Restaurants & Bars

China & Southeast Asia Layover

Singapore layovers - reports


More from Restaurants & Bars

Restaurants & Bars China & Southeast Asia Layover

Singapore layovers - reports

daveena | | Mar 4, 2008 02:58 AM

I piggybacked onto one of cimui's threads a few weeks ago and received a lot of valuable info re: eating during layovers:

My first layover was about 6 hours long, but after getting through immigration, checking my email (yay for free email kiosks in the terminals), I only had 4 hours left. I had grand plans to try several murtabak (at Singapore Zam Zam, Victory Restaurant, and the place I first had murtabak 7 years ago) but the reality of eating in Singapore hit me hard... the heat and humidity really kill my appetite, which is absolute torture in a place with so much great food. Since I'm loath to discard perfectly good food, I was only able to try one (at Singapore Zam Zam).

I chose this restaurant because it had been featured in an article on Singapore street food in Saveur magazine, and because I had neither a name nor an address for the roadside stall where I had my first murtabak ever. I saw a picture of a man hand throwing the roti, as I had remembered, and figured it would be just as good.

Now, I don't know if I've romanticized the perfection of that first murtabak, or if I happened to just stumble on a really incredible one that first time, but this murtabak was a letdown. Instead of the light, elastic, almost croissant-like chew that I remembered, the roti was tough, like a scallion pancake. I also remember somewhat finely textured and perfectly spiced lamb - this had coarse, underseasoned mutton.

Too full to try any others, I headed back to the airport, but I've already decided - next layover, I'll take a taxi to the approximate place where I had that first murtabak (my notes say it was on Changi Road, near the Joo Chiat Complex) and walk until I find it. The stall may not be there anymore, and the man who made that first murtabak may not be there... and there's always the possibility that my memory of that first murtabak, one that I've replayed and relished many times in the intervening 7 years, is just not that accurate. But I know I won't forgive myself if I don't at least try to find it and try it one more time.

Travel notes for anyone else planning layover forays into Singapore: it was a 30 minute MRT ride to the Bugis stop, then a 5 minute walk to Singapore Zam Zam. There were quite a few interesting-looking restaurants along the way, and the neighborhood itself, in the Arab quarter, was very attractive and enjoyable just to stroll in.