NIBBLES

Nibbles are also specialties of Singapore, which is a food map on its own. However, it’s unlike a regular food map that I wrote about in Food Tripping in Singapore. It’s a food map that details a slightly more off the beaten path that personal trainers of Hollywood celebrities won’t offer plaudits. They’re calorie-laden – the empty ones – and completely wreck weight-loss regimens. No arguments there but they’re just irresistibly delightful to munch on. This snack time food map of mine is but a gentle reminder that diets should also go on vacation when you’re on vacation.

Eenie meenie mi ni moe - which popcorn flavour shallit be?

Eenie meenie mi ni moe – which popcorn flavour shall
it be?

The winner - caramel popcorn by Garrett!

The winner – caramel popcorn by Garrett!

Popcorn is the first stop on the food map especially caramel popcorn from Garrett. There are other variants but I am partial towards caramel popcorn while one of my gal-pals likes her caramel popcorn with macadamia. Like what I think of people working in ice cream, cookie, brownie and cake shops, people behind a popcorn counter should be effervescent and forthcoming. They are, after all, selling fun food so they should look the part and not destroy the ambience. Fortunately, the popcorn girl was as how I expected her to be. A bit jaded on Singapore’s hospitality – its lamentable state is a common gripe even when I was living there – I was thinking it was because it was still early in the day when I trooped down to get my medium-size Garrett.

Popcorn by Garrett is crunchy and the caramel is not cloying although, admittedly, finishing a bag – small or medium – in one sitting is near to impossible unless you have a gargantuan appetite and no concern with weight gain or acquiring the sugar disease. You’re actually sated after a handful of it. My bag usually lasts a week or so; I keep it in the fridge and have a handful every now and then.

The Chicago-based popcorn has found its way to Singapore and numerous kiosks have sprouted around the city. In fact, I discovered that what used to be a Dairy Queen-Orange Julius kiosk near Wheelock Place on Orchard Road is now a Garrett. And to think I went all the way to 313@Somerset when I could have just walked over from Royal Plaza on Scotts where I was staying at that time.

The takoyaki stall at 313@Somerset is ready for customers.

The takoyaki stall at 313@Somerset is ready for customers.

Next, which is slightly heavier than popcorn, is a perennial favourite in Singapore. It was called octopus balls at first because octopus was the only flavour then up until the owner got creative and added prawn, corn and peas, mushroom, and cheese on the list. Called takoyaki, it’s the Japanese version of the Western pancake albeit with a savoury twist. Batter with the octopus (more like a squid), prawn or whatever you like are fried on a ball skillet and expertly moulded into snack balls. I usually take my prawn balls without the mayonnaise but a regular order – three or four balls – is usually garnished with paper-thin onion and drizzled with mayonnaise and a special sauce. You eat it with pseudo-chopsticks (they’re way thinner than regular chopsticks). The takoyaki stalls are ubiquitous and, at times, hordes of customers crowd around them waiting for their balls.

Savoury snack of takoyaki balls - octopus, prawn or mushroom and cheese?

Savoury snack of takoyaki balls – octopus, prawn or
mushroom and cheese?

The third munchies are a new discovery. It was when my father and I were making our way up from the basement of Takashimaya that I spotted Sapporo Petit Doughnut near the escalator. I distinctly remembered a pretzel store, Aunty Anne’s, occupying the space then. I didn’t find doughnuts though; what I stumbled upon was a pancake and pastry tolled into one. If takoyaki stalls had special ball skillets, Sapporo had skillets that formed Singapore’s Merlion, a ball, and other shapes. The shapes correspond to the filling of the “doughnut” – Singapore Merlion has custard crème and the ball has red bean paste among others. The batter, like in the takoyaki stalls, are poured into the skillet and cooked to perfection.

Petite bites, big creamy taste

Petite bites, big creamy taste

The indispensable partner to snack time - a Nespressocoffee machine.

The indispensable partner to snack time – a Nespresso
coffee machine.

Whatever munchies were on hand, I knew that they went well with a cup of coffee. I am not talking about Starbucks this time. Inside my room at Royal Plaza on Scotts was a snazzy Nespresso coffee machine with three flavour coffee capsules to choose from. Each is a blend of South African and East African Arabica. My father and I tried them all. Ristretto was very powerful to my taste but was fine with dad.  Lungo was mid-way: complex and balanced but still not to my liking. I found my partner in the fruity and delicate Decaffeinato. Snack time doesn’t get any better than this, don’t you think so?

Sapporo Petit Doughnut

Takashimaya B2-08-08

391A Orchard Road

Tel: +65 6738 1111

Garrett

313 @Somerset #01-33

313 Orchard Road

Tel: +65 6509 5755

Wow! Tako

313@Somerset basement

313 Orchard Road

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