Published: February 7th 2009February 6th 2009
Singapore Zoo is fantastic. The animals are all housed in open exhibits which are as natural as possible with hidden barriers and moats etc, rather than scary looking wire cages. It is also one of the few zoos to have white Bengal tigers which Amy was particulary besotted with. I'll attached as many pics as I can!
After the zoo we went back to the hostel (we're now starting to call Boon Keng home!) for a shower and a change of clothes. We then went out to meet a big group of the RBS and ex RBS guys from the Singapore office in the Harbour Front area. They took us to a really gorgeous restaurant, bizarrely called No Signboard Seafood. As we are here in Chinese New Year period the guys ordered Yusheng which is a raw fish salad that is only eaten at New Year. It consits of strips of raw fish, shredded vegetables and sauces that is mixed together in the middle of the table. Then, everybody places their chopsticks in the salad together and tosses the salad as high as possible in the air while saying Jíxiáng Huà out loud, the belief being that the higher the
salad is tossed, the greater your fortunes will be for the coming year. This is incredibly messy and fun.
We also had some delicious chili crab, sweet pork ribs and various other dishes that were shared between everybody. As always, Amy managed an exellent show with her chopsticks, cracking crab open and generally eating like a local while I ham-fisted my way around, spilling food all over myself and table, much to our hosts' amusement.
After dinner we walked for a while to allow our food to go down and then we jumped in a cab for one of the more bizarre episodes of our trip so far. Durian is a fruit that is very popular in Asia and most of our Singaporean friends professed a great love for it. We knew that it was famous for its foul smell and that it was very much an acquired taste and decided that we should definitely try it. We jumped in cabs and headed down to the red light district which is apparentely the best place to eat durians. When we arrived we found stalls piled high with the spiky fruit and tables of people tucking in. The guys
ordered a few durians and cracked them open at the table. The smell is so powerful that durians have been banned from the tube, offices, shops and hotels and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little nervous about trying it. The skin of the fruit inside the shell is like the thick skin you get on old custard and the flesh beneath that is the consistency of mouldy avocados. The taste is indescribable. The best Amy and I have come up with is cream cheese and custard, mixed with off onions and mango. Yet, it is oddly compelling. We managed a few pieces each before wimping out but I'm told we still did much better than Freddy and Nick!
After durians (and much water!) the guys took us for a walk to show us some of the sights and streets that you wouldn't see in the guide books. Very interesting indeed!
There are more photos below