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Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

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Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby Pal » Thu, 30 Jun 2016 8:43 pm

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You’re making a trip back home next week.

You haven’t seen your friends and family for months, or perhaps it’s even been a year. They’re going to be expecting something pretty special to be pulled out from your suitcase once you’ve settled in, and a change of clothes and toiletries are just not going to cut it. The airline won’t let you carry a durian on board and your sister has already threatened you with disembowelment if you bring her another tacky t-shirt exhorting the “fineness” of Singapore.

What, we hear you cry, can I buy for my friends and family from this trader’s haven that sells everything that’s already being sold back home?

Don’t fret, because we’ve already done the research for you and have found some of the best souvenirs in Singapore that are deserving of being carted all the way back for your friends and family.

Food Souvenirs

Singaporeans may not be world-class bankers, engineers or craftsmen, but if there’s one thing we’re good at doing—it’s eating. We know local food and flavours pretty well, and we’re always silently judging you for your conservative approach to food. Salted egg yolk is one such example. Not just content to put salted eggs in mooncakes anymore, brilliant chefs have now whipped up salted egg crabs, salted egg ice cream, salted egg croissants, salted egg lava cakes, and salted egg crisps to the delight of all. Try some of these for yourself, and take home a box or two for your mother.

Kaya is another local favourite, and a bottle of this lovely coconut spread is bound to go a long way in placating anyone with a sweet tooth. The green jam takes its colour from the addition of panda leaves, while the brown version that’s also known as Hainanese Kaya goes without. This fragrant jam is best enjoyed on hot slices of crispy toast, or in true Singaporean style, mixed with butter for that glorious salty-sweet taste.

Bak Kwa (Rougan) is readily available in stores all over Singapore and is one treat that’s not to be missed. The smoky caramelised meat is generally available as either tender slices that melt in the mouth, or chewy flavourful chunks that provide an extra layer of oomph in each bite. Chili Bak Kwa is also available, although the spiciness of these meats may be difficult for some to tolerate. Many stores are experienced in packing and sealing these delectable meats in order to maintain their freshness, so you don’t have to worry about bringing them back with you.

Drink Souvenirs

Ever since tea became the drink of choice for the young, brewers all over Singapore have been coming up with new and inspired infusions to appeal to the fickle crowd. If you’re stuck for words to describe local cuisine when your friends back home ask about it, why not gift them a tin of Nasi Lemak, Pandan, or Singapore Sling tea from one of the local tea brands? If the actual Singapore Sling is more to your taste, you can purchase a bottle of it at specialty stores.

Tea traditionalists however, may prefer the taste of Teh Tarik, a common milk tea that is found in Singapore and Malaysia. This tasty drink has a frothy head that is usually created by the repetitive pouring of the drink between two vessels, and it is also famous for its sweetness due to the condensed milk that goes into it. A brief search in any regular supermarket would turn up various brands of instant Teh Tarik that would go a long way in providing all the pleasures of a properly brewed cup with none of the inconveniences.

If you know someone who enjoys whipping up his own drinks however, try purchasing a packet of aiyu jelly (ice jelly) or tapioca pearls for him to make his own bubble tea. The former is made from a special type of fig that only grows in Asia, and is not commonly found outside of Singapore and Taiwan. This gelatinous food does not melt, and is a brilliant addition to iced tea drinks and savoury hotpots.

Singapore-themed Souvenirs

If you simply must buy a souvenir with Singapore stamped on it somewhere, don’t go straight for the usual tourist trap stalls where I ♥ Singapore is plastered across their entire range of magnets, mugs and t-shirts.

If you’re searching for inspiration, some of the most amazing Singapore-themed souvenirs can be found at museum gift shops. Most of these carefully-curated items would provide a little more information about the country’s history, culture or art. It’s generally possible to find books, pottery, toys, bags, jewellery pieces and assorted knick-knacks at such stores.

In our Garden City, whether you’re looking for plant-themed notebooks, clothes or accessories, you’d be sure to find something to your fancy at one of the many garden attractions. Souvenirs featuring our national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim, are also sure to be in plentiful supply. It might even be possible to purchase seeds or plantlets that could be used to brighten up gardens back home.

We know that with this list of awesome souvenirs, the temptation to buy them all for yourself is great. Nevertheless, we’d recommend mustering up the strength to hand them over to your friends and family as souvenirs of your time here. Feel free to bask in their praise and approval when they receive these lovely souvenirs, and rest secure in the knowledge of your own good taste. You’re welcome.

By Rayne
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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 30 Jun 2016 8:47 pm

Be very careful what you attempt to take home with you with regard to local foodstuffs. Off hand you will have problems with Bak Kwa, Salted Eggs, Mooncakes, and a host of other stuff as they will take it off of you going through customs in the USA. Australia also has some pretty strict laws on foodstuffs you can bring into the country as well.

