I have been to Singapore many times. My initial visit was as a stopover between Colombo and Manila for three days, staying at the YMCA in 1973. Afterwards, we would visit yearly on home leave back from Manila to Colombo and stay in some star hotel or other usually on Orchard Road. Clean air-conditioned rooms, mini-bars, in house television, and standard hotel fare in standard Singapore. At that time I remember the succulent buriyani we used to eat with our fingers, collectively sharing from the same big plate on the centre of the table taking care to use our right hand as culture dictates. This particular restaurant had to be in little India, and I have searched for it since, but have not been able to find it. Aside from buriyani, it was the coffee shops that we loved. Cakes, Hot Chocolate: so we could break open the sachets of sugar and pour it in. Sugar was a rarity in Ceylon, then. In the summers spent at home either on the estates or in Colombo a cube of jaggery was sucked on sparingly whilst taking a sip of tea. So the sachets available in Singapore were a wonder. Of course we would pocket two or three to take back home.
This trip, food still played a pivotal part. Singapore’s collective creativity it would seem is so focused on its food and table. They excel at it. Three nights three great restaurants- 1) Vibes: a restaurant with mouth watering meat which was served on large skewers that the waiters bought to your table, where they would promptly slice off the rare roast beef, or perhaps two hand made sausages, maybe some lamb? 2) An outstanding Italian restaurant serving bona fide Pizza the name of which escapes me at the moment- and on the last night 3) The Silk Road. Szechuan cuisine at it’s finest.
In these instances, I live to eat.