Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Bak Kut Teh": Photos of Singapore's Cinnamon Pork Tea

Considering how good that meal in Singapore was, I've posted a few more photos. From the top, a top-down view of the best that Heng Heng has to offer. Followed by a close-up of the pork "tea". Remember that's the pork dish that's made with cloves, garlic, cinnamon, and a herbal treatment for gynecological ailments (yes, you did read that right). The third snapshot is the hot sauce. Let me tell you - it was hot. Fiery red chilies in a sticky sweet soy. Finally, the last photo is of the boss, stirring the pot of the rich cinnamon-pork sauce.

Stay tuned for a little bit more of my adventure in Bali, where I'll be posting a video of THEIR famous pork dish!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So Much Sauce, So Little Time: Singapore Cinnamon Pork "Tea"

In Singapore, cinnamon slapped me in the face. That's right, cinnamon. Not usually an aggressive spice, at least not one that tends to slap anyone in the face like, say, the loathsome dill, cinnamon is usually just so...pedestrian. But not in Singapore.

"Heng Heng," the man with the Ferrari said. Either he was wishing me good luck in Hokkien, or, or, this man whose name I can't disclose was giving me what was about to be one of the best locals-only restaurant recommendations I've ever gotten. As it would turn out, he was giving me one of the best locals-only restaurant recommendations I've ever gotten.

"Bak Kut Teh" is translated as a "pork rib tea". Now, I'm guessing that makes about as much sense to you as it did to me before I'd actually sampled it. Probably called a "tea" due to the myriad of herbs in the broth, Bak Kut Teh has everything from cloves and garlic to something called Chinese angelica, which is apparently a medicine for gynecological problems (don't ask; I didn't). And, of course, cinnamon. Judging by the smell of the restaurant, a lot of cinnamon.

Now about this restaurant, "Heng Heng". It's, frankly speaking, a dive. You know, plastic chairs, formica tables, no air-conditioning, and cook staff that also work as waitstaff. But, and here's what's intriguing, its parking lot is full of Ferraris. And Lamborghinis. And Porsches. Why the dichotomy, you ask? Well, watch the video to find out.

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Famed Singapore "Fish Pedicure"

I hate getting pedicures. I hate the snipping, the digging, and most of all, I hate the scraping performed by some underpaid and overworked immigrant aesthetician. Nothing at all about it seems right to me, save for the luster of chip-free toenail color that lasts for weeks on end. So imagine my sheer delight when I got a chance to have a pedicure performed by not just one underpaid aesthetician, but hundreds of un-paid aestheticians!

They're called "doctor fish" and they come to the party hungry. Starved, in fact, so that they're more productive when you arrive. Doctor fish live on dead skin - I'll pause here while you get sick - and when put in an aquarium with you and your feet, they make a meal of it, nibbling on anything from burst blisters to psoriasis. At Kenko Spa in Singapore, where I, um, "enjoyed" my first and last fish pedicure, I dipped my feet into three different aquariums: the first for little fish, the second for medium-sized fish, and the last for killer whales. If I thought I hated the feeling of scraping that comes with a normal pedicure, I could've hardly imagined the feeling of, literally, dozens and dozens of tiny sharp fish teeth gnawing and chewing on my toes, ankles, and legs. Unfortunately, they didn't bother to paint afterward, and I was left with the same chipped polish (Nars's Tango) as I had when I'd arrived.

Enjoy the video, and do pardon my swearing.