DAY 5: PERANAKAN HOUSES
Updated: Dec 15, 2019
Having visited many of the food centres in town, we opted to go a little farther to check out the Old Airport food centre in search of a couple of famous dueling lor mee stands. As one of the oldest food centres around, Old Airport food centre was known to be quite large and had duplicates of many types of food. We opted for the lor mee stand that was known to be the most popular as we saw a small line forming even before the stand was officially open. It was worth the wait however, the noodles were perfectly cooked and the dish had just the perfect noodle to sauce/broth ratio. The sauce had just a faint tanginess to it and there was a generous portion of fish. The spice level was also mild enough to really see the flavor of the other ingredients shine through. For dessert, I made the rounds until I found a famous bean curd stall that I had read about previously. No fancy ingredients or add-ins, just traditional bean curd. Initially, I couldn’t put my finger on the after-taste but with a few subsequent spoonfuls, there was a very distinct taste of graham crackers which was very enjoyable.
Since we were in the neighborhood, we opted to go a little further north to see the often photographed Peranakan Houses found at 62 Koon Seng Road. 62 Koon Seng Road is home to some of the most colorful architecture in Singapore. With its bright and vibrant pink, blue and yellow house fronts, the Peranakan Houses are the backdrop to many Instagram posts. The surrounding neighborhood however also plays host to a variety of other interestingly designed residential buildings from multiple story low surface area townhomes, to dual attached bungalow style houses. Strangely enough, being farther away from the downtown core and the heat that radiates off the concrete, the temperature felt much milder which made the light stroll around the block quite peaceful!
While Singapore plays host to numerous amazing murals from artists all around the world, we opted to hunt down some well known pieces belonging to local artist Yip Yew Chong, whose artwork revolves around the fond memories he had growing up in the neighborhood. Swinging by Tiong Bahru first, we strolled until we found Pasar and Fortune Teller (Located at: 73 Eng Watt St, Singapore 160073) which marked we had gotten into he vicinity of a couple of other well known murals, Bird Singing Corner (Located at: 61 Seng Poh Ln, Singapore 160061) and Home Mural (Located at: Eu Chin St, Singapore).
From left to right: Home, Bird Singing Corner, Pasar and Fortune Teller.
It soon began to rain (as it is monsoon season in Singapore) and we decided we would take refuge at ION at Orchard Mall. We took the opportunity to search for the chilli crab we had been craving all day. After passing on a few options, doing some research and browsing through some of the high fashion shops, we tested our luck by crossing down Orchard Road during one of the brief pauses during the rain. Orchard road is a fancy stretch of high-end fashion, lights and enormous LCD advertisements on the outside of towering buildings reminiscent of New York’s Times Square. As it was Black Friday, the crowds were out and jostling for the best deals, filling the streets and malls more than usual.
We eventually took a Grab car back to our hotel as the seafood restaurant we wanted to go to wasn’t too far. We walked the short 500 metres over to Lai Huet Seafood and found it to be a simple corner stall with some outdoor seating. For a family style dinner, we ordered: chilli crab, mantou buns, a moderate portion of gailan (veggies) and a Chinese-style seafood pancake. The chilli crab came out quite quickly which was a surprise. It was flavorful, and the sauce had a punch that was well balanced by the smooth mantou we soaked it up with. As no meal is complete without dessert, we walked on over to Blackball for shaved ice for dessert. While we had a Blackball back home in Vancouver, I had never seen wintermelon shaved ice which proved to be a refreshing spin on a classic dessert.
As the night wound down and we head back to the hotel, I started getting race ready. I’m not superstitious by any means but just by nature of repetition, I had grown to love the build-up and routine that comes with the night before a race. I've found that as a cerebral athlete, I relished in harnessing the powerful effects of the mind. Going through the lead up and thinking about what I went through during the training process, it spurred me to prepare myself mentally for what was to come. The last 5 months had been long and arduous but I had diligently worked through a PCL injury and I had trained hard to get my body into the form they needed to be to run this race. I pinned my race bib to my race shirt, laid out my runners and draped each sock over the tongue of each shoe. I then proceed to roll and stretch out before heading to bed. Stay tuned for the next blog post as I breakdown everything on race day, from my thoughts, my prep, to the moments right before the gun goes off and a kilometer by kilometer summary of the race route!