Ran across this item while browsing at Dean and Deluca in Orchard Central. Ever tried one of these Green Musk Melons? At 100 SGD (that’s 80 USD or 50 GBP) a piece I hope they are absolutely fantastic! That’s one food item you don’t let rot in your refrigerator.
Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
Posted in Expensive Eats, Fancy Eats, Food, Food Photography, Foodie Photo of the Day, fruit, Grocery Store, grocery stores, Photography, Singapore, Vegetarian/Vegan, tagged dean and deluca, foodie photo of the day, fruit, green musk melon, grocery store, orchard central, Singapore on April 18, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Asian, Cooking, Food, Grocery Store, Singapore, Weird Asia, tagged additives, Chinese Food, cooking, Food, grocery store, monosodium glutamate, msg, weird Asia on March 30, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
On weekends spent working at home, Husband and I will often have some noodles as a lunch-time around the house snack.
We buy two different types of noodles. I get the ones without monosodium glutamate (MSG) and he gets the ones with MSG. He swears it makes things taste better, and I swear it gives you cancer or some other sort of yet unnamed disease. He asked for proof and so I go down a rabbit hole of the internet.
The only knowledge I start out with is that an ex’s dad was so allergic to the stuff that he had to carry an EpiPen with him when he dined at restaurants just in case the chef slipped some MSG in. He ended up being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance one Thanksgiving when the family decided not to cook and go out instead. That alone is enough to freak me out.
Being a good science reporter (one of my day jobs), I couldn’t leave it alone at that. Besides, my scientist husband doesn’t accept anecdotal evidence.
MSG is isolated glutimate, the chemical that gives foods umami flavor – that taste found in asparagus, tomatoes, cheese and meat outside the four well-known tastes of salty, sweet, sour and bitter. Pure MSG does not have a pleasant taste until it is combined with other savory food items.
My local grocery store in Singapore sells it alone by the bag full to cook with. The first time I ran across it, I couldn’t believe how socially acceptable it was as an ingredient and had to take a photo.
Glutamate is naturally found in many foods and a research study from 2009 revealed that the tongue has a receptor that is exclusively activated by the chemical.
If it’s naturally found in foods, then why are we so scared of it? Well, there’s quite a bit of research out there linking the isolated form of the chemical to obesity, headaches or other symptoms. And yet there are other studies saying it is just fine.
So how do you know whether to avoid or embrace? I’m no doctor but I say if it gives you headaches, Chinese Restaurant Symptoms or other difficulties, avoid.
When it comes to your food choices, personal anecdotal evidence (aka your experience) is OK.
Personally, I’ll continue to embrace naturally umami laden foods but avoid the stuff in its isolated capacity. There’s just something unappealing and unnatural about heaping the synthetic shiny white crystals out of their plastic bag and onto my plate. But then again I take my coffee and teas without sugar and sweeten my desserts with agave nectar.
Still confused on what to do? Don’t sweat it too hard. Just remember the words of Micheal Pollen.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
I’m pretty sure that bag of crystals is not a plant and I’m more than hesitant to categorize it as food.
Posted in culture clash, culture shock, expats, Food, holidays, Singapore, tagged Chinese new year, culture clash, expat, holidays, oranges, orchid, outsider, red envelope, Singapore, year of the snake on February 7, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Can you imagine what an alien would think of Christmas traditions if it landed in the US in December? Fat men wearing beards and red jumpsuits sneaking into people’s houses at night, a possibly alcoholic drink made with raw eggs, weird shiny stuff hanging on trees that have been cut down and placed indoors. Specially designed songs?
When you put it that way, it does sound strange. That sums up my Chinese New Year experience so far.
I know it’s right around the corner. I know it’s a big deal. I understand that each year symbolizes an animal. I was born in the year of the rooster, this year will be the year of the snake. I just have no idea what it really is or what people are going to do to celebrate.
A month ago I took a work training course and as a completion present I was given decorative envelopes. “What are these for?” I asked the girl next to me.
“They are for the new year,” she said.
“But what do I do with them?” I asked.
“They are only for married people,” she explained.
“Oh I’m married!” I exclaimed.
“You put money in them and give them to people who are not married. It’s a thing you have to do. But only in even increments for good luck.”
I gave her the are-you-insane look. I didn’t benefit from this system when I was single. I don’t think I’ll start participating now.
Plus, as a 30-something year old woman with no family in the country, it would be weird to start handing out money filled envelopes to my late 20 and early 30-something friends.
I see the preparations going on around me. I notice that many businesses are closing down. Closures are not just for a day or two, but for an entire week. I am prepared for an event, but I don’t know how prepared I should be. Questions like “will I be able to get food or should I start hoarding?” start to come to mind.
