Newton Food Centre is a major food centre that was first opened in 1971, and is widely promoted by the Singapore Tourist Board. Apparently it has a reputation for being touristy and expensive. We went there for dinner on our last night in Singapore, solely because I discovered that our hotel was just down the road.
The food stalls are set up in a horseshoe configuration, around a plaza full of table and chairs. We were obviously tourists, so pretty much as soon as we entered stallholders descended upon us, showing us pictures of their food. It was fairly confronting, but no match for some of the souvenir markets that we perused in Africa. For example, when we were at Victoria Falls, market holders kept putting items in our hands, almost begging us to buy them. “I haven’t sold anything in three days!” was a common plea. Annoying, but kind of funny, were the stallholders at Victoria Falls who asked, “Have you got anything to trade? Your shirt? Hat? Pens?” They seemed desperate for anything, to the point where one of our group traded his socks for a souvenir – socks that he had been wearing at the time.
After doing one lap of the centre (brushing off touts the whole time), it was time to decide what to eat! So we decided – and boy, did we get sold. I blame Alastair and his weakness for seafood. Seafood was a lot more expensive than everything else, and subsequently, it wasn’t a cheap meal. But what the hell. It was our last night and we enjoyed it!
Out came 2 HUGE garlic prawns. These prawns were beasts! The green balls near the head of the prawns were little limes. The prawns were nice and garlicky, and we washed them down with a big mug of beer.
We had chilli lobster, which were the smallest lobsters I’ve ever seen. They were about the size of the prawns! The chilli sauce wasn’t particularly spicy, and had a touch too much tomato sauce, but otherwise good.
We also had a $4 plate of char kway teo, because I wasn’t going to leave the country without eating some! Traditionally, char kway teo is fried in pork fat, and it tasted so fatty and delicious I would be surprised if pork fat wasn’t used.
After all this, Alastair still wasn’t done eating, so he bought some chicken and beef satay. When he returned to the table saying that he had to order a minimum of 10 sticks, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to eat them all. Fortunately, they were just little bite size skewers. Nicely done too, smokey and a bit charred. Mhhhmm.
Oh, Singapore, so much food, so little stomach space.