For the two of us, making decisions doesn’t always come easy – particularly when it comes to food. We’re always arguing about what to eat and this problem escalated recently in Singapore when we wanted to give the local fare a try.
Singapore is famous for its hawker food but where do you start? There’s of course the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice which we’ve already fallen in love with but then there are many popular options such as the Chilli Crab, Char Kway Teow and Satay all worth trying at least once.
But we didn’t want to pay for each dish that we weren’t guaranteed to enjoy.
Fortunately we were told about Makansutra Gluttons Bay before our visit and that it was the perfect place to have our introduction to a variety of Singapore hawker food.
What separates Makansutra Gluttons Bay from the other, more famous hawker centres is that it provides alfresco dining overlooking Marina Bay which is great. But more importantly, they offer two “Sampler” packages in which you can try 7 to 10 Asian goodies from independent stalls.
First up was our refreshment, a glass of sugar cane juice infused with lemon.
Then we were onto our first dish, assorted satay in a banana leaf cone. The chicken ones were truly delicious but there was one questionable stick in there that we just couldn’t identify. We eventually agreed that it was probably a fish ball but I guess we’ll never know!
Then it was the moment we had been waiting for – our sampler plate with portions of BBQ Chicken Wing, Char Kway Teow, BBQ Stingray and pancake style Fried Carrot Cake, all served on a banana leaf platter.
The first thing we tried from the sampler was the Fried Carrot Cake (Chai Tow Kway), one of the all-time favorite local delicacies in Singapore. Strangely enough, this dish has no carrot in it whatsoever. The main ingredients are actually radish cake and plenty of eggs and our sampler was off to a positive start as we didn’t mind the flavor at all.
The very popular Char Kway Teow was up next, which is translated as “fried flat rice noodles”. High in saturated fat, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to enjoy the Char Kway Teow and it’s definitely something that comes down to personal taste.
Rather than mess around with forks or chopsticks, we went straight to the use our fingers for the BBQ Chicken Wings (check out Kieron below!). Before you knew it, the wings were down to just bones and it was time to try the dish we had been waiting for since we first visited Singapore in 2008.
The barbecued stingray.
Although it seems exotic, stingray is actually available at just about every hakwer centre in Singapore. We eagerly dipped our forks into the tender flesh of the fish, ready for our first taste of stingray… and it was fantastic!
The two of us nodded at each other in agreement of how good it was but just seconds later, our mouths felt like they were on fire. We battled against the fiery flavors but unfortunately the spiciness of the stingray won out meaning that we couldn’t finish it all even though we desperately wanted to.
We later learned that the sambal (chilli-based sauce) could have been ordered on the side and we took a mental note for next time – it’s essential to have the BBQ stingray with this sauce but if you can’t handle hot foods like us, ask for it separate.
We picked at our food for a few more minutes before our server took away our half-empty plates and returned just minutes later with a dish of Roti Kaya Fondue. These toasted brown bread fingers come with soft butter and coconut jam for dipping and for Amy, this treat was the highlight of her night!
Just when we thought it was all over, the time had come for dessert and we each had a choice of Chendol or Cheng Tng. Rather than decide, we ordered one of each so that we could try the two options on offer.
The Chendol (top of the photo of below) was made of coconut milk, green-colored jelly, shaved ice, palm sugar and red beans while the Cheng Tng (bottom) means the ‘cooling soup’ in Chinese.
They weren’t our cup of tea (we’d much rather a cheesecake or a couple of scoops of ice-cream) but it was great to see what the Singaporeans enjoy for dessert and to be able to give it a taste.
With all that food in our stomachs, all that was left to do was sit back and relax with a Tiger beer. This was the ideal spot to watch the 9:30pm “Wonder Full” light and water show over at Marina Bay Sands, visible from our dinner table at Makansutras Gluttons Bay.
Our Verdict: Most of this food we wouldn’t try again, though we’d definitely come back for the BBQ Stingray (remember: sambal on the side!). For the two of us, it’s difficult to go past our favorite Hainanese Chicken Rice from the Maxwell Road Hawker Centre and that’s where we’ll be heading first for hawker food the next time we’re in Singapore… yum, yum!
Our Makansutra Gluttons Bay Sampler (Menu A) cost us $26 per person. Menu B was available for $32 per person and replaced the BBQ Stingray with Soto Ayam and Chilli Crab however dishes change with seasons and availability which ensures you’ll get the best of what’s on offer!
Makansutras Gluttons Bay
To order the Sampler experience, just call the Refreshment Stall Manager at 8350 6577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your bookings (do give advance notice of one day).
Have you tried any of these foods before? What did you think?