Singapore Part 2: Walk, laugh, eat, get lost, repeat

One of my travel buddies described our days in Singapore as: “Walk, laugh, eat, get lost, repeat.” I couldn’t agree more. It was these simple joys that made Singapore such a great trip:

Say hello to our lovely accommodations – Fragrance Hotel Pearl, a cozy, a no-frills little place nestled right in the heart of Singapore’s red light district.

By cozy, I mean a 7′ x 7′ room. By no-frills, I mean strict one-towel-per-guest-per-day rules. And by red light district, well, that needs no explanation. We all decided that next year, we’ll upgrade our hotel choice in order to move closer to the city center….and to get more than one towel a day!

Like I mentioned in my last post, Singapore is interconnected by a web of subways and underground pedestrian walkways. We spent much of our time going back and forth like this. I had to sneak this shot because my friend got in trouble for taking a picture in the subway earlier that day.

(photo credit:

No cameras in the subway is just beginning of all the rules and regulations in Singapore. (That’s probably why it’s SO clean and SO safe.) Note the “No durians” rule. Durian is a fruit they have here in the Philippines too. They say it’s the fruit that “tastes like heaven, smells like hell.” I’ve heard it being described as rotten food, dirty socks, etc. So, I haven’t really gotten around to trying it yet.

This is Bugis Street. We passed through this place a couple times each day. Here, you can find cheap buys and cheap eats. I bought a cute top for $3!

Here’s my favorite stop on Bugis Street. Actually, you can find these juice stands just about anywhere in Singapore. It’s nothing really that exotic – just fruit, ice, and optional boba pearls. Still, it’s the best thing ever when it’s sweltering hot outside. Plus, who can resist all those bright colors?!

Here’s more fruit!

And now, for one of the highlights of my the trip: Din Tai Fung, home of Xiaolongbao – or, soup dumpling. This place is repeatedly listed as a “must-see” tourist destination. I’ve drooled over friends’ Facebook photos when they’ve visited. So finally, it was my turn. So what is Xiaolongbao?

Step One: These plump little dumplings are stuffed with the filling of your choice. Ours was pork. Don’t ask me how, but there’s also a soup/broth inside too.

Step Two:  Mix the following ingredients together in a small dish: Chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger. The amount and proportions are completely up to you. I just kind of watched other people and took a few taste tests until it had the perfect spicy/sour/salty mix.

Step Three: Place one of the dumplings onto your spoon, scoop up some of the dip you made, and pour it all in your mouth.

Step Four: Enjoy the soupy explosion of flavor!

Apparently some restaurants here in Manila serve Xiaolongbao – none as good as Din Tai Fung. I’m pretty sure I’ll need another fix soon, so I’m on the lookout for a reliable substitute!

Here’s one final look at the masters at work. Right after I got this shot they smiled and waved. I smiled back…although I kind of wanted to thank them and give them a hug!

I’ve got a few more Singapore photos and stories to share, so stay tuned. I’ve been super busy with work back here in Manila, so hopefully I can post again soon.


2 responses to “Singapore Part 2: Walk, laugh, eat, get lost, repeat

  1. There are two din tai fung locations here in Arcadia, CA if your back in the states and crave some juicy xiaolongbao. There is also another din tai fung location in Taiwan if you happen to make a trip there. In 2007, that was the first time John and I went on a search for this restaurant during typhoon with no one else on the streets. We were hailed down by two girls in red coats and umbrellas to welcome us in to this heaven. We seriously thought they were hailing us into a brothel until we entered. Haha…

  2. Hi Amanda – thanks so much for passing by my blog. I hope you are well! Actually, you and John are the ones who introduced Joe and I to this tasty treat. You took us there a loooooong time ago, maybe back in 2008 or 2009. Your story is hilarious. What troupers….but the struggle through the typhoon was well worth it, because you’re right, it is heaven!

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