Hi fellow treasure-seekers! I’m back! I know it’s been quite a while since my last blog post. And apparently, in blogdom that’s writer’s suicide because people tend to forget you existed if you’re not posting regularly. I would like to say it’s because I’ve been busy with grand 2018 plans – saving lives, changing the world – but the truth is, after a week-long trip back home to Singapore, I returned to New York and immediately had to move apartments. Anyone who’s had to deal with packing up everything you own, moving, and unpacking everything again in a different layout, knows what an ordeal it is. Following that, I got so caught up in apartment decorating that I just kept procrastinating on all the writing I wanted to do.
Well, hopefully, this is me getting back into the swing of things. They say it takes 60 days to make a new habit. So, I guess I just need to spend 2 months being diligent about this. To kick it off is a super belated post from Singapore. I only go home to see family and friends once or twice a year, usually for really short periods of 5 days to a week. Naturally, in that short amount of time, I try to cram in as much as possible – spending time with family and friends, doing medical-related stuff (so much cheaper than healthcare in the US), and eating all the yummy Southeast Asian food.
One of my favorite cuisines is Peranakan or Nonya food. Peranakan food is unlike anything else. Melding Malay, Chinese and Indonesian influences, the flavors are so rich, complex and fulfilling. As both sides of my grandparents are from Penang and Malacca (where Peranakan food originated), I grew up eating a lot of it. I equate the cuisine to my childhood and it’s my comfort food, so when an old friend I was meeting up with suggested checking out a newly-opened Peranakan restaurant, I got super excited.
CreatureS is a modern-day cafe located at Desker Road, which if you know about Singapore’s history, is a really unusual place to open a hip new restaurant. Desker Road, (even writing the name gives me faint vestiges of an illicit thrill) is Singapore’s oldest and most notorious red-light district. Growing up as a child, I heard second- or third-hand tales of all the “things” that went down in Desker Road. When I was a teen, desperate to get up to no good, my friends and I would joyride to Desker Road and peek out the car windows at the scantily-clad women and unconscionably high-heeled transvestites. Draped in the darkened doorways down seedy alleys, these creatures of the night were visible only by the light of the red lanterns that hung near the entrances.
So, walking into CreatureS, I was quite surprised at just how trendy the place was. I thought it a lovely melding of old-school Peranakan furnishings and modern day decor elements. I loved that they had those typical Peranakan-style stools as bag chairs. (Would love to have one in my new apartment but you can forget about me paying to ship that!) My friend and I had pretty much arrived at opening and were the first guests in the restaurant, which gave us plenty of opportunity to take pictures (I haven’t been blogging long enough yet to not feel self-conscious with a camera.)
We ordered itek tim (duck and salted vegetable soup), babi pongteh (braised pork stew), and ayam buah keluak (chicken with a spicy sauce and tree nuts that you’ll probably never find anywhere else other than in this Nonya dish). The two mains came with another popular Nonya side dish – chap chye – a cabbage and black fungus vegetable stew. Now, I’m no food critic, so I’m not going to wax lyrical about these traditional Nonya dishes or whether the CreatureS fare measured up to my grandmother’s cooking. It wasn’t the best I’ve had, but it wasn’t the worst either and I did get my Nonya food fix, so I was a happy bunny.
About my outfit – I’m really feeling the color red these last few months. If you follow me on Instagram @thiswanderingeye you’ll notice I’ve been quite drawn to red. I love crop tops because I think my tummy (sans food in it) is one of my better physical features. The striped pants is actually a jumpsuit I cut up. The jumpsuit was way too revealing for me, but I liked the stripes, so I turned them into pants. I love repurposing my old clothes. It’s like you suddenly have a whole new outfit! The bag from Min & Mon is my current fave. It’s just the right size for my daily essentials, and the eyes and charm are so whimsical! It’s also a New York brand and I like to support local.
Top: Urban Outfitters. Pants: custom made. Necklace: Espiritu Nativo. Bag: Min and Mon.