This morning we had a tour with our “relocation expert” Sharm. Sharm is ethnically Indian but her family has been in Singapore for three generations. She is very proud of her country and very helpful as we try to navigate our way around a new culture. Today Sharm wanted to show us sites that were particularly fun for children, so we all piled into a van and were off to explore the island. Our first stop was Pasir Ris Park. It was a lovely series of playgrounds right on the beach on the eastern side of the islands. Aidan of course buried himself in the sand and became filthy at the first stop.
Then we drove a bit more alone the island to the East Coast Park. This is a lovely place where families will come on weekends to enjoy the ocean.
All the touring made us hungry so Sharm suggested some “finger foods”. We drove to the “Little Malay” part of town and stopped at a small restaurant called Kim Choo Kueh Chang. First we tried some Peranakan food delicacies. Peranakan is the description of the culture of people who are ethnically Chinese immigrants who have mixed with the Malay culture since the 16th century. Essentially it is “local” Singaporean food. Singapore like the US is a blend of ethnicities so it is very difficult to define local.
The first food we tried was Otah. This is made from a Mackerel fish paste marinated with chili, lemongrass and othe spices then wrapped in coconut leaves and grilled over a charcoal flame. You take the toothpicks out of the packet, pop off the top and eat out the the middle. It was very much like eating a tamale. A little spicy and very good.
The second food we tried was Bak Chung. This is a pyramidal shaped steamed sticky rice dumpling wrapped in leaves and boiled. The one we sampled was filled with minced pork however they can mushrooms, coriander seeds, mung beans and even melons. These were more in the family of dim sum. The sticky rice was gelatinous and a little sweet. The pork was a bit spicy which was a nice contrast.
We enjoyed our sample of local “finger foods”. Aidan liked it so much he congratulated the shopkeeper on a job well done.