Last week there was a public holiday (hurrah!) for Hari Raya Puasa. Like many people, we (Jacqui, Joe, Lauren and myself) thought we should find something “fun”, “awesome” and “oh-so-cool” to do… unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. Despite the crowds everywhere, we decided to jump on a bumboat (for $2.50) and ride over to Pulau Ubin, just off mainland Singapore, for a bike ride, some foods and a giggle or two. ‘Pulau’ means island in Malay, while ‘ubin’ means granite. This isn’t really relevant to the blog, it just makes me look smart.
Ubin was TEEMING with people. There were bicycles everywhere, with children darting between them – most of whom I’m sure had never ridden a bike before in their lives. Upon arrival, we managed to find a spare seat at one of the little food stores on the island (one of only a few) and were delighted to find they sold big giant coconuts! A feast before the biking begins? Of course! Lauren bought herself two-minute noodles to take home (she was very excited to find a flavour she had failed to locate on the mainland), Jacs and I bought three packets of ‘gems’ – animal cracker-tasting biscuit things with a dollop of dried, hard and colourful icing on the top – and we all, Joe included, devoured the best coconuts we have ever had. I nearly broke my spoon scooping out every bit of coconutty flesh I could.
Post-coconut feast went something like this: hire bikes, ride for five minutes, Joe’s bike breaks, change bikes, Becca’s gears decide to get stuck, she struggles up hills, we hang out with mangy dogs, we park bikes to walk along the boardwalk at Chek Jawa in the pouring rain, eat more gems and Twisties along the boardwalk, leave because of screaming child, get back to bikes, ride some more, Becca and Joe give up to eat another coconut, Jacs and Lauren carry on for 15 more minutes, take some funny photos then come back for more coconuts. It rains again, we leave during a storm (my genius idea to make sure we got a seat on the 12-seater boats; it worked!) get back to mainland Singapore……and decide to go and eat FISH AND CHIPS.
I didn’t know real, proper, battered ‘fush n chups’ existed in Singapore, but it turns out the Brits have got it oh-so-right over here. Smith’s Authentic British Fish and Chips in Tanjong Katong tastes just like the battery goodness back in NZ… complete with perfect chips, white bread to make chip butties and a, er, scotch fish egg. They also do mushy peas! It’s safe to say we were in heaven after a good four hours of trapsing around an island (although we were wonderfully hydrated, thanks to all the coconut).
The trip to Ubin is completely worth it, and there is more to eat there at the seafood hawkers, but we didn’t bother. Smith’s Fish and Chips is at 230 Tanjong Katong Road, with two new venues opening soon. Go to http://www.smithsfishandchips.com/