Sunday, July 15, 2007

Today was the day I embarked on my long overdue epicurean exploration of the East.

It all started a few weeks back when I got the chance to taste what is supposed to be
the original Katong Laksa stall (47 East Coast Road, authenticity of claim to be verified, but supposedly true according to the New York Times article on the wall), which resulted in my texting an old friend, W., who lives in the area, and our deciding that, yes, we really ought to meet up.

First stop was Changi. During the half hour bus ride there from our meeting point, I proceeded to chat W.'s ear off, as is my wont. Meanwhile, he was trying to decide between bringing me to Changi Village hawker centre, or La Cantina, the rooftop restaurant at the nearby Changi Village Hotel.

For a second here, let me digress. I love colours. I am a sucker for colours. And so it was that I found the facade of the hotel absolutely adorable.

Anyway, because I very rarely go that far east, W. decided we should try the famous nasi lemak at the hawker centre. I'm not a huge fan of coconut, but I love the sambal chilli, chicken wings and otah that accompany the rice. Incidentally, there was a brief moment of amusement when I pointed out that ordering a standard chicken set with otah as an extra only cost S$1 more, while ordering a standard otah set with an extra chicken wing cost S$1.50 more, and therefore, there was potential for arbitrage.
Overall, the nasi lemak was not bad. The chilli wasn't as hot as W. (or I, surprisingly enough) would have liked, but I guess they heard I was coming today. The chicken wing was done in the traditional crunchy Malay style, while the otah was huge and tasty. It's not the best nasi lemak I have tasted though, and I think either Punggol or my favourite, Qi Ji, do a better job.

Next up was one of W.'s favourite drinks, soursop kalimansi, which turned out to be almost a meal in itself. It was a nice lime-flavoured ice-blended-like concoction from the drinks seller in the row over, but it was a little too much for me.

We ventured to the beach amidst the threatening grey clouds, only to be chased off when the rain started. So it was we turned to Plan B: Eat some more. We took a cab down towards Siglap, where W. was hunting for a dessert cafe which his friend had told him about, and as it turns out, I had recently read about in The Straits Times - Ice Cream Chefs. The place was rather small, with about three tables inside, and was generally rather cheerful, with the Ice Cream Addict, Ice Cream Freak and Ice Cream Fanatic all manning the er... stove?

We chose to mix Nutty Peanut Butter ice cream and Maltesers (left), and Nutella ice cream and marshmallows (right) together. The cooking process was rather cool, and although they offered to let us try to mix the flavours together, we decided to leave it to the professionals.

(Nutella on the left, Nutty Peanut Butter on the right)

Our final verdict? The taste of the Nutella ice cream was rather subtle (so subtle to the point that you don't taste any Nutella at all) while the Nutty Peanut Butter ice cream (with Maltesers) was rather like eating a giant frozen Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. And the two ice creams mixed together? Awesome.

After that, we went to get a drink and basically called it a day (with respect to eating, that is).

The next epicurean journey - to the north! Or perhaps back to the East. There's still so much there that I haven't managed to try yet... but I'm only one girl, and I only have one stomach!

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