Another quick(ish) post today and we will follow up later with photos.
This morning we walked through Clarke Quay (deserted by day yet a vibrant night time location), across the river and then down New Bridge Road to Chinatown. It's 11.00am (albeit on a Saturday) - where is everybody. It is only when one goes inside to the shops you realise everybody escapes the heat and humidity by staying behind closed doors.
It is Lantern Festival at the moment in the lead up to Mid-Autumn on September 24. As we walked out of the MRT station, all of Pagoda Street had lanterns strung up overhead. We strolled through the shops and found ourselves at the Hindu temple. There was a lot of noise going on - we took off our shoes and went inside.
We had no idea what was happening. The Hindi priests were bringing some type of worship icon down from the main shrine. Once that was in place then there was a blessing - everyone got a dab of coloured powder on their forehead , even the tiny day old baby. Then another priest carried around a flame which had some kind of reverence - worshipers cupped their hands over the flame and then brought the smoke to the face or spread it over their head. The tray also served as a donations box. It was all very lovely and afterwards The Navigatrix wished she had sought a blessing.
We continued through more of Chinatown until we found the Food Complex. There is a food market in the basement, stalls with clothes, antiques and trinkets on the ground level and then hawker food on the first floor. We were here for the famous Michelin starred hawker stall - Hawker Chan Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. It took a few minutes of wandering around to find it as there are probably nearly a hundred stalls up there. How did we know we found the right place? We looked for the queue! It was all highly organised - signs showing where the queue started, in which direction it needed to go and barriers to separate the queue from everybody else. It was like queuing at the airport!
We struck up a conversation with a 90 year old Malaysian woman in the queue. She had been to church and was now here to pick up lunch. We got her whole life story , she had run a Bed and Breakfast in the UK , now she liked life in Singapore. The wait time of 40 minutes was not too bad - we had read of times of up to 90 minutes.
So how was the food? We had soya sauce chicken with rice ($2.00 - yes, you read it right) and soya sauce chicken with noodles ($2.50). So at this price one cannot go wrong. The chicken was soft and juicy, the sauce was very tasty. The chicken is roughly chopped and not deboned - the Navigatrix got the breast with the rib cage still attached. The food was delicious - not "oh my God, this is the most amazing thing I have tasted" delicious but very, very tasty and worth the effort. Refreshed after by freshly crushed watermelon juice and pineapple juice.
It is great that street food receives this kind of recognition. However, as said there are probably a hundred stalls here - why does this one get singled out? There were five or ten other stalls that had long queues as well. The other Michelin starred stall (specialising in pork noodles) is on the other side of Little India and the Arab quarter.
We have tickets that give us a different seat each day. Yesterday we were on the main straight near the Singapore Flyer - today were are on the Padang, quite literally next to the Cricket Club and across the road from St Andrews Cathedral. It was later in the day and the weather was cooler due to overcast conditions so the heat did not affect us as much.
There are lots and lots of Australians here. We hear them all around town as well as at the track. Even the on track commentary team is from the Melbourne F1 event. They were talking about the AFL live on air - goodness knows what all the Brits and Germans thought. The point they were trying to make was it is almost like a home GP for Daniel Ricciardo.
Between practice and qualifying Liam Gallagher (ex Oasis) performed. He still needs to work on his pitching... and his language. This is supposed to be a family event! We strolled out to the waterfront to get away from the noise (the band was louder than the cars by an order of magnitude).
Sri Mariamman Temple