Monday, July 28, 2014

Hari Raya Puasa 2014

Each Hari Raya, my family will look forward to a sumptuous lunch at my sister-in-law's place where a huge Malay feast awaits us and all visitors.They even have catering equipment and heater to display the food they have cooked throughout the night. Beef beranyi, ayam merah, longtong, rendang, sambal tumis, achar and more. We had more than a serving each and I even had to skip tea that afternoon, something that is rare for me. Malay ladies do take a lot of pride in their food and it seems like a very natural tradition for girls in the family to learn how to cook. My husband's nieces seem to take on this course naturally. 

Beef  rendang 

Sambal Goreng with vegetables

Beef  Beranyi 


Ayam merah 

Sambal tumis with quail's eggs

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gardens by the Bay

Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own country. I've come to realize that Singapore has changed so much that I don't seem to recognize what I grew up with. Singapore has gone from third world during my parents' generation in the 60's ( Singapore became independent only in 1965 ) to first world right before my eyes. Change is inevitable but most Singaporeans do feel that by becoming a global city in such short a time, we lose a big part of our heritage and our identity. 

I decided to take a day off to just walk around Singapore. Gardens by the Bay is a place that I've not visited even though I have heard so much about it. I first saw strange futuristic structures in the making when I happened to be at Marina Bay two years ago. They were still under construction and had me wondering then. Today, these super trees are quite a vision. I couldn't help but stare at it in awe. As I had only an hour to spend at the Gardens, I had to make do with a quick walk around. What surprised me too was the white painted bronze sculpture called Planet featuring a child suspended in mid air . Just like the super trees, it was quite a surreal vision . Images that are stark, bold and different in contrast to the fauna and flora all around. Images of modern Singapore. Some of it are quite good but it is important to keep the balance. A mix of traditional and modern - something forward and something familiar that keeps us rooted.  Guess we all have our preferences. I have always preferred things to evolve organically. 

Think I will check out the conservatories in the Garden the next time. 

Planet - white painted bronze, stainless steel by Marc Quinn , United Kingdom 

This is my first sighting  of a calabash tree

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ramadhan Food bazaar at Bussorah Street.

If you mention kuehs in Singapore, most Chinese Singaporeans will mention Bangawan Solo nonya kuehs as they are kind of a ubiquitous sight in shopping malls . But for a change, try the Malay kuehs at Arab street around the Sultan Mosque, especially during the Ramadhan period. After a most delightful lunch at Sabar Menanti II consisting of chicken korma, the softest beef rendang and sambal squid, I couldn't help buying the Malay kuehs just outside the shop. There were boxes of the most interesting and colourful kuehs which were mostly sweet though there were some savoury ones as well as the ever popular curry puffs. Made from a variety of ingredients such as glutinous rice flour, coconut, gula melaka, pandan, green pea flour etc and steamed to perfection. Most cost less than the price of the commercial ones at Bengawan Solo and there is a wider variety. My absolute favourite is Pulut Panggang- glutinous rice with dessicated coconut in the middle, wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled to perfection. The honey comb steamed cake ( I love calling it the ant's nest cake) has the most interesting taste texture, spongy with a fragrant caramel taste that is not too sweet and just right. I've tasted kuehs at Geylang Serai before but to me the Sabar Menanti ones are tastier. 

After a most satisfying lunch, I wandered across to Bussorah Street where the Sultan Mosque was situated  and came across a very lively food bazaar. As it was a Friday , just after prayer time, there was quite a crowd there , jostling to buy dinner and sweet treats to break fast at 7.15pm that night. Rojak bandong, Indian mee siam, roti john and more. Pity that I had to rush back. Definitely coming back again soon as the bazaar will only be around for less than 2 weeks before Hari Raya Puasa.