An American breakfast in the Lion City

22 04 2013
CBTL_Breakfast_00_Merlion

Good morning, Singapore!

I WOKE up to an overcast Sunday sky morning.  When clouds hover overhead this way, I long to be gastronomically comforted.  When this mood hits me, I prefer to have the flavors of the familiar for breakfast.  Being deeply committed to a romance with places I call home, I decided on old-fashioned freshly baked bagel with a good schmear of cream cheese.

For a year and a half in Folsom, California, this was exactly my breakfast.  Clearly, my choice of the first meal of the day today is in honor of the States, which in the past few days has shown the world stories of courage, heroism, and hope.

Here in Singapore, I get my bagel and cream cheese fix from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.  I would ask that the bagel be cut across, then thrown to the toaster to just brown ever so lightly.  Onto the fluffy, chewy center, I smear a generous amount of cream cheese, the more it slides down to the sides, the better.  While most approach it like they would a sandwich, I actually deal with each slice separately.  Unless I find myself within the walls of my office cubicle, I see no need to rush the pleasure.

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Breakfast is served! Old-fashioned sesame seed bagel and cream cheese, with hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.

 

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This is a surprisingly affordable plate! The bagel costs only S$ 3.50 and the cream cheese, S$ 0.80. The butter and the jam are complimentary!

 

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The perfect bagel has a shiny crusty exterior and dense chewy interior. I asked for it to be cut across then lightly toasted. Just how I would do it at the office cafereria in Folsom for a year and a half!

 

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I’m always all the more so excited the moment I peel off the top of the cream cheese mini-tub.

 

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I reckon that this small-ish tub is always never enough. Hahaha!

 

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Nothing like hot chocolate with marshmallows on a cold morning.

I take a bite through the crusty outside all the way to the dense, doughy interior, unperturbed by the cream cheese moustache that would form with each bite.  I lick this tasty smear around my lips, take a sip of my hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, look outside the window and see that the sun is slowly breaking free from the clouds.

Indeed, there is still more good in this world.

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I just love this photo of the Merlion from my archives. I took it during one of the many breakfasts I’ve had here.

 

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The Singapore skyline in the early morning.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Peacefully non-violent

14 05 2012

Mohinga (Khau Kswe), Inle Myanmar Restaurant, Peninsula Plaza, Singapore

TWO WORDS – an adjective and an adverb – come to mind whenever I hear of Burma or Myanmar.  You can say it’s just my play on words.  Which it actually is – a juxtaposition which is an attempt on hyperbole, while really bordering on the redundant.  However you see it, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the country on my mind has come to be a paragon of what these two words mean:  peacefully non-violent.

Which, after The Malaysian brought me to Inle Myanmar Restaurant at Peninsula Plaza, just off of City Hall MRT station, has also now come to describe Burmese cuisine to me.  It was rather peaceful.  It was non-violent to the palate.

Having passed by the most prominent city hall in the Philippines on my way to college everyday, I thought it was sentimental to have my photo snapped right where it says “City Hall”.

 

Waiting for the traffic light to turn was time well spent. Haha!

 

Finally, the cheapest place to shop in Singapore!

Filing this find under the header of “Places That Alone I’ll Never Find,” I let my friend do the ordering, chiming in here and there with my agreement on why a dish was a good choice.

Inle Myanmar Restaurant Menu Cover

 

Burma (Myanmar) is The Golden Land.

 

Well, well, well… what do we have here?!

 

Aha! I’ve found a winner!

Starting off with the Picked Tea Leaves Salad (Laphet Thoke) signified that my taste buds were in for a treat of the staple flavors of the Burmese culinary landscape.  Tea leaves, the menu says, is not only drunk but also eaten in Myanmar.  These pickled tea leaves are chopped and served with an assortment of crispy chickpea, roasted peanuts, garlic two ways (fried and fresh), toasted sesame seeds, dried shrimps, wedges of fresh tomatoes, and finely shredded cabbage.  The salad can either be “individual” or “mixed” – served on a platter with “individual” pockets for each of these tasty components, or, already “mixed” up and dressed with the simple-yet-robust duo of vegetable oil and freshly squeezed lime juice.  While we did order it mixed, the salad evoked feelings in me that were far from mixed.  I absolutely loved everything about it!

