Happy holidays! We are traveling through Vietnam right now and will be back in the new year.
I leave you with a photopodge from Singapore and happy wishes for a grand new year!
We happened to be in Singapore for the Moon Festival, which is not as huge of a celebration in the States, or I’ve just been ignorant of it my entire life. The Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated by the Chinese and Vietnamese and lands on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar. It lands on the date of the autumnal equinox when the moon is at its fattest and roundest and signifies that everyone should be the same by eating lots of dumplings and mooncakes.
Oh, the mooncake! There are many varieties of mooncakes, the most popular of late are similar to mochi and made of rice flour. The flavor profiles are endless and include durian, lychee, green tea, mango, etc. The traditional mooncakes are made of regular flour and contain 1 or 2 bright yellow egg yolks inside to again symbolize the moon. Pomelos are also eaten during the harvest. I think anything fat and round will do.
Additionally, there are lanterns hanging all over the city, on towers, on bridges, on water, on bamboo, anywhere you can manage.
Many also burn incense in reverence to the deities.
Here’s what we ate:
These beautiful creatures are bamboo clams, more commonly known stateside as razor clams. The price reflects the amount of meat you actually get and satisfies people like me who get irrationally angry at tiny clams for only containing pearl sized nuggets of meat that seem to disappear down my throat too quickly. These were steamed open, doused with plenty of soy and fish sauce, and had transparent sweet potato noodles lovingly draped over them speckled with scallions and bits of garlic. I love thee, razor clam. May I someday go dive for a bucket of you and steam you open myself.
Best dim sum roadside stand ever. I can’t begin to describe the comfort I felt when biting into the fluffiest of bao stuffed with the treasures of perfectly barbecued pork. The siomay and harkao were also scrumptious.
Why did I fall in love with Singapore? I leave you with this image to ponder.
You may have thought I’ve abandoned my blog but I’m back to revive it! And there are so many backlogged posts-to-be that it’s simply embarrassing. Work had me incredibly busy that the only relationship I was having was with my bed, and even it felt neglected. I had the honor to work on President Obama’s visit to Jakarta, which is the most logistically complex thing I’ll probably ever have to tackle in my life. A VVIP visit is no joke. But it was worth the hours and work.
Anyhow, let’s not belabor the point and get right to it! We were in Singapore ages ago but let’s pretend it was just last weekend. 😉 To land in Singapore from Jakarta is like being beamed to a parallel universe where everything has order, efficiency, and scrumptious food. You see those arrows up there on how to get off and on a subway car? People actually heed them. This is a truly civilized city and I must admit it’s deeply impressive. But too much directive signage makes me uncomfortable and the anarchist that slumbers deep inside me starts to slightly jostle with impudence. That being said, I still had an amazing time. We packed a lot in one weekend so Singapore will probably have a few post dedicated to it.
The National Museum of Singapore was surprising well-designed. Not only was the building a perfect marriage of colonial and modern architecture, the exhibits were thoughtful and used multimedia in ways I haven’t seen enough in the States.
If I recall correctly, Japanese sisters.
It was acceptable for Chinese men to take two wives.
This photo exhibit had family portraits of the first immigrants of Singapore (Hainan Chinese, Armenians, Indians) and short films that were shown behind them. I often find the short descriptions next to art not to be explicative enough. The films were able to go in depth about the history of Armenians in Singapore as well as the polygamy of early Chinese settlers. It was fantastically informative!
We ventured into the food exhibit and didn’t realize we were entering paradise. The only thing missing were actual hawker stalls.
Traditional cake and cookie molds:
Entrance to the Singapore History Gallery.
The Singapore Stone, 10th-14th century.
Completely in love with these William Farquhar prints.
So much more to come! Back in black, baby!