Archive for May, 2010

Note to self: Where to eat

Since making the last few posts I’ve been getting a bunch of recommendations from people of places to check out, trying to remember them all has been difficult so I thought I’d just post them here and people could add to them if they wanted in the comments.

I’m supposed to check out the coffee at Oriole and Hungry Go Where is a good local site to find things nearby to eat.

I’ve been recommended to check out The Green Room Cafe, Living Greens, Murugan Idli Shop, Original Sin, Post Museum andEnso Kitchen (for Sunday lunch).

Komala Vilas is yummy

Komala Vilas

We decided to walk over to Komala Vilas Vegetarian Indian Restaurant today after reading a few reviews. I’ve got a serious weakness for South Indian cuisine and I’d heard this place was known for it’s idly. Damn straight. Super delicious. It’s actually located on Serangoon road on the same block as that place that used to be Chellas, I think it’s called Big Box or something now. Anyway, it’s a good block for veggies. I also had a Masala Dosa which was the size of a baseball bat and completely yummy. No folks, knives or napkins here which is fine by me but might freak some tourists out. Fairly inexpensive as well, we had a few other things and drinks and it was S$12. Not bad at all.

Vegan in Singapore

Speaking of being vegan, I’ve been on the hunt for good vegan food since setting foot in Singapore. Anyone who knows vegans, we’re kind of an elite class of foodies who are constantly seeking out the best spots in any city we visit. I’ve been lucky enough to have a vegan friend to guide me in most places I go, but when I first got to singapore I was completely on my own. One of the first things I found which was really helpful was the Singapore based Living Vegan blog. The site has a lot of general animal rights and veganism info, but it’s peppered with restaurant reviews so worth spending some time scrolling through.

I think that is where I found Annalakshmi which has been my favorite find so far. Given the population break out here there are a lot of veg-Indian spots in town (like Ananda Bhavanand Chellas – though I think they have recently been renamed) but Annalakshmi stood out to me because it’s Chinatown Point location is a super crazy underground spot, there are no prices so you pay whatever you think your meal was worth, and the food was just plain delicious. It’s not 100% vegan, but it is vegetarian and if you tell the server you are vegan they seem very happy to point out the dishes to avoid. I went there 3 days in a row after I found it and others seem to agree.

There’s also a pretty good list of spots on Happy Cow and I plan to check each and every one out in person as soon as I can. Living Greens is apparently right around the corner from HackerspaceSG so I’m kind of embarrassed that I haven’t been there yet, but that neighborhood is kind of bursting with options so it’ll take some time to work my way through them all.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Seen on the streets

Inverted. Digging it.

One of the things I’m always really excited about when I get to a new city is soaking up the street art scene. Perhaps it’s from growing up surrounded by graffiti, but I always keep an eye out and feel that when the creativity of a society is exciting it bursts out onto walls around a city it’s a good thing. Not everyone agrees with me, but I love it and love digging into a new scene. I spotted the above piece and it caught my eye because I’m not used to seeing this inverted stencil effect and thought it was a pretty original take on the idea. I’ve also been following the guys at ARTKORE, the oldest graffiti crew in the country, and am really looking forward to checking out the recently released Graffiti Asia book which is supposed to be packed with images and history of the scene here. I missed the launch of the book at Paper People the other night because I was on a plane, but hope to check it out very soon.

Straits Records is now on Haji Lane

New Straits records location. They had a snapcasr 7" in a glass display case.

I should have posted this back in April so that is was actually relevant, but whatever. Before my first trip to Singapore last year I read about Straits Records in the Monocle Magazine Singapore Survey. What?! A record store run by a vegan straight edge guy specializing in hardcore? Obviously this was a place I needed to check out and get familiar with. Unfortunately that task turned out to be harder than I imagined, and after several visits to various addressed only to find the shop closed or recently moved, I kinda gave up. In April Shannon and I were walking around near HackerspaceSG and stumbled (he knew about it beforehand to be fair) on the shops new spot over on Haji Lane. It’s pretty much parallel with Hackerspace, just a few streets over. There was a pretty fun glass display case with some old hardcore memorabilia inside – if I ever end up getting rid of everything I own like I keep threatening to do, maybe this store would be a good spot to donate some vinyl. Given the seemingly transient nature of this store, and the fact that this info is several months old, it might have already moved again. I’ll check sometime this week and update the post if it’s not there anymore.

Going local, spotting the tourist

5am Singapore

It looks like it’s been over a year since the last post here and since this is my 5th trip to Singapore in that same time, I thought I might as well make some posts. I’ll be here for a month which will double my “on the ground” time here and likely start giving me enough local knowledge to start offering some advice to newcomers, and if nothing else this will be a fun place to keep track of travel notes and thoughts. And if it ends up breathing some live back into this blog, well, even better.

I had resisted posting here before because my trips were pretty short and usually single purposed, where as this time it’s definitely more just ‘living here,’ even if for just a brief period. At Metblogs we’ve used the “you can’t post on a site unless you are going to be in a city for more than a week” rule because when people are traveling somewhere for only a few days (even if only a few days on several occasions) their posts, and I include myself in this, sound like that – like someone passing through looking for locals to help. Since we want the sites to be interesting for locals, well, you can see the problem. We don’t want a site full of tourists.

Speaking of, when I travel somewhere it’s very important to me that I don’t stick out too much and generally try to blend in. This is more effective sometimes than others, but I usually ask friends in a city how they spot tourists. We all do it, in every city, without even trying you can walk down a busy street and easily point out the people who aren’t from there. This is because those people aren’t blending in and don’t match the “social baseline” of the residents. Sometimes one simple action can be the tell. In Singapore, it’s wearing sunglasses. On my second trip here I started asking friends about how to spot tourists and they all said “anyone with sunglasses is a tourists.” I started paying attention to this then, and while there are tons of sunglasses shops around, it does seem that almost no one wears them on the street, except a few folks who accurately don’t seem to be from here.

What are your tips for spotting tourists? What advice would you have for someone like myself trying to blend in a little better?

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