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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Singapore, a crafted haven

Vaishali Bhambri, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 19, 2013
First Published: 17:46 IST(19/3/2013) | Last Updated: 17:48 IST(4/9/2013)

A Delhiite would easily feel at home in Singapore. Reason: People of different cultures and nationalities reside together in the city, just like in Delhi. And, like ours, Singapore, too, is a haven for foodies.


Eating out

It’s said that if you want to strike a conversation with a Singaporean, just talk about food. Well, that’s because a rich variety of cuisines such as Chinese, Malay, Indian, Peranakan and French, along with the local food, are served here. While there’s no end to the upmarket restaurants, its real heart lies in the hawker centres. Sample the Maxwell Food Court for Chinese fritters and Chendol (a traditional ice cream made of flavoured crushed ice topped with fruits and boiled sweet corn at times). For more local dishes, head to Lau Pa Sat, another hawker market-cum-food court. Try the Laksa (a soupy noodle dish) — one of the most popular dishes here. But if you are longing for the Indian flavour, go for the masala dosa at Shree Ganga here. Interestingly, Prata, their version of parantha is also a hot favourite here.

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Shopping
After food, the second best thing to do here is to shop. To get a taste of local culture, visit Chinatown. From lucky charms, Singapore curios, cosmetics to bags and accessories, this market is a hit among shoppers. But if bulk shopping is on your mind, go to Little India. The Mustafa Centre here has perfumes, chocolates, cosmetics, bags, everything you can imagine... that too at discounted prices. For high street international fashion labels, Orchard Road is the place to be at, while Arab-style clothes, head to the Arab Street. Who knows you may end up buying a silk scarf for just 2 dollars here!

Singapore

Adventure and fun
While in the city, do visit the Singapore Zoo. Have breakfast with orangutan Ah Meng and family, and say hello to the pandas. To get a closer view of the flora here, visit the Gardens by the Bay at Bay South, where there’s a Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, The Super Tree and the heritage gardens. Move to Sentosa, to experience the under water life at the S.E.A Aquarium. Or go for the bum boat ride on the Singapore river to know the history and get a close view of the tourist attractions.

Culture
Marking the end of the Chinese New Year is the Chingay Parade. Started in 1973 as as a neighbourhood parade highlighting only Chinese culture, it has evolved to be Asia’s grandest parade. Its theme this year was Fire in Snow, and the tableau from India saw participants dance to the tunes of the hit number, Choli ke Peechhe. The song Jai Ho was also performed at the event.

The author’s trip was sponsored by the  Singapore Tourism Board


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