Pickled Tea Leaves Salad (Laphet Thoke)

The picked tea leaves were surprisingly tender, not stringy at all, and beautifully tart, a sensation further underscored by the dressing.  It couldn’t be denied that this was one salad that was an explosion of textures.  Used to crispness that come from tomatoes that burst and greens that give off crunch, I appreciated the expanded mélange of sounds that play in my mouth from the chickpeas, the peanuts and the sesame seeds.

For whatever claim I make to having a “palate of the world,” I was dumbfounded to be able to pick out the flavor that ties all the many components of the Mohinga (Khau Kswe), arguably considered the national dish of Burma, which came to the table in a wide-mouthed pristine white bowl, perfectly setting off the rice noodle soup’s deep dark brown hue which in turn served as the canvass for an array of toppings that included a hard-boiled egg, fish cake, chickpea fritters, and my favorite fresh coriander leaves.

Mohinga (Khau Kswe)

I remember smacking my lips repeatedly – like a toddler devouring applesauce – trying to figure out what the wonderful, restorative broth was made of.  All too consumed with the yumminess, I failed to detect that fish was the base of the broth, given a hint of sweetness and faint fragrance by the heart of banana tree stem and stalks of lemongrass and bulbs of ginger.

It is almost necessary to devour rice in huge quantities in Asian meals, so I had to have the Butter Rice, all rendered more savory good by staining with the gravy from the Chicken Curry.  And as if cleansing the palate, I would grab bites of the Gourd Fritters, which may be a bit bland but definitely tastier when dipped in the accompanying tamarind and chilli sauce.

Butter Rice

 

Chicken Curry

 

Gourd Fritters

 

A tight shot of the tamarind and chilli sauce

 

Any meal is a perfect excuse for me to ask for my favorite fresh coriander leaves, also known as “xiang cai”.

 

Sour Plum Juice

Even with the mention of chilli in the dipping sauce, none of the Burmese dishes in our spread was close to “hurting” my taste buds.  So unlike in other cases when I would have my Sour Plum Juice close by to extinguish fire in my tongue, at Inle, I reached for it just to cap off a calm, soul-satisfying meal.

For the Mohinga alone, I will definitely come back.  Definitely no struggle towards making that decision.

In front of Inle Myanmar Restaurant

 

Right after dinner, The Malaysian and I walked around the area, on our way to coffee at Starbucks under the bridge, at One Fullerton.

 

Passed through a tunnel

 

There is light at the end of every tunnel.

 

From a distance, The Fullerton Hotel.

 

In front of The Fullerton Hotel (This and all other photos, taken with The Malaysian’s iPhone 4.)

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





‘Twas the night of Christmas

26 12 2011

“STAR BRIGHT / First star I see tonight / Could you or would you please shine your light? / Shine it so I can see / My Savior smiling at me / Star Bright, I hear you once proclaimed / This is the way, keep on followin’ me / and at the end of the road will be, a baby…”

I spent Christmas Day by having dinner at 313@somerset, a little shopping, walking on Orchard Road, catching whatever remained of the “Christmas is Love” show, hopping on the train to Esplanade, planning for high tea while passing by The Fullerton Hotel, walking to the Merlion, seeking some peace and quiet, and having coffee at Starbucks at One Fullerton.

It was a lot of walking amidst a seeming City of Lights.  It was like following that Star.

Outside the Esplanade Mall, I couldn’t help but hear “Star Bright” in my head as I took in the view of the amazing Singapore skyline.  Everything was lit up, everything was festive.  Everything was cheering me up.

And just like me, everybody has a silent wish.  Some of them brave enough to commit these wishes to paper – to be more accurate, plastic actually – as they wrote them on the shining diamonds that hung from posts outside the mall.

 

Star light, star bright,

The first star I see tonight;

I wish I may, I wish I might,

Have the wish I wish tonight.

 

Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved