Farewell my Merlion

25 04 2011

Yes, I shall see you again.


WITH UNINTENTIONAL peremptory shortness, I told Brother, “Bittersweet.”

He had just asked me how I was feeling.  It was the eve of my departure from Singapore after what I would play down – cliché as it may sound – as a two-week whirlwind affair with the city, an intimacy that could put “isang linggong pag-ibig” (one-week love affair) to shame.  I truly had a great time in the Lion city that with every second I took to sip the potent miso-flavored broth of my ramen, I knew it was one second that inched me closer to daparture time.

Farewell dinner was at Aoba Ramen Restaurant at Ion Orchard.  While it was yet another recommendation by Friendship, it was I who insisted on the place.  I’ve been meaning to devour their ramen from when Friendship first pointed the place out to me from our vantage point at Muji, a level below.

It being a Friday night, I knew all those I would’ve wanted to partake a meal with me could be off to other plans.  But it wouldn’t hurt to wish to have them all there – Friendship, Partner & The Boy Wonder, Rizzie & Bom, Giant Paulo, Brother, and Green Lantern.

Three of eight showed up, a pathetic batting average you may say.  But I couldn’t do anything about Partner having to leave a couple of days prior for business in Connecticut, Bom being in his own trip in Idaho, Giant Paulo choosing to spend quality time with his visiting wife, and Green Lantern having to get on that redeye to Manila, the night before, to surprise his mom on her birthday.

But I couldn’t ask for more, being surrounded by Friendship, Rizzie and Brother.

Corn Miso Ramen


Agedashi Tofu




Wakame Seaweed Sushi


Ebi Mayo


Japanese Rice


Brother's Salmon Steak

A couple of weeks back, I waxed nostalgic about my time in Singapore, going to as far as describing how I felt to be a mix of bittersweet…  and incomplete.  In hindsight, I find this confusing convolution of emotions to have been brought about by the pleasant surprise that was the Lion city.  I find it to be exactly what my bowl of Corn Miso Ramen turned out to be.

I’ve favored miso-based broth for quite a while, and have always expected it to be quite thick, robust, and even tangy, compared to soy- and salt-based broths.  But it was pleasant to find in front of me at Aoba, a thinner broth that was less salty than what I’ve been used to.  But a change in consistency and relation to seawater didn’t take away from it being hearty.  And – Surprise! Surprise! – there was a lot of corn (it was “corn” miso after all), something I’ve never had in my ramen before.

I’ve always associated Singapore to what enterprising individuals have reduced it to in souvenir items – “Singapore is a ‘fine’ city.”  A kind of structuredness that I thought I would find hard to fit in.  But surprisingly, it was exactly what I need at this point in my life.  And while this is true, much like the burst of color and sweetness that came from corn kernels swimming in my miso-based ramen broth, I came to realize that options to improve myself and may I say, “strive to be happy” are within my reach.

I can’t wait to be back.

Dinner time!


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