It's been more than five years since I was last in Singapore, and it was incredible how much the city had changed!
In 2007, the city was just preparing for its first Grand Prix; this time, the entire financial centre had changed and welcomed such megastructures as the Marina Bay Sands hotel (which has an incredible infinity pool more than 60 stores up) and the Supertrees — a lush, green attraction that's part of Gardens by the Bay — are drawing loads of tourists everyday.
Despite all the newness, though, I was still drawn to a few areas:
Little Tekka market in Little India. I LOVE this hawker centre - there's so much delicious food on offer that it's difficult to choose just one dish!
On our first visit to the market (we went back twice in four days), I settled on chicken rice. Yum.
The Indian gentleman at this crêpe shop some impressive facial hair! His crêpes were DELICIOUS - we ordered sweet ones (with sugar and bananas), but they're also yummy when eaten with a savoury, tomato curry-type dip.
Someone recently pointed out that Singaporeans are all about "drinks in bags". This is teh tarik in a cup, in a bag. Cold drinks come directly in a bag.
Dozens of sari (and other printed silk and cotton garments) vendors upstairs... love the colours!
We also explored Haji Lane, which is near the Tekka Market and full of independent boutiques selling unique clothing, accessories and household trinkets.
I particularly liked this store, K.I.N., which stands for Know It Nothing and is "a multi label boutique" for men.
It stocks a bunch of international brands like Gitman Vintage, Robert Geller, Norse Projects, as well as a good (very small) selection of magazines (I was pleased to see Hobo, which hails from Vancouver there) and some locally designed garments, too.
We bought a couple of these "Nasi Lemak" t-shirts by Nom Nom, a brand that "celebrates Singaporean food culture"... on shirts! I love nasi lemak.
We also fell in love with this tiger rug from Nepal. It wasn't outrageously expensive (it cost SGD1000, which is about $800 or £500), and if we hadn't been off to Thailand and Myanmar next, I might have tried harder to convince Elliot that we needed it...
Next time... (If anyone is heading to Singapore and feels like bringing something back to London, let me know!)
A last look at Haji Lane.
A final highlight: a trip across the causeway to Johor Bahru, Malaysia, where we stopped for some bak kut teh before heading to the mall.
A lot of Singaporeans head to Malaysia for shopping (the exchange rate works in their favour - so much so that the Singaporean government requires you to fill up your gas tank to a certain level prior to crossing the border to discourage people from going over just for petrol), which we did too, but the pork bone / spare rib soup at this little restaurant was the tastiest I've ever had and, on a trip full of incredible meals, still one of the most memorable!
Me too busy getting ready to eat to look up at the camera!