then headed into one of the massive Hawker centres in Chinatown. After finding a table (not really an easy task with the throngs of people about). Helen brought over some Singapore style coffee, which is coffee with condensed milk at the bottom which you stir through. This combination really works in the hot humid conditions of Singapore. We had some hot Chinese breakfast food, a curry puff and a “Butterfly Cake” which is similar to a donut or fried fritter with sesame seeds.
Next on the food list was “Popiah”- Chinese spring roll- peanuts, turnips, carrots- thin skin- all ingredients in roll are cooked (again delicious).
The next dish was one I’ve read quite a bit about and have been anxious to try it. It’s Hainanese chicken. It doesn’t look appetising by any means, as it’s poached chicken with the skin on. Helen mentioned the best way to order it is to ask for the skin removed and no bones. The rice is cooked in chicken broth and comes with a small bowl of extra chicken broth to pour into the rice. Condiments for the side are sweet duck sauce and garlic chilli. The dish has a very delicate flavour and with the duck sauce it’s delicious. I found the chilli sauce way to hot.
After these dishes we strolled through the hawker centre where Helen pointed out the various other foods on offer, which vendors were the better ones and the history of the hawker centres.
I don’t think any food tour of Singapore (or anywhere else in south east Asia) would be complete without discussing Durian. It’s a large fruit that smells absolutely foul and disgusting but apparently tastes delicious. I can’t get past the smell to even taste it, but I did taste some durian ice cream. Thankfully that didn’t smell at all. The fruit has such and overpoweringly disgusting smell it’s illegal to take it on the subway here and almost all hotels ban guests from brining it in.
The final hawker centre we visited was the Maxwell hawker centre on the edge of Chinatown. Here we we had some “Appam” which is a fine Indian pancake (closer in texture to a French crepe) with sugar and coconut. This was washed down with a local “Tiger” brand beer. The local tradition is to pour it over ice to keep it cool longer – it works
If you have a couple of hours to spare this is a really worthwhile tour, and you certainly won’t leave feeling hungry!