Singapore Trip

So, Seb had a visa run and we decided to make a weekend of it and go to Singapore. Back in my tourleading days I used to visit Singapore regularly about 8 years ago. I’d travel from Bangkok to Singapore for two weeks, say goodbye to that group and welcome another group and then take them back to Bangkok. I think I calculated that I spent about 6 months travelling up and down the Malay peninsula in total. I loved spending time in Singapore. First up, we had a decent hotel compared with the cold water places with no TVs that I was staying in the rest of the time (this was before tourleaders had mobile phones let alone laptops with downloaded TV shows on them) so it was bliss. I’d spend loads of time on the phone as Telstra had a special deal where you could call from Australia to Singapore for ‘only’ $8 for half an hour. Thailand was nearly a buck a minute! I also really enjoyed the food and how comfortable Singapore was and it was a nice break from the rigours of tourleading.

So, this was my first trip back in a while. Seb had been recently and was keen to take me to a few places that he had discovered on his last trip. We arrived late and immediately headed off to Clarke Quay which didn’t exist when I was coming here all the time 8 years ago. I had to admit, coming from suburban BSD City, it felt strange to have so many people just kind of loitering and enjoying the beautiful space that Singapore has in spades.

Our awesome (and pricy) hotel had crisp Granny Smith apples on the reception counter. I  must have eaten 8 over the course of my stay.

After an excellent night’s sleep at the Park Regis hotel I went for a run (snaps to me as I can be very naughty when away) and then we headed off to Supernature which is amazing but expensive. I am not even prepared to say how much we spent here, but we did stock up on a lot of things that we can’t get in Jakarta, like Earth Balance, Nayonaise, quinoa, umeboshi paste and vinegar.

Afterwards, we headed over to Veganburg for lunch. Veganburg is a new restaurant concept that probably only exists in the US. It’s all vegan and all delicious. It is trying to be a fastfood restaurant but with ethics.They have only been open just over a year and they are hoping to expand with franchisees. I really hope they are successful. The food was great. It really just like a diner. The food was high in oil (of course, it is a fastfood joint) and you’d certainly pile on the pounds if you ate there everyday, but it certainly satisfied those fastfood cravings and so satisfying that eating this stuff wouldn’t clog up your blood vessels.Beside ourselves with excitement. Too bad the location is not central. They are opening another branch at Marina Bay next year.Love their counter area and their tempting menu.
The space is so nicely done out. I love that they are sharing the philosophy of living and eating this way with their patrons. Meateaters would come here and be completely satisfied here. There is NO deprivation here.It’s always refreshing to see a company’s mission statement and values placed in a prominent place. I love Veganburg’s.

We stuffed our faces. I had their mushroom special with seaweed fries and spinach poppets. Seb had two burgers. The only thing I wasn’t hugely keen on was the spinach and potato ball things. They just felt like a potato croquette. Nuffin’ special. I wish I had been hungry to try the icecream, brownies, muffins and soup.

After we rolled out of the restaurant, we went our separate ways. I headed off to get my hair coloured. Why get your hair coloured in Singapore when there are plenty of salons in Jakarta? Well, it’s not actually because I don’t trust Indonesians with my hair, it’s just that I haven’t found a salon that uses Paul Mitchell products yet. Most hair colours are owned by big companies like Revlon. They are notorious for their terrible animal testing policies. Paul Mitchell (to my best knowledge) does not test its products (or ingredients) on animals and while I do not like spending 2.5 hours sitting in a salon on my super minibreak, I prefer it to directly supporting those companies when I don’t have to.

For dinner we consulted the fantastic Happy Cow and found a good place to eat dinner. Living Greens is a centrally located restaurant that is all vegan (except for a bit of honey). More emphasis on wholesome than Veganburg it was just what we needed. We walked here from our hotel and I really enjoyed the walk especially as it went through my old stamping ground from my tourleading days.

It’s located on Beach Road, just a 10 minute walk from Raffles.

Seb ordered the Channa Masala. He was not hugely pleased with this. As the restaurant did not use onion and garlic he felt it lacked flavour. As a big onion and garlic fan, he is naturally disappointed when places don’t use what he feels is a compulsory ingredient in all foods. We had a lovely chat with the owner who explained that many of her customers do not eat onion and garlic (it’s a Chinese vegetarian thing) so she cooks without it. I tasted it and I have to agree, it wasn’t the best dish ever.Mine was good though.

I had a super salad….…and lasagne.

Seb had choc cake to make up for the Chana Masala. He liked it, but “not as good as Chez Brighde’s”. His words. Not mine!

Next day, Seb had to leave early to head to Bangkok. I went to see our old friend Adrienne from Hanoi. She’s working as a teacher at one of the international schools. We recently met up in Bali for a weekend so it was nice to see her again so soon. I was very humbled to be invited to her house for brunch. Her parents were visiting with their friend, so I was very grateful that Adrienne cooked a completely vegan brunch for us. And it was amazing. Tempeh hash, loads of fresh fruit, almond butter with wholegrain bread, juice, coffee. Here is Adrienne’s gorgeous cat Flower. Ridiculously cute kitteh! It was lovely to meet Adrienne’s family and their friend Cindy. Cindy told us about a project that she was working on in Hawaii. She helped out at a capture, spay and release program for the local feral cat population. I was particualrly thankful to cross paths with Cindy as I have become increasingly concerned with the feral cat population at school. She gave me some strategies on how to deal with it as I was worried that school might decide to ‘get rid of them’. She told me that this doesn’t actually work as there is a vacuum effect. Get rid of cats in a place where cats like to be (access to food and all that) and more will just come in their place. The answer is to capture them, spay them, treat them for any worms and other diseases and let them back in the the environment. Cats are naturally terrirotial so no other cats come in, but it does stop the problem of oddles of kittens around the place carrying goodness knows what. (I rescued a young kitten the other week only to have it die the next day from stress and the horrible aliments it had. Sniff)

I passed on what I had learned to the head of General Affairs at my school and told him we should consider implementing a similar program here. He seemed open to it. Huzzah!

After brunch, Adrienne took me for a quick visit to Orchard Road to the kitchen department of an incredible department store. Things I want: Super food processor and knife set. After all this, I headed back to the hotel and then to the airport.

What a weekend of abundance and joy! When I grow up, I could totally live in Singapore.

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