Well, it’s February 27, and the two-week Chinese New Year holiday is official over. All the shops are open, and the bright red decorations are coming down. However, we’re only on Day 3 of the holiday, in blog-time. Never fear, though – the first 2 days are when the majority of celebrations occur, and I’ve already talked about them, and our family traditions, here and here. Days 3-15 will go much faster, and in fact, most of this post is really about a delicious meal we had at The Dunearn (scroll down if you want to skip the CNY parts).
In Singapore, the first two days of the new year are public holidays, and usually, most people go back to work on the third. However, since the first day was a Sunday this year, the two-day work holiday was Monday and Tuesday (actually the second and third days of the New Year). However, the third day is traditionally a “bad luck day”, so no one visits. We laid low and recovered from a busy few days.
The fifth day is the God of Wealth’s Birthday, and in China, it is common to shoot off firecrackers on this day. This is supposed get the attention of the God of Wealth, so he will bring you (oh yes) goof fortune and prosperity for the new year. Firecrackers are pretty much illegal in Singapore, so that day passed quietly here.
The seventh day of the new year is when everyone grows a year older – in other words, it’s Everyone’s Birthday! Coincidentally, this year, this day also happened to fall on KMN’s sister’s Gregorian (western) calendar birthday this year. So we speculate that she may have turned two years older this year – like the opposite of being born on a leap year or something – but she doesn’t look it a bit!
Either way, it was a day to celebrate, and we planned to do so at The Dunearn (at the Guild House) on the NUS campus in Bukit Timah. And thus began the greatest navigational failure of our time in Singapore, to date. For the first time since moving here, Google Maps completely failed us. Like, totally, 100%, at least a mile off FAILED us. [Note to Locals: Do not trust Google Maps in the Cluny Road area!!] We looked up directions before leaving the apartment, and KMN was surprised by where Google Maps directed us – but we took its word, hopped on the Circle Line to Botanic Gardens, and settled in for a 20 minute walk across the park. Thirty minutes later, we were hot, sticky, standing exactly where Google pinned the address of the Guild House, and looking at trees. We walked ahead, and back – no dice.
Finally, we admitted defeat and called KMN’s Dad – and realized that KMN’s initial inclination had been correct, and we were not where we needed tobe. We tried to hail a cab, but there was not an empty one to be found in that quiet area, so we ended up walking all the way back to campus. Needless to say, we’d worked up quite an appetite by the time we arrived! We started the meal with a special Snake Year yusheng (previous post describing yusheng is here):
Of course, this guy wasn’t very long for this world. First, we tossed. Then, we ate. I found a long and super curly piece of carrot, and made KMN take a picture:
We all opted for the Choose-Your-Own-Set menu (from anything on the regular menu!). I was ravenous, and enjoyed the following:
Do you want to know what happened when I opened up that lava cake? Of course you do:
Perhaps it was all the walking we did before dinnre, or the running from that morning, or the double birthday celebration – but I thought this was some of the best Western food we’ve eaten in Singapore, and at a pretty fair price ($49 SGD for the three-course set plus coffee/tea). The soup had a good mushroom flavor, and was thick and creamy – and not too salty. The ravioli were tasty, the curry sauce was flavorful but not too rich, and the scallops on top were tender and delicious (and I don’t always love scallops). And the lava cake… Well, do you even have to ask??
We sang, celebrated, and had a great time with family. THIS is (one of several reasons) why we’re back in Singapore, folks.
If you could put any filling into a chocolate lava cake, what would it be?
[The white, slightly fruity stuff in mine was good…but I might have preferred straight-up hot fudge, or maybe something peanut buttery instead…]
Google Maps led you astray lately?