Surprising Horizons

The Joy of Travel. The Realities of New Experiences.

Month: February 2018

Singapore Food Staples: Biryani

What comes into your mind when you hear and see the word “Bismillah”? I’ll wait. Yeah, I thought so. Will not let you go.

Anyway, Bismillah translates from Arabic into “In the name of God” so plop it before Biryani and place it above a restaurant and you expect heavenly things. And, actually, the biryani at Bismillah Biryani is good. Tasty and very very filling. We swam to Bismillah on a very rainy day on the outskirts of Little India.

Bismillah opens every day at 6pm. At 6:01pm we arrived with umbrellas in tatters. Perfect time to be there with both the timing and inclement weather meaning the service was in existence purely for us. On first impressions the interior of Bismillah is quite…red. A little run down looking with the upholstery on the chairs needing a good nuclear decontamination. Hazmat suits and power hoses would be good.

A little starter of some vegetable samosas ($1 each, good value) and some spicy dipping sauce. These were hearty, hot, and welcoming. The pastry was quite thick and the filling was a nice mixture of vegetables blended together for a pleasing bite. Or two.

The biryani that is dished up at Bismillah is of Pakistani and North Indian origin. More traditionally labelled Dum Biryani the main difference, so it seems, is that in Dum Biryani everything is steamed together over coals whereas in normal Biryani the meat is added separately later. The main difference to the diner is that the dish is mainly dry with no oily-ness with the gravies you find on normal Biryanis. Perhaps healthier? Who knows.

So what do you end up getting in a chicken biryani dish? A pile of basmati rice with two pieces of chicken (bones n all), a hard boiled egg, and fried onions. Obviously the chicken is marinated in a bunch of herbs and spices which adds another layer of complexity and deliciousness. You do get a bowl of yogurt based sauce to add a little bit of moistness to proceedings. If that floats your boat. It was nice to add it from time to time but not totally necessary if you had a nice mix of egg, chicken, onion, and rice balanced on your fork.

Having tasted the goat (it’s written as kid goat on the menu which is a little bit more ghoulish) biryani I would probably go for that next time as it seemed a little bit more flavorful. Chicken goes for $9 and goat for $15. You can get “double” versions of these which I find find crazy as I side-stepped through the open front of the restaurant and set off walking home to try and work off the fullness I was feeling.

All in all, a very tasty take on a biryani in a no fuss yet no frills restaurant.

 

Checking out the Singapore Airshow 2018 For Free!

Well not exactly, but if all you want is to check out the fly-bys and performances that happen for a few hours each day of the air show you can do no wrong than to plonk yourself down on nearby Changi Beach and get some good ear-splitting angles of the various planes. Map below for the exact spot I got my snaps from.

The Singapore Air Show is both a trade and public exhibition where a number of “deals” go down behind the scenes between airplane manufacturers and airlines although this year these deals were slim (ie. non existent) pickings.

I don’t know enough about military planes to talk about their mach performances and the amount of GEES that the pilots were undergoing. Just peruse the pics instead.  It was pretty cool!

 

Bite Size Review: Veganburg

You ever