The hair salons are either charging extra or hosting new year packages. There are plants for sale everywhere. I joined in the fun and bought a lovely orchid.
The grocery store is stocking canned abalone and orange gift baskets. You bring oranges to your host and they give you the same in return.
It reminds me of the time in the 6th grade my birthday twin, Deena Wilkins, and I gave each other a happy birthday 5 dollar bill. “Happy birthday!” we said as we swapped $5 notes.
And then there’s the campaign urging people to not eat shark fin soup this year. Apparently it’s a real problem only perpetuated by the desire to adhere to tradition.
I have lots of surprises coming. Sure I could do some internet research, but there’s only so much reading about something you can do. At some point you have to experience to understand.
Maybe I can convince someone to invite me around. I promise I’ll bring oranges, but please don’t expect a red envelope!
Posted in burgers, Food, Food Stalls, Peranaken, Restaurants, Singapore, take out, Tanjong Pagar, Thai, Vegetarian/Vegan, tagged Asian, CBD, Food, no msg, Peranakan, restaurants, Singapore, Tanjong Pagar, Thai, the Loving Hut, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole Earth on January 24, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Dear Whole Earth Singapore,
I love you.
I was taking a graphic design short course in Tanjong Pagar when I found this vegetarian place that specializes in Peranakan and Thai cuisine.
A main with brown rice after tax and service charge was $24, so it’s not particularly cheap. It is, however, healthy and delicious with nice interiors. I even experienced good service.
If you are a vegetarian but have always wondered what some of the classic Asian dishes taste like (hello shark fin soup), you must go here. My penang rendang was made of pan-fried mushrooms and had an amazingly meaty texture with the perfect blend of spices.
I took a look at the dessert menu and passed in favor of a green tea ($1.50) at the nearby divey but vegan Loving Hut. Excellent tactic as tea to go at the nearby western coffee stands was $4-$6. People, it’s just hot water and a tea bag I’m after.
I figured I was on a roll so the next day I gave Loving Hut a chance. This was a much less exciting experience. The vegan ocean burger was, shall I say.. disgusting. The lemon ice tea was full of sugar. Why do people pre-load sugar? I really wish they would stop. Singapore does indeed have a sweet tooth that I am missing.
In summary, in two days I had good vegan food and not so good vegan food near Tanjong Pagar.
OMG I just found out that you can get Whole Earth delivered.
Whole Earth is located at 76 Peck Seah St (Tg Pagar MRT Exit A)
For Reservations: Tel: 65 6323 3308
Open Daily. Operating Hours: Lunch: 11:30am to 3pm (last order at 2:30pm) Dinner: 5:30 to 10pm (last order at 9:15pm
Posted in Cheap Eats, Food, Foodie Photo of the Day, fried, Hawker Food Diaries, Singapore, Thai, Vegetarian/Vegan, tagged Food, foodie photo of the day, fried, Hawker Center Diaries, hawker market, Holland Village, Singapore, thai food, Vegetarian on December 28, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Watch out, it’s a bit spicy.
Posted in Cheap Eats, Food, Food Photography, Food Stalls, fruit, Raw foods, Singapore, Weird Asia, tagged asian fruit, Food, food photography, fruit, Fruit Stalls, lychee, rambutans, Singapore, weird Asia on December 5, 2012 | 3 Comments »
With the likes of durian and passionfruit, my life has become a lot like that lastminute.com advert that urges you to “go somewhere with complementary fruit you’ve never even heard of.” Oh come on, you’ve seen it. There’s a version of it here.
My friend, Eva, whom I recently met in Thailand urged me to try rambutans. Tricky to open, they are delicious, sweet and they come in small bite size portions. Because of their small portion size, I like to refer to them as “low commitment fruit.”
Cruising through the market in Singapore, the aunties are pushing their produce. Lo and behold! Rambutans.
I picked up a bunch for snacking. I had to, they wouldn’t sell them in any smaller quantities.
To eat, cut the skin open or squeeze in your hand until a lychee-like ball appears. Be careful of the seed!
Posted in British Experience, culture shock, expats, Food, holidays, Immigrant Life, London, Singapore, Thanksgiving, tagged bbq, expat, Food, london, Singapore, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving abroad, turkey on November 14, 2012 | 3 Comments »
For myself and a lot of Americans, Thanksgiving is a much bigger family holiday than Christmas.
This sentiment was not noticed until I started living in England where there is obviously no real celebration of Thanksgiving. Christmas in the UK is the major holiday and the month of December is full of many parties leading up to the event.
My view is different.
When working in the American corporate world, a week off of work is rare. Since I saw travel as an important life experience, I always used that week accordingly.
Thanksgiving, however, is a long weekend meant for families. You spend the day cooking real food, relaxing with your biological or adoptive family and trying to remind yourself of all you have to be grateful for.
