I’ve just returned from Singapore, where I attended the Ubicomp/ISWC joint conference. Excellent conference, and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with colleagues from all over the world. It was also an excellent opportunity to re-visit some of Singapore’s delightful attractions, and even more notably, its delectable palate of restaurants. (My prior visit to Singapore was just over two years ago, for the MobiSys conference.) A large fraction of my photos are of the foooood. Read on!
I strolled around Marina Bay, past the iconic “Merlion” sculpture/fountain and its accompanying bevy of tourists all trying to capture their next Instagram; out past the Marina Bay Sands hotel (which appears to have a boat on top of its three towers) and through the winding paths of the Marina Bay Gardens (lovely!); over to Little India where the streets are decorated in anticipation of Deepavali; down Arab street and past its mosque; through Chinatown, with its street market and its Buddhist and Hindu temples; and through mall after mall after mall. Shopping seems to be the main pastime, at least in the center of the city.
Singapore is a study in contrasts, but not conflicts. Case in point: as I walked along one of the many covered sidewalks, a sort of arcade that opens to the street on one side and to a series of narrow shops on the other, I passed in sequence (1) a shop selling clothing from the islamic tradition, (2) a shop selling artificial Christmas trees and a selection of ornaments, and (3) a Hindu gentleman selling fabrics and Indian garments. My students – from China and India respectively – noted how impressively multicultural and friendly they found the city.
The sights are alright – but food is where Singapore truly sings. Singapore is a melting pot of so many cultures, and its citizens clearly love to eat out. There are restaurants for every conceivable cuisine – and also the intersectional fusion of those cuisines. I headed for the North Indian, South Indian, Chinese (of what sort, I can’t recall), Satay, and a sort of Halal/Indian/fusion sort of place. (I skipped the steak houses, Irish pubs, southern fried chicken, and burger joints – all of which were readily available too!) Each meal left me stuffed and happy and wondering what might be next.
In sum: you can see all the major sights of Singapore in two days, but you can’t possibly eat your way across Singapore in less than a month. 😉