Mary's View of S'pore - Vol 1

Mary's View of S'pore

I thought it would be good to send a different (woman's) view of S'pore. I have much more time to explore than Terry, so I've seen/experienced more than he. That is another different topic.

Some of the more colorful places that I have been to are food courts and wet markets. Both are plentiful all over S'pore. Quite often they will be associated with large HDB's (Housing Development Blocks). These would fairly equivelant to low income housing except they are huge apt. complexes. Food courts and wet markets will usually be found in a large common courtyard of these complexes.

Food courts are the most incredible eating establishments I've seen. I use the term loosely. Big ones can have anywhere from 50-150 food stalls. All selling different things to eat/drink. The prices are unbelievably cheap!!! A large portion of most anything with rice will only cost S$3.00-4.00. I couldn't cook it for that!

However, these places are not for the faint of heart. Cleanliness is not of the highest priority. U.S. Health inspectors would have a field day. THe sights and smells are pretty ompressive to say the least. I've seen a man calmly washing a duck (uncooked with head) in a bucket of water - one after another. In the stall next to him you will find cooked duck (with head). I don't know what 90% of the stuff is that is offered to eat. I'm not sure I want to know if Lotus Pig Organ Soup is any indication. I'm still kind of squeamish about eating in such places, but give me time and I'm sure I'll go "native". Especially if it gets me out of cooking!

Close by, sometimes even in the same "building" - these are all open sided structures with just a roof- is a wet market. Quite often these stalls supply the fresh ingredients for the food courts. Wet markets sell fresh produce of all kinds. And I mean FRESH! Sometimes the fish are still flopping around. Again, the sights and smells are not for faint of heart. Fresh goat meat kind of permiates everything. Carcuses are either hanging from hooks or just lying on tables waiting for you to tell the propritor what kind if cut you want and how much. Need I say why they are called "wet" markets? I've been told to wear old shoes that I don't mind geting dirty and smelly and to wash them off when I get home. There is a famous such market in Little India that I still haven't experienced yet. Yes, I am taking pictures. Lots of them.

The food is plentiful and of great variety. We can find restaurants of any nationality (i.e. Swiss, German, Irish, Thai, etc.) So, any taste bud will be well satisfied. In fact, right in our little shopping center is a Burger King, KFC, and MacDonald's - all the comforts of home.

Some of the more interesting fruits that we have encountered are: dragon fruit (dark red with kind of yellow spikes with a white "meat" with black flecks like poppy seeds), mangosteens ( dark red with red petals with a very sweet white meat in segments like an orange), star fruit (looks like a star, taste is kind of non-descript), jack fruit, pomelo, rambutin, zirzat, and durian we have not experienced yet. Durians are large fruit that is supposed to tase wonderful, but it stinks to high heaven. In fact, the MRT's will not allow them on the trains. Curious.

Next installment: Maids and Cockroaches