Singapore & Taiwan Trip (Day 1)

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At the end of September, we went on a trip to Singapore and Taiwan for around two weeks. This series of posts will share with you my day to day itinerary of landmarks we visited and of course the delicious food we tried.

We took China Airlines, a Taiwanese airline, since it was the cheapest flight available. We took a red-eye flight and left Vancouver at 2am. Since there are no direct flights to Singapore, we first did a layover to Taipei first, of which we arrived at around 6am local time the next day.

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The layover was around 2 hours and it took another 4.5 hours to arrive in Singapore. The Taipei Taoyuan Airport has a decent amount of shops so it wasn’t too bad of a layover. The flights itself were a hit and miss. The flight from YVR to SIN was pretty bad since the aircraft was much older and the food wasn’t very good, but the SIN to TPE flight was an upgrade with a new aircraft. Overall, the flights with China Airlines were still okay for the price we paid.

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We arrived in Singapore at around 1pm and the weather was humid with 30 degree weather in late September. S’s aunt picked us up from the airport, but it is extremely easy to take the metro to the city center. We then checked into Holiday Inn Express on Orchard Rd. since we would stay there a few nights before moving to the aunt’s place. The hotel was clean and the room size was sufficient. Would highly recommend especially since the location is very convenient.

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Since we were pretty tired, we took the rest of the day easy and just walked around the malls in the Orchard area.

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We headed into Takashimaya which had the chain store Four Seasons Durians. Since we were in Singapore, of course we had to give durian a try. We tried the durian crepe which had freshly made pancakes wrapped with real durian. Very fresh and pungent of course.

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Moving on, we headed to ION, another popular mall on Orchard Rd. and tried the jerky at Lim Chee Guan.

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They sell by the weight, and we tried both the pork and beef jerky. We actually enjoyed the beef much more. This is a must try in Singapore though! So delicious!

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We did a bit of shopping and then headed to the basement floor of ION where the food court is. We tried the Ice Shop which features an assortment of icy goodies.

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I tried the Cheng Tng while S got the Ice Kacang. The Cheng Tng is a traditional Singaporean dessert with light refreshing soup with longans, barley, agar strips, lotus seeds and syrup. The Ice Kacang is popular in both Malaysia and Singapore and this one was a colourful shaved ice with mango, jellies, and red bean. Reminded me of the ones in Vietnamese cuisine.

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For dinner, we headed to Newton Food Centre, a famous outdoor hawker center. In Singapore, if you want to try local food, hawker centers are the way to go. Not only are they relatively cheaper than going to a restaurant, these are the spots were the locals actually dine at.

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Newton Food Centre actually had a very nice ambiance, but I found it way too hot to eat at since there aren’t any fans or coverings on top to keep cool. It was also the most touristy market in my opinion.

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We ordered from a variety of stalls, but most of it came from Sin Sin BBQ Seafood. The aunt said that most of the stalls have pretty good food, but this is usually their go-to. You can sit anywhere you want and they will come to you and take your order as well as bring you the food when ready.

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The aunt suggested I try a very popular and refreshing drink which was the Sugarcane Juice with Lemon. You can also get this without lemon, which I actually preferred. The drink is rather sweet but perfect in the hot weather.

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Another famous dish are Cockles, which reminded me of periwinkles. You open up the shell and pick out the meat and can dip it in the chili sauce. Great to share.

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Popiah is the Singapore version of springs rolls. The thin dough wrapper is filled with shredded turnip, bean sprouts, peanuts, and fried tofu. You can dip this into a hot chili sauce. Good but wasn’t really my favourite.

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The Chicken Wings were one of my favourite! A nice char and crispy skin.

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Another popular dish is the Hokkien Mee which was topped with prawns and bean sprouts. It was delicious when mixed with the hot chili sauce.

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Of course we had to try the Grilled Stingray since it’s what Singapore is known for. We tried two versions – one with chili sauce on top and one without.

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It was my first time trying stingray, and the meat has an interesting texture. The middle is one bone, so you can scrape the meat off easily. The meat is rather on the tough side but is worth trying in Singapore.

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My all time favourite were the Chicken and Beef Satays. Dipped in the peanut satay sauce, these were full of flavour. It also came with Ketupat which is a common Malay item served with skewers. This is rice packed inside a coconut leaf. The rice therefore is very flavourful and you can dip it in satay to moisten it.

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Finally after dinner, we headed back to Orchard Road to window shop the luxury retail stores since it was close to our hotel. This is a great place to take a breezy walk at night. We were extremely tired after basically a whole day without sleep. We went to bed early that night and this wrapped up our first day in Singapore!

Details:

Holiday Inn Express Singapore Orchard Road: 20 Bideford Road, Singapore 229921

Takashimaya: 391 Orchard Road, Singapore 238873

ION Orchard: 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801

Newton Food Centre: 500 Clemenceau Ave North, Singapore 229495

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