Singapore is a culinary delight in many ways. There is no shortage of international food to be had. If one desires Malay, authentic Chinese, Indian, fine French, or even yes good old American fast food it can be yours. All in the same day within walking distance of each other in most cases. However there are a few instances where this delightfully delectable little Island falls short.
Sometimes it is due to cost or availability. I have resorted to making my own hummus, which I don’t mind since it is usually better than store brands due to cost (Eight dollars and fifty cents for the small tub of Tribe is too much). And the scarcity of hearty bread, and especially bagels have brought out a latent baker in me that I long disavowed any knowledge of. To those that know me I have shunned baking for its demanding exactness and unforgiving nature. I have found, to my delight, that bread is much more lenient on the less measurement minded of us kitchen types.
My latest noshing need has unfortunately been unfulfilled to date. It started about two weeks ago. I was in the kitchen making lunch. Emmet had, in the infinite wisdom of a child, decided on this sweltering thirty three degree (I’ll let those of a Fahrenheit persuasion do their own conversion since writing the number pains me) with ninety percent humidity that grilled cheese was a good idea. I had a few pieces of ham in the fridge so I added it to make Monte Cristos and while munching the craving hit me. What this sandwich needed was rye bread, and Swiss instead of American, and a salted meat that wasn’t ham, and Thousand Island, and kraut!
That’s right out of no where the Reuben truck had hit me…..hard. As we all know a food craving once initiated is like a bad song stuck in your head, The only way to get it out is to listen to, or in this case ingest, said earworm. So thus began my search. Deli corned beef has been a no show, but I did find pastrami. Rye bread has also been a no go, but I did find a market with a fairly hearty wheat loaf that will make an acceptable substitute. Thousand Island dressing is surprisingly handy in the supermarket. The killer has been the kraut. I have searched high and low. I have perused the high end ex-pat grocery stores, I even went so far as to look up the only Kosher market on the island, which disappointingly was also barren. Not surprising since the small but strong Jewish community on the Island is mainly of Middle Eastern not European origin. However I do posses the power of Google and have found that sauerkraut is easy to make at home. Cabbage, salt, caraway (optional thank God!) , and a jar.
In three to seven days I should possess enough homemade kraut for a couple of sammiches. I hope my home fix tastes good, because I really need to move my tastebuds along to a more easily satisfied pursuit, like Japanese curry.
Mom’s visit has come and gone. Its been almost two weeks since she left and I am just now sitting down to write about it. It was a really fun time. We were VERY busy. Emmet, the wife, and I took mom all over Singapore. And I’ve been tired since!
Mom’s flight got in just past midnight on Sunday and Emmet’s face when he woke up Monday morning and saw her in the house was absolutely priceless! I am amazed we convinced him to go to school that day. But we did, leading to hilarity later in the week. Meimei in Chinese is “little sister”and is pronounced very close to Memere “grandma”in Canuck. His teachers know he is an only child and could not understand why he didn’t want to be in school because his “little sister”was visiting.
We hit the ground running taking mom to the market and food stalls her first morning after bringing the little man to school. It was great to see her expression when she saw our marketplace, I imagine I looked very much the same the first time but since I don’t carry a mirror around I can’t be sure. The sights, sounds, and smells threatened to overwhelm her. Not to mention the coffee. I had tried to prepare her for the sweetness of coffee with sugar and condensed milk, but it is something that must be experienced to be believed.
We crammed all the things we would do in a month into eight days (we took a couple to relax) going to the bird park, zoo, the gardens, shopping in Chinatown, the science center, and even a sightseeing tour by duckboat. The wife I and even got to go out and have dinner like adults, by ourselves…..twice. Which is exactly two more times than in the previous six months.
Unfortunately all good things must end. The three days following mom’s departure were rough on us all. Emmet had trouble sleeping in his own room….alone. I missed having a reason to make a full pot of coffee, and someone to show all these cool places to. And we all missed the nice feeling of family being close again. Now we just have to make it until Christmas when we visit home.