Holiday Foodsteps: Newton Circus Food Centre, Singapore
There were times when it felt like I was seeing Singapore for the first time in my life - the Singapore of my childhood is a blur of shopping malls and colouring pens now, and I seem to have absolutely no recollection of the food. So when we were taken to Newton Circus, I had no idea what was in store for us and was quite surprised to find ourselves at a busy food court with row after row of stalls selling seafood-anything.
You know you're in a touristy spot when every table has a friendly warning stuck on it.
Since chilli crab is one of those much-talked-about Singaporean dishes, we thought that it would only be right to order some to share. While fresh, the chilli crab we had here tasted, unfortunately, a lot more like sweet and sour (or maybe just sweet) crab.
The dangerously addictive deep fried mantou that was a sidekick to the chilli crab. With their crisp exteriors and soft middles, and dipped into the sticky sweet-sour gravy, they helped ease the disappointment of the chilli crab a little.
Oh how I love a good grilled stingray - and I must say, this very pleasantly surprised me. The marinade (and of course, the freshness of the fish) can make or break this simple grilled dish and I've come across many a version that missed the mark. The sambal on this had a nice zing to it, not too spicy, but with just enough punch to have kept my chopsticks reaching back for more and more.
To feel like we were having a balanced meal, kangkung belacan, which we found to be quite nicely done.
When I was recounting my Singapore experience to dad, he was surprised that I had no memories of Newton Circus at all - I'd visited it more than once as a child, one of those places that has remained a part of the city despite all the changes that Singapore has seen through the years. It felt touristy, for sure, what with all the stalls offering the same food and with menus that looked almost identical even in layout (not to mention the warning stickers on each table!)- but I suppose, it's one of those touristy rite-of-passage type things that completes the whole holiday experience.
The next time I'm in Singapore, I'm going to be on the lookout for some real chilli crab, though.