singapore, 01.22.07

22 01 2007

i woke up this morning with some serious jetlag — my eyes popped open at 4:30 and it was impossible to fall back asleep, so i surfed around the internet catching up on the news.

at around 7, i hopped in the shower and got ready for breakfast. breakfast was a bit of a disappointment. the room service menu offers everything from local malaysian and chinese breakfasts like nasi lemak (chile omelet, coconut rice, fried fish and sambal) and congee (blech) to the standard american breakfast. the buffet was complete: pastries, sausages, poached eggs with truffle hollandaise, cereal, fruit, etc., but no malaysian or chinese food in sight.

the greater part of this morning was spent in lectures. we took some time to introduce ourselves, acclimate ourselves to the program objectives, meet the client. standard training fare. but let’s move on to the fun
stuff: LUNCH.

lunch was better than breakfast. tandoori chicken, vegetables, sweet and sour fish, some malaysian noodle dish. much, much better.

but nothing beats the snacks.

i finally tried dragon fruit. the flesh is white with tiny black seeds. the dragon fruit is a little bit like the bastard child of a kiwi andjicama. there’s a bit of bite with the weirdly crunchy seeds that give the faint sweetness a bit of a sour bite.

i also got to eat fresh longan. longans are about the size of grape, but they’re encased in a shell that’s easy to peel. their texture is similar to a lychee, but their flesh is slightly chewier. they’re also not as sweet.

the highlight of today’s snacks, however, were the fried taro balls (woo kok) stuffed with pork and chopped shitake mushrooms. my guess is that they make a taro paste and fill it with the pork and mushrooms. then they dip them in shredded taro so that it forms a crispy, yet thin, crust around the filling. dip them into sweet hot chile sauce and they are absolute heaven. i wish i took a pic, but that probably would have been embarassing, what with all of the other folks around me.

spent most of the afternoon in lectures and small group sessions. had some fun today, because i got to play the role of the difficult client. i’m not going to bore you with details.

went to dinner with my group. a restaurant called straits kitchen. i’ve linked to a girl’s website whose pics kind of capture the ambiance and sheer abundance of food. they whole place is a buffet with steam tables separated by type of cuisine: malay, chinese, and indian. the variety is astounding and it’s really hard not to overeat. i really wanted the fruit but i was too full. thankfully, there were no mangosteens in sight, otherwise i would have had to make room.

well, off to my status call with my team in ny.

i’ll post again tomorrow.

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