Friday, December 17, 2010

Singapore/Malaysia Day 5: Fish Head Curry

November 25, 2010
Singapore Day 5: Fish Head Curry

I was up at 5am again this morning and was totally awake so I just got up and checked email and Facebook. I was so awake that it wasn't worth going back to sleep, so I got up and started taking photos of the Singapore skyline. I headed down to breakfast early and laughed for the 100th time at the overenthusiastic elevator in our hotel that said, "Door... ooopening!" every time the doors opened. Absolutely hilarious.

My time zone is still pretty off but it's working out well for getting into work at a good time. We headed to work and got some Kopi on the way - it is SO sweet. This is the Singaporean-style coffee, and it has a LOT of condensed milk in it. Super good. It also came with a hilarious plastic bag handle, which I laughed about for like the entire day. At work in the morning it was Roti Prata day, which was soooo good too. There was some nice spicy Fish Curry sauce and you poured that onto the flat naan-like pancakes, which you had just "chopped up" by using a pair of scissors! Funny. I had a great chat with Malcolm and we enjoyed the awesome breakfast food.

After the morning of work, we headed for lunch with Nigel to a place called Old Town, which is famous for their white coffee and "3-in-1" coffee (a to-go pack which contains instant coffee, milk, and sugar - you just add water). I got "Nasi lemak" which is a variant of Chicken Rice (which, I found out, is just chicken with rice!) It was really good and quite spicy, it came with lots of chili sauce and Nigel was impressed that I ate all of the sauce with the rice. It was a sort of fried chicken, with coconut rice and also with small dried anchovies and roasted peanuts on the side. I also got a very sweet Rose float, and tried my first Teh Tarek!! This is "pulled tea", and is very famous in Singapore. (From Wikipedia: "Its name is derived from the pouring process of "pulling" the drink during preparation. It is made from black tea and condensed milk.") It was very good, and was a bit like a Tea made out of coffee! It was very strongly brewed but sweet from the condensed milk. I loved it. It was SO good!! Nigel also got us some Kaya Butter toast to try - Nigel had brought us some Kaya to SF when he last came to visit, but it tasted different in the Singaporean style with butter on brown toast. Nigel said it was important that the toast was crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. It was great.

We got back for a busy afternoon at work and then... rain!!!!!! We finished off the day and went to go meet Charissa and Ian and I was SO jetlagged that I couldn't form a sentence. Everyone laughed, I must have sounded super crazy. WuiYi, Nigel, Matt and I walked to WuiYi's car and they kindly drove us to the restaurant. Matt and I were WAY super hyperactive due to the jetlag and lack of sleep, and we were acting super crazy in the car. I'm glad Nigel and WuiYi have a good sense of humour and are patient people :) We were NUTS!! We drove to an area near Orchard for Indian Food, and the place looked amazing.

We sat down at the restaurant and they had Banana Leaf placemats! I've never seen this before, and it was a great sign that we were about to try something very authentic. I saw an Indian couple on the way in, scooping up rice in their hands and dipping naan into their curry with their hands and it seemed oh-so authentic! Very cool. We got the rice first and they poured it right onto our placemats... awesome! Then out came the Naan and it was very interesting and SO good - I tried a "Chili Naan" which was unbelievably awesome, I've never tried any Naan like it ever before. So good!!!!!!!!! Then out came all the curries - Brinjul (Eggplant), Chicken Tikka, Chicken Curry, Mutton, and even Squid (Matt tried that one and said it was "very different"). I ordered a Lime juice (which was very good) and Matt got a coconut to drink! Haha!!

And then, the piece de resistance... Fish Head Curry (*ack!*). The curry itself was very good but incredibly spicy - I dipped my Naan in there and it was a spicy one. The Fish Head was literally in the bowl of curry and was pretty amazingly gross. Hah. I was enticed by Andy to try the cheek part, "it's the most tender part" - and it was quite good. The sauce with vegetables was nice and VERY spicy.

And then came the eyeballs. Ahh!!!!!!!! For some reason I was particularly grossed out but some people at the table were totally fearless!! Charissa ate one instantly, no problem, and Andy too!! Wow!!!!!! They were totally fearless and I was amazed. Ed even said that he enjoyed the eyeballs and there was a limit on them - one Fish Head curry, only 2 eyeballs! So he said if everyone else didn't want one, then he would have wanted one! Wow. This was definitely an experience to remember :) I "turned the colour of the lime juice" (turned green/yellow, haha) when Nigel suggested I eat one, but then Matt saved the day by saying, "I'll eat it!" He said it was Jello-y and it sounded soo grooosss!!! haha!! Wow. I hope I was good entertainment for the locals who were very comfortable with the idea of eyeballs, and I hope they were amused by how nervous I was, haha. :) Andy summed it up well, "It's all in your head" - I think that's probably why I was so worked up. It was truly amazing that the local Singapore folks ate the eyeballs with such ease! Also, Matt is crazy! Quite an evening, indeed.

After that we joked about the curry and started calling it "Eyeball curry" instead of "Fish Head curry". Our kind Singapore hosts drove us back to our hotel and we had a quick dessert of cheesecake and I did some laundry and wound-down for the night. I tried the TV for the first night but found only some random movies like "The House Bunny" - interesting choice for export from the US!

And off to bed, to dream of flying fish...

I woke up at 5am, so instead of going back to bed, I took photos of the Singapore skyline. :)

Quiet streets

The Merlion awakes!

More people up too early like me

The view from our balcony area

Cool building near our hotel with a Star of David on it

Kopi coffee with a HILARIOUS plastic bag handle, and Roti Prata for breakfast (mmm)

Friends at breakfast time

Chocolossus!!!!!! You are a champ.

The most Australian grin, ever. :)

Nigel excited for lunch

Me and a huge Rose float

Dinnertime at the Indian Restaurant which will now be famous for the "eyeball curry incident"

Excited for dinner

Lime Juice was a good choice!

Ian being super crazy!!

Me rockin' the banana-leaf placemats

"Wait, is this a napkin?"

Here comes the tasty curry!

Andy showing off all the different tasty curry options

Chicken Curries, and notice the rice directly on our banana-leaf placemats!

A squiddy/squid-ink curry

Nigel stirring the pot... of Fish Head Curry!!!!!!! Right after this, everyone started eating the eyeballs. Then I turned green. Then Matt ate an eyeball... and history was made.

Matt going for it!!!!!!

Matt not sure about the eyeball...

Matt contemplating his decision to eat an eyeball - "That's sortof the point of Fish Head curry!"

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