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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 30 Jun 2016 8:49 pm

In fact, that would be a good add on this thread, the various limitations of the major countries who visit Singapore and might be tempted to return with items for gifts, etc.

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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby x9200 » Thu, 30 Jun 2016 9:43 pm

I think EU is less strict. I imported practically everything including durians.
EU customs seem to focus on:
a) endangered species and products made of (CITES)
b) drugs

Australia on the other hand is extremely strict. We got confiscated some Christmas decoration containing a bit of hay.

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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby JR8 » Thu, 30 Jun 2016 10:29 pm

Another good buy is spices, including spices pastes and blends.
Sachets of Prima pastes. Bags of curry powder*, or individual spices. The latter tend to be far cheaper, and likely fresher, in SG than in Europe.
The costs of those are modest in SG, any home-chef back home that enjoys spicy food will really welcome any of that. I always got a long request-list of spices from my parents before a trip home, my sis too esp. curry powders and pastes :) Oh, and sachets of free-dried coconut milk powder [a single can of co-milk is about S$7 in London!].

Inexpensive, small volume and weight, and you can get the whole lot from NTUC.


* Brands that come to mind, House, Teacher's, Babu's.
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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby Brah » Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:39 pm

For a (one of many recently) farewell thingy for a longtime friend we scoured the area for a Singapore-themed souvenir to remind him of his time here. Raffles Hotel has a few things but most at silly prices. Came up empty-handed.

There's a lot of trite stuff and some super expensive stuff most people would not want in their homes (check out Takashimaya B2 for the glass Chinese stuff for an example).

In the end we got him a nice wine-related set but failed at something locally themed.

+1 for SMS's point about not being able to bring things in, seen it happen and all the well-intentioned money spent, well, who does benefit from confiscated packs of not inexpensive beef jerky and the like anyway?

The article's nauseatingly florid claims of "carefully-curated items" and unconvincing "temptation to buy them all for yourself is great", would sound like delusions of grandeur, except that the writer might actually believe their own BS.

So are they still hoodwinking naive tourists at the Suntec 'Fountain of Wealth" to walk around the circular railing to touch it for "good fortune"?
Ape Shall Not Kill Ape.

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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 01 Jul 2016 2:58 am

Wish I could find some of this stuff in Houston.

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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby JR8 » Fri, 01 Jul 2016 3:18 am

Ooh fierce :)
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Re: RE: Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby ecureilx » Fri, 01 Jul 2016 1:53 pm

JR8 wrote:
* Brands that come to mind, House, Teacher's, Babu's.


Babas ;)

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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby JR8 » Fri, 01 Jul 2016 2:47 pm

Oh heavens you're right, and I've a bag of it on my desk awaiting our next Malay curry night :oops:

[Think I was subconsciously channelling 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum' there :) ]
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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby kyrakim » Sun, 18 Sep 2016 12:43 am

My parents came from abroad wanted to try the King of the Fruit, durian but the durian seasons are over. Some friends told me I could get durian from the red light district in Gaylang but I am not comfortable to go there. Any place I could place an order and when will it be the seasons available again?

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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby Sporkin » Sun, 18 Sep 2016 8:43 am

You can always find some at balestier road. Google combat durian, that should give you an address. Being out of season the variety and quality won't be that good though.

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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby taxico » Mon, 19 Sep 2016 5:45 pm

Durian Lingers @ bt timah road (near 6th ave MRT)

it's located at Royal Ville along bt timah road. off season + bt timah location = costs more.
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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby earthfriendly » Wed, 21 Sep 2016 12:46 am

Lol at Brah's candidness. I hesitate to use the term "infantile" (oops, I think I just did :mrgreen: ), this self important piece of writing has not been well-researched. Like SMS pointed out, quite a few of these items will not fly by US custom. Hello, US being the largest and most powerful country in the world :P .

I understand the bakwa , salted egg. But mooncake without the salted egg also cannot? It is just a pastry.

SE, I was able get the Glory Sambal Chilli in certain Asian markets, those geared towards SE Asian. I can ship some to you, if you are interested.

http://www.fairprice.com.sg/webapp/wcs/ ... ogId=10051

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Re: Awesome Singapore Souvenirs

Postby maneo » Wed, 21 Sep 2016 3:06 pm

earthfriendly wrote:Like SMS pointed out, quite a few of these items will not fly by US custom. Hello, US being the largest and most powerful country in the world :P .

I understand the bakwa , salted egg. But mooncake without the salted egg also cannot? It is just a pastry.

Mooncakes without egg yolks are allowed.
However, you may be asked to show the ingredient label (if there is any).


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