Singapore: utopia on earth?

Last month, my work allowed me to travel again. I can hardly keep up with all the trips I made in the last 12 months. Following media trips to Switzerland (read here part 1, 2, and 3), Abu Dhabi and London I was invited on a visit to the tiny city-state of Singapore in South-East Asia.

Singapore skyline by night

Singapore skyline by night

I had been once to Singapore before, with my husband on our way to New-Zealand back in 2012. In that time, we stayed a few nights to rest from the first leg of our journey and diminish the effects of the jet lag we would sure have. We walked around and saw some of the highlights, but by far not everything there is to do and see.

The Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay hosts flowers from all over the world.

The Flower Dome in Gardens by the Bay contains flowers from all over the world.

Although Singapore is one of the smallest states worldwide, it actually has a lot to offer for tourists. However, what makes the country unique for me is that it is one of the most religiously diverse places in the world. In Singapore, you will find a Buddhist temple on Mosque Street, or a mosque next to a church. But what you don’t find is people fighting because of their religion. Singapore is a very tranquil country in which the different ethnic groups live next to and with each other peacefully.

Sultan Mosque, the largest mosque in Singapore

Sultan Mosque, the largest mosque in Singapore

When the Brits set foot on the island back in 1819, the population was predominantly Malay. However, soon the country became dominated by immigrants from China, Malaysia, and India. The fourth major group are the “Eurasians,” descendants from mixed European and Asian marriages.

While the British planned to separate the various ethnics in different neighborhoods – hence the still existing China Town, Little India, and Arab Quarter – they ended up living together without any problems.

The result of this is also a very interesting cuisine, and we got the chance to make some of its dishes during a cooking class at Food Playground.

Satay with tofu

Satay with tofu

I finally got to learn how to make Chicken Satay (tofu for me), a dish I truly love and is quite popular in the Netherlands as well due to the Indonesian influence there. I could eat peanut sauce every day and not get bored of it! I was surprised how complicated and time consuming it is to make good peanut sauce, though. I remember seeing some recipes on the Internet calling for peanut butter, water, soy sauce, and perhaps a little chilli, but I can tell you that is not the real thing! This was so much tastier and unlike any peanut sauce I had before. If I have enough courage and time I will try to replicate this recipe at home.

Char Kway Teow

Char Kway Teow

We also made Char Kway Teow, a fried noodle dish with egg, prawns (not for me) garlic, chives, bean sprouts and soy sauce. I’m not a big noodle eater, but this was definitely an easy to make and quite tasty dish.

Kueh Dadar, or stuffed coconut crepes

Kueh Dadar, or stuffed coconut crepes

Naturally, our meal wouldn’t be complete without ending it on a sweet note. For this we made crepes made of flour, egg, coconut milk and pandan juice (which gives it the green color) stuffed with a concoction of grated coconut and palm sugar. As you can see on the picture, I became quite a master in Kueh Dadar!

Infinity pool

Marina Bay Sands infinity pool

The cooking class was the highlight of the trip for me. I always enjoy trying new dishes and learning about ingredients.

Another highlight was our visit to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and particularly the infinity pool on top of the three skyscrapers. Too bad we just had a glimpse of the rooftop swimming pool, but it was nevertheless special to see.

Singapore's infinity pool on top of Marina Bay Sands

Singapore’s infinity pool on top of Marina Bay Sands

As always, we had way too little time to see and do it all, so it would always be a good idea to come back. To find out what other highlights we visited you can check the article I wrote in the Saudi Gazette: “Singapore: A family friendly getaway.”

Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay

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