02 April 2020

B-Kyu travels: A Couple of Days in Singapore

Over the New Years holidays we had the (now privileged and lucky) opportunity to travel to Singapore, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur. We started off with a couple of days in the Garden City, ever changing and still surprising.

Each time we stay in Singapore we try and stay in a different area. This time it is Little India.

Modernity is creeping up on Little India. There's less buzz to the area than we remember on previous visits, but there is still buzz all the same. Riots in the area in 2013 have caused changes that reduced the number of services, restaurants and service of alcohol. A large new museum, the Indian Heritage Centre on Campbell Lane, has also changed the area.

We stayed close to Campbell Lane at The Daulat Hotel.  We stayed in a loft room but would have preferred the rooms without stairs up to a bed. After the bag drop we headed off to the nearest food place that also served beer, about 500m up the road. The Singapore humidity was in full force, we weren't going too far. RW Selmor on the corner of Campbell Lane and Clive St did the trick.

We started with a couple of beer friendly snacks. Paneer tika skewers blew our little minds, our philosophy about the first things we eat on a trip setting the tone for the rest of the journey seemed to be off on a happy sprint. Cubes of paneer (cheese) cooked in the tandoor, served with a yoghurt-y coriander sauce.

Next snack was a masala papad, a crisp cooked lentil wafer topped with fresh cucumber, onion, green chili and tomato. This simple idea was so tasty we vowed to do this for ourselves at home.

As the evening got later and the beers were consumed we needed something a little more. Chennai Arya on the lower end of Campbell Lane served up a dosai and curry to dunk in.

We loved the help yourself curry pots that got passed around the tables. Each one was filled with a different sauce, either coconutty, a little chili hot or a red lentil thin curry. The idea is you pour some on the plate and some into the container as you please.

Chennai Arya entrance (photo taken the next day) along Campbell Lane.

There's still a ton of great old school places to eat in Little India, it hasn't all gone shiny and new, we pick Tiffin Bhavan on Campbell Lane at random for breakfast.

You just can't beat roti for breakfast in this part of the world, washed down with sweet milk tea.

Later we wander around the block to Jelan Basar. We come out of the Indian enclave and into a fresh beancurd shop. These bowls of fresh made beancurd are stomach-happy-making comfort food extreme.  The little bit of ginger syrup on top is the magic touch.

3S Beancurd is 133 Jalan Basar. The 3S stands for soft, smooth and silky!

We rarely do the main tourist attractions but Gardens by The Bay is plant nerd nirvana.

We spent four hours in the big enclosed domes thingies, just blown away by the plant collection, the engineering, and the air conditioning. Oh sweet air conditioning.

We were also blown away by the fact that you could get decent good chicken rice at a major tourist attraction.

At the end of the day we had a meeting with our B-Kyu Singapore correspondent, Evie, who suggested the ever popular Makansutra Glutton's Bay. This is an easy way to travel across Singapore's multiple food hot spots when you are short on time, popular places have a stall here as well as their original stall or shop.

We managed to beat the crowds and get table overlooking the water. Noice. The name Glutton's Bay urges you to order up...

BBQ stingray from BBKia. Why don't we eat stingray in Australia? It has such ample flesh and a clean taste that will partner with many cooking styles.

Baby chinese greens. Our Singapore correspondent is appalled we would fill up on vegetables.

From Huat Huat: White carrot cake, so lush, filling and lardy. The carrot in this glorious mess is actually white radish.

From Hong Kong Street Old Chun Kee: Fried chicken wings in shrimp paste batter - crunchy and funky. Each bite unleashed a mix of fishy flavour and had that satisfying bite from the crisp batter.

From Do Rae Mee: Oyster omelette, lacy crisp edges and lots of fresh soft oysters. A master mix of contrasting textures.

And you gotta get some satay sticks, you just gotta. Comes with cut up cubes of compressed rice and chunks of cucumber to break up the sticky sweet sauce. From Syifa' Satay.

A surpise hit at dinner was a simple lime juice with a salted plum. The salted plum cut the sweetness just perfectly. We bought salted plums as soon as we got back to Sydney. We stumbled upon another version of this in Malaysia that was all lime and little sugar with a salty sugar plum hit, it was kind of like a virgin margarita.

Breakfast on our last day before we head off to our next stop. Our new favourite Singapore hawker centre is Little India's Tekka Centre.

It's great to see that the humble hawker centre still pull a buzzing crowd in Singapore when they are on the way out everywhere else. The Singaporeans get food right: they don't care whether it comes from a hawker centre, a Michelin Star restaurant or McDonalds - if it's good it's good.

A mix of dishes: Two types of curry, an idli and a big spoonful of poha. Poha became our new favourite here, it is a slightly spiced rice porridge made with flattened rice and cooked thicker than congee. Easy to use your fingers and scoop up chunks.

A chapati is a way healther option than roti, but tastes way less good. The dhal and side of veggies make up for it.

We go back for thirds - a just cooked egg appam, a thin crisp pancake with an egg in the middle and a bowl of sweet coconut milk for dunkage. This is living.

We loved staying in Little India. When we wander around the restaurants we see lots of dishes we've never tried. We hope to come back for a week and work our way through it all.

We love Singapore.


  1. This is great, I love Singapore as well, was hoping to head over for an extra long week end in August this year but the 'rona changed those plans. We did a food tour in the Tekka Centre last time I was there. Was a few hours and got to try lots I wouldn't usually try.

    1. We want to go back for a full trip there. We've only ever had two nights or a stopover, so the holiday planning is happening for a post Rona world. Or at least daydreaming.

  2. We were meant to be in SG as I type for a conference that’s been postponed... drooling...

    1. So many postponed plans, we are travelling through blogging!

  3. Took me straight back to Singapore! Love eating there esp how many street eats there are! Thanks for the chance to armchair travel

  4. Love it — especially now! But no tulang soup??? https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/07/16/331754845/not-so-offal-why-bone-soup-a-perfect-food-tastes-so-meaty


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).