Thanksgiving is the underdog. So much more wholesome than it’s greedy expensive sibling, Christmas.
When you are living abroad, things shift. Sure the grocery stores stock American food items including cans of french fried onions for your green bean casserole and free range turkeys, but you don’t get the day off work and the people around you don’t understand the holiday in its entirety.
Last year in London I decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner at my home. I had a friend visiting from the US who had brought along a friend of hers and a few other American and non American friends to invite over.
I envisioned a day full of cooking and sipping wine followed by lively conversation around the gorgeous dinner table in our conservatory. I spent time sourcing ingredients and pre-ordered my groceries online.
And then things just fell apart.
The girls staying with me had a massive fight the night before, leaving one of them missing until the next morning and when she did reappear they were not speaking.
My groceries were late. Really late. Which left me late to put the turkey in.
People’s schedules got delayed and I spent the day cooking alone with two house guests who were in a sour mood.
And as the weather was changing, the nights getting longer, people were more and more fatigued. Dragging their bones from across London to my house after a long day of work to have a few bites of turkey and leave.
So much preparation, and then it was over. The guests had given it their all, considering the situation. My expectations obviously needed to be adjusted.
I had made sure there were plenty of leftovers to take home, but few obliged. As I don’t eat turkey, there were to be turkey sandwiches for my husband for weeks to come.
“I tried to get a small one,” I reasoned.
“Next year can we just get a small chicken or a ham?” he asked.
“You’re lucky it wasn’t a tofurkey,” I answered.
So this year, we have done a major oops. Without the constant reminder that it is around the corner, we have made other irreversible plans that do not involve traditional Thanksgiving activities.
Maybe it will be better this way. We can celebrate the following Saturday. Gather together the few Americans we know across the island of Singapore and cook a turkey on our primitive gas fired camping stove that acts as our primary cooking device.
Or perhaps its time to redefine Thanksgiving and make it work for us. Afterall, the Australians spend Christmas having a BBQ on the beach. Maybe we trade in the warm cider and oven baked turkey for corn on the cob and champagne. Adapt. New traditions are all in the making.
Posted in 24 hour, Food Stalls, Little India, Restaurants, Shopping, Singapore, the Mustafa Center, Weird Asia, tagged 24 hours, cheap eats, discount shopping, eye massager, Little India, sensory overload, shopping, Singapore, the Mustafa Center, tomato soap on November 13, 2012 | 1 Comment »
Oh no! They’ve closed the Singapore Carrefour! Both of them!
Panic. Where am I going to get things?
“Imagine not having a Walmart or a Target to go to,” I tell Leslie back in Texas.
“Yeah, I could see how that would be annoying,” she says.
It’s not that either of us like or philosophically support Walmart, it’s just that sometimes it becomes a necessary evil.
“Can’t you order things online?” Leslie asks.
“No,” I sigh. “Some things you can, but its not like they have an Amazon here.”
“Can you Yelp it?” she suggests.
“Nope no Yelp either,” I answer.
Hopefully someone more business-minded and less lazy than myself will see this as an opportunity.
But alas, this may be an overreaction. Afterall, there’s always the Mustafa Center.
In the heart of little India and open 24 hours, it’s 75,000sq ft of random and not so random items, a hotel, café and supermarket. It is the place to go to buy tomato soap, an engagement ring, an ipad and an eye massager all at 2 am on a Tuesday, emerging three days later after a sensory overload induced psychosis has finally run its course.
That’s right, I said tomato soap, not soup. And yes, an eye massager as well.
Did you think I was kidding?
In the spirit of Diwali, maybe I’ll head down to little India. Since I’m there anyway, perhaps I’ll pick up a curry, some aspirin and a new laser printer.
If I’m not back by Friday, send a search party out.
Editor’s note: Yelp has answered my plea! Or maybe I was mistaken in the past. Seems like some Singapore places are rated on the site. It’s a start.
Posted in Cheap Eats, coffee, culture clash, expats, Food, perspectives, Singapore, Weird Asia, tagged cheap eats, coffee, coffee cup, culture clash, expat, Food, Singapore, weird Asia on November 11, 2012 | 2 Comments »
The first time I saw this, I giggled.
Seriously? You have added a plastic piece to turn my beverage into a carrying case? They do this almost everywhere in Singapore. You order a juice, a coffee, from just about everywhere unless it’s an American chain and you get this flimsy appendage as a bonus.
Because it’s too difficult to carry a cup?
“Hey don’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” my inner voice tells me.
I tried to order my coffee without it once, but I’m not sure what it’s called and the lady behind the counter didn’t understand me and just thought I was weird.
I’ve progressed. I now ignore it instead of immediately ripping it off, but it still just seems like extra trash destined for a landfill to me.