26 October 2008

Singapore Sling

"No gum? Then, I'm not going." My daughter huffed and sat cross legged at my feet as I threw a swimsuit into a backpack. That is exactly how my most recent Saturday morning began. 

After hearing that we were taking a quick "vacation" to Singapore and learning about the country's strict "no gum allowed anywhere" rule, my four year old decided that this was not the type of vacation she wanted to participate in.

Chewing gum is a new thing in our family and exclusively used for enticing young children onto various modes of transportation. (It began with an innocent enough two hour flight to California and has found its way into their mouths during difficult flights and tricky Bangkok Skytrain rides since.) Mentally smacking my hand upside my head and attempting to limit an eye roll, on this particular Saturday morning, I wish I could have taken back every nibble of gum I have given. And, so our quick dash for Singapore began. 

While my husband's passport had been stamped many times since our initial entry into Thailand, the kids and I needed an update. So, it was off for a quick stay in Singapore where we would be granted, upon return to Thailand, shiny new stamps in our passports allowing us to continue our adventure in Bangkok.

After a fairly uneventful flight and a few train rides on yet another world-class public transportation system (why don't these exist everywhere?), we threw ourselves down into an open air cafe sporting huge green awnings and bearing the famous siren's logo. Sipping blissful refreshment, we soaked up cafe culture, Singapore style, and surveyed the scene. 

The sidewalks alone were enough to make my mind spin. Having grown used to Bangkok's crumbling pathways, I was shocked to remember that smooth, wide, easy to navigate ones exist in other places. And, after our elevated train ride into the heart of the city, I would not be shocked to learn someday that yoga really is practiced, or at least sold, on every corner of Singapore and that the papayas growing in the trees beside the tracks are among the largest in the world.

As for the anti-gum upset? My daughter completely forgot about her protests when she laid eyes on the slide leading into our hotel's cool, blue swimming pool.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 20:
Fried Bee Hoon
I tried this Singapore noodle dish at breakfast yesterday (in Singapore!). I loved it so much that I came home and created the following recipe so I could replicate the dish in my own kitchen. A yummy alternative to fried rice, it makes for a complete meal at any time of the day.

1 package thin rice vermicelli noodles (bee hoon)
5 dried mushrooms 
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 bird's eye chilies (optional, to taste, chopped into rounds)
pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon veggie oil
vegetables of your choice, cut into thin strips (carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, etc.)
meat of your choice, cut into thin strips (or extra firm tofu, cubed)
egg, cooked omelette style and cut into thin strips

Reconstitute vermicelli by soaking in warm water for about 15 minutes, strain and set aside. Reconstitute dried mushrooms by soaking in 1/2 cup of warm water for about 15 minutes, then cut mushrooms into thin strips and reserve water. In a bowl, mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, reserved mushroom liquid, sesame oil, bird's eye chilies, pepper, salt and chicken stock. Set aside. Heat a large wok, add vegetable oil. Stir fry garlic, mushrooms and vegetables until tender. Add meat or tofu and toss until cooked and seared. Add vermicelli and just enough of the sauce mixture to coat the bottom of the pan. The sauce should sizzle and evaporate. Toss well and add a bit more stock. Continue this process until the noodles won't soak up anymore sauce. You want the pan to remain fairly dry to achieve a toasted flavor (you don't want the noodles soaking in sauce, they should be dry and "fried" a bit crispy on the edges when done). Serve and garnish with egg strips and extra sesame oil, if desired.

1 comment:

  1. Yum-o! The Bee Hoon recipe is great. Thank you and keep the recipes and fun stories coming. I love your blog.


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