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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:22 am

@USMom
1). Interesting that you get that impression so soon.

2). I don’t know if you’re enjoying alcohol with the meals you mention, but that is a good way to really crank up the cost. For example a passable (no harsh or offensive aspects) quality bottle of table wine from a high-street supermarket (NTUC etc) might start at about hmm $30. Restaurant margins are made mostly on the peripherals, i.e. appetiser, dessert and drink. That bottle of wine in a restaurant might be ... $75, or more. That’s a reason why we don’t, or veeeeery rarely, get a bottle of wine when dining out out here, which is a shame. Usually an aperitif, and later occasionally a digestif if the meal is a special one. Water during the meal, and I might add a beer, more likely if it’s something a bit special like a craft beer.

The other facet is that the market here is largely transient. The average visitor stays 2.5 days. There is not enough local demand for gourmet non-local food to support it’s reliable supply. There are faddy younger western-type food places that pop up, but most don’t last long, are over-hyped, and are popular due to their newness or the brief promise of respite they offer from the local offerings. In some ways it’s like expecting to go to a railway station or airport and find persuasively good food. Rather than overpriced and average if not poor food. It’s like a tiny captive transient market, and most people are never coming back anyway, ‘so to hell with the quality’.

There are some decent places out there, it’s just that they’re hard to find. I think most published reviews are difficult to rely upon. Many such articles are paid-for or advertorials. As for the Joe on the street, he’ll probably write a rave review about being allowed into KuDeTa on the top of Marina Bay Sands and paying $100+ for some nachos and chicken fajitas. The door-staff have never let him before, and he’s never had a proper fajita before, so 5* ratings all around woo-hoo!! Morton’s Steakhouse is another notorious example... read the reviews of that place from visitors on the likes of Tripadvisor, and they’re truly shocking! Flipside: Read the reviews from locals of non-celeb restaurants that are good but $$$, and observe the legion paragraphs criticising the place solely upon it’s prices. Thus a plate of awful fajitas in a gawdy and vulgar celeb-joint, are elevated far above the understated but immaculate dinner that one can find elsewhere.

For these reasons I think you will come to form your own personal shortlist of places that you enjoy, in a 360-degree sense. Product, ambience, offering, etc. That was why I started a thread a while back polling for suggestions re: such places. ‘Diamonds in the dust’. Doesn’t matter if it’s a $10 or $200+ meal, it’s more about the overall experience vs expectations, IMO. For example: The chicken murtabak from the food court at Raffles City (upstairs) is excellent. But as I recently discovered the one from my local heartland hawker centre is a positive health hazard, so much MSG it floored me for 36hrs!!

3). Agreed, it is great. Then you’ll soon figure out how to get a taxi at times when you need one, so that’s that sorted. It’s not like having your own car, no, but most people adjust and manage. You could also consider getting yourself a compact car. Even 2nd hand it is neeever going to be cheap vs the US (or most other places), but after 4+ years here carless, I’m rather intrigued how recently buying an old hatchback is opening up F+B and daytrip options that would not have been practical before.

4). Early days and you’ll settle in further I’m sure. Cheer yourself up by looking at a map of this part of the world and contemplating the places that you can visit, even for a w/e or long w/e, from here that you couldn’t from home. Our current to-do list is a 4-day Tokyo weekend coming up soon. Plus a trip up to Tioman Island, Malaysia, maybe a long w/e for my wife and a week for me. This is my ‘SCUBA-home’, and a place where we can both unwind, exhale, and feel refreshed/renewed. And lastly Micronesia; exotic, not exactly cheap, incredible diving, a final treat/reward for us for our time successfully spent here, and something we would never do from Europe. Well, that’s my very personal list. But I do find having a note of such near-future aspirations helps perk you up even after the roughest of days :)

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Re: week one

Postby singapore eagle » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:30 am

zzm9980 wrote:IMO the best food in Singapore isn't the expensive stuff, but the $2-5 meals you'll get at hawker centers.


I agree wholeheartedly with this. Make your way around the hawker centre offerings and you'll be surprised what you find yourself liking.

I have regularly been disappointed by restaurant food here, especially western food. The $10+ places I go to nowadays are mostly dim sum and Japanese places.

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Re: week one

Postby JR8 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:57 am

singapore eagle wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:IMO the best food in Singapore isn't the expensive stuff, but the $2-5 meals you'll get at hawker centers.


I agree wholeheartedly with this. Make your way around the hawker centre offerings and you'll be surprised what you find yourself liking.
I have regularly been disappointed by restaurant food here, especially western food. The $10+ places I go to nowadays are mostly dim sum and Japanese places.


I think ZZM has got a dose of demob blues ;; I don't think I've ever seen a hawker meal at $2. At $5 sure, and we who live here might get used to that, and perhaps come to like a sampled and selected outlet, but you cannot say that in general it is either healthy or good quality. It's the 'fast food' of the east. How good can a $5 meal be when the cost of serving it is $4.75? Same reason; how good can a $25 bottle of wine be here when the purchase/import/tax+profit fixed-costs etc was say $22.50, as a result of which a mere $5 uplift from $25 to $30 might yield a 3x better wine. The same applies in many other countries. Go to M+S in London and a £5 bottle of wine should be very drinkable, if not anything memorable. Pay £10 and it will be a totally different league.

