Lunching at Lavender
Eat Traditional Noodles
When you visit Singapore, one of the interesting things you’ll notice is that there can be long queues at hawker centres. Singaporeans know where the best food is and don’t mind having to travel to find it or queue up when they arrive. You can pretty much guarantee that a queue means the food will be good. I’m mentioning this, because the famous Pork Noodles at Tai Hwa Noodle House are famous across the island. However, you’ll need to get to the restaurant at about 11am to beat the lunch crowd.
Once you arrive, find your place in the queue and wait patiently for your turn to order. One of the reasons there’s a queue is that each bowl of Bak Chor Mee is made individually with love.
Bak Chor Mee literally means ‘minced meat and noodles’, but that name doesn’t fully describe the dish. First of all, a scoop of rich gravy is placed into a bowl. Then, a handful of secret herbs and spices, some springy noodles and lots of pork are added. The dish contains minced pork, sliced pork, pork wontons, pork balls, pork liver and super crunchy bits of pork fat to add flavour. You will also get a little bowl of broth on the side to add to the soup as you see fit. The dish is full of flavour without being heavy. The noodles are springy, and there’s vinegar in the gravy to cut through the richness. The taste is so shiok (that means awesomely good food in Singlish)!
The two decisions you need to make about your Bak Chor Mee are whether to have it spicy or not and whether to have thick or thin noodles. Just tell the uncle, the one taking orders, what you want. He’ll make it just the way you like it. Of course, you can always add extra chilli.
Bak Chor Mee is a uniquely Singaporean dish. Although Chinese immigrants from Teochew province originally made this dish popular, Singapore is now the only place where you’ll find a bowl of it readily available. If you’re wondering how to correctly pronounce the name of the dish, it sounds exactly like it is written.
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
466 Crawford Lane, #01-02, Singapore, 190466 (closed on the first Monday of every month)
It’s a short walk from Lavender MRT Station.
WiFi tip: There are wireless@sg hotspots at 12 North Bridge Road and 461 Crawford Lane.
Restroom tip: If you can wait until your next location, you probably should. Otherwise, there’s a local restroom tucked in the corner of Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle.
Visit a Quirky Cafe
One of the things you will definitely notice about Singapore is the number of tall buildings in the city. Singaporeans are very proud of their skyscrapers, especially the towering Marina Bay Sands, the one that looks like a boat perched on top of three giant buildings. However, there are lots of places you can visit that feel much different from the bustling areas with skyscrapers.
Take a walk down to the area known as Kallang. A little river flows through the neighbourhood. You can walk from Lavender MRT Station across a colourful bridge onto King George’s Avenue. Here, you’ll spot a cleverly disguised café called Aeiou. From the outside, you could be fooled into thinking you’re entering an antique house. This is not far from the truth. The owners of this cafe have toiled long and hard to create a space that is inviting and homey and make the most out of recycled materials when they can.
Much of the café’s furniture came from old homes and antique shops in the area. Its glassware is made from repurposed bottles, and all sorts of interesting pieces of art are for sale.
Once you’ve had enough of peering at the knick-knacks, choose one of the quirky seating areas and make yourself comfortable. If you’re looking for a coffee break, Western-style and Asian coffees as well as a few unusual options that might appeal to you are available. The establishment is famous for its Avocado Coffee. I know it sounds crazy. However, the concoction is a combination of an avocado smoothie and a side of two espresso coffees. You add the espressos into the smoothie, mix and slurp. It’s surprisingly tasty!
Aeiou boasts an eclectic mix of salads, pastas, roasted chicken and other goodies. Its happy folks are always updating the menu and adding tasty variations of traditional favourites. Pop in just for coffee or have an entire meal of tasty goodness.
111 King George’s Avenue, Singapore
It’s a short walk from Lavender MRT Station.
WiFi tip: There are wireless@sg hotspots at The People’s Association HQ at 9 King George’s Avenue.
Restroom tip: There’s a restroom inside Aeiou with a beautiful natural stone sink in which you can wash your hands.