Trying to find that worthy middle-ground is a worthwhile venture, but it requires time, effort and perspective.

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Postby PNGMK » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:05 am

If you're like us you'll end up with a short list of places to eat at that you like after awhile.

We were wondering around Bali Lane / Haji Lane last night - and ended up at "I am" ... that will go on our list for the future. That entire area is a great place to explore on foot.

I have never really been impressed with "Asian" food either in Singapore BTW.

https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source ... 3909613784

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Re: week one

Postby zzm9980 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:30 am

JR8 wrote:I think ZZM has got a dose of demob blues ;; I don't think I've ever seen a hawker meal at $2.


Well I specifically said $2-5, not exactly $2, but whatever close enough. S$2.20 is the one I'm craving right now, set C from here:

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But I do sometimes add the fried potato for $.50, so one more "win" for you JR8.

JR8 wrote: At $5 sure, and we who live here might get used to that, and perhaps come to like a sampled and selected outlet, but you cannot say that in general it is either healthy or good quality. It's the 'fast food' of the east. How good can a $5 meal be when the cost of serving it is $4.75? Same reason; how good can a $25 bottle of wine be here when the purchase/import/tax+profit fixed-costs etc was say $22.50, as a result of which a mere $5 uplift from $25 to $30 might yield a 3x better wine. The same applies in many other countries. Go to M+S in London and a £5 bottle of wine should be very drinkable, if not anything memorable. Pay £10 and it will be a totally different league.

Trying to find that worthy middle-ground is a worthwhile venture, but it requires time, effort and perspective.


Has anyone ever told you that you *really* over analyze things? :P Some people can eat things and enjoy it by the taste, and have to not analyze the existential qualities of the entire dining experience.

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:39 am

PNGMK wrote:I have never really been impressed with "Asian" food either in Singapore BTW.


I can get better authentic SGn food in London than I can here.

Weird but true (I think). I think it's because SGns seem so wedded to 'absolute cheapest = best'.

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:51 am

I am pretty sure I had pretty good mee goreng in the range of 2-2.5.

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Re: week one

Postby JR8 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:56 am

zzm9980 wrote:Well I specifically said $2-5, not exactly $2, but whatever close enough. S$2.20 is the one I'm craving right now, set C from here:But I do sometimes add the fried potato for $.50, so one more "win" for you JR8.


YahIknow, so I just said I'd never seen food at $2, which is perfectly true. No I'm not that pedantic, sub-$3 or however much, just at that price I expect nothing, so tend not to buy it. Same why I won't buy Subway sandwiches as they aren't good, and cannot possibly be at the price offered, as the bread will never stand up to scrutiny.

zzm9980 wrote:
Has anyone ever told you that you *really* over analyze things? :P Some people can eat things and enjoy it by the taste, and have to not analyze the existential qualities of the entire dining experience.


Oh yes, lol, absolutely, and it was the making of me. But that's how I am, I cannot change it. The topic started out (IIRC) re: quality food, i.e. above the average or mediocre. Quality food is way more than just taste.



I was just remembering back re: an American wine I discovered and used to enjoy. Concannon petit syrah. I used to buy it from Trader Joe's, Union Square, Manhattan. That was an example a gem ... http://shop.concannonvineyard.com/index ... ngState=WC $18 now, it used to be about $10 then... still worth it in spades, if you can get it...

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 2:41 pm

fark! I eat a dosa in tekka market for a dolla sixty mate and a cuppa tea for ninety.
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 3:41 pm

This is where my nick came from. Sunday morning brekkie was 2 Roti (or 1 Roti telor) & a cuppa tea while I read the Sunday morning paper. My Sunday morning staple! :cool:

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Postby rajagainstthemachine » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 3:48 pm

on that note i think I should be Tekka Market Slumdog TMS

:lol:
To get there early is on time and showing up on time is late

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Postby x9200 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 3:52 pm

From my experience when it comes to food (and not only) in Singapore the equation: more expensive = better is often not really true. What is reflected in the price are mostly the ingredients (for example how much meat is inside) rather than things like freshness or whether it is tasty, sufficiently hot etc. or simply what the owner of the place pays to keep his business on the surface. This is especially true for the lower-mid, mid price bands.

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Postby beppi » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 4:21 pm

I agree with all the posters above who like hawker food - the real taste and spirit of Singapore comes with a S$0.90 Teh Sih and Hokkien-speaking uncles in singlets nearby!

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Postby JR8 » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 4:30 pm

rajagainstthemachine wrote:fark! I eat a dosa in tekka market for a dolla sixty mate and a cuppa tea for ninety.


The M-I-L buys her beef from there but I've never been there nor had of a reason to visit, but it sounds promising. Are they stuffed dosa, 'masala dosa', like down south India way? I'd certainly be interested in hunting down a good one of those, as would the wife... and that is a good example of something that need not be expensive to be done very well.


p.s. lol SMS, and there was me thinking it was you that was the Sunday morning staple! :o :lol:


pps. Starting to think this is one of topics that loses it's purpose as it is perpetually misunderstood. I'm not saying $$$ = good, and $ is bad. Or SGn cuisine is bad, or that I don't like it ...none of these things :???:

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 29 Sep 2014 8:29 pm

How can you possibly beat fare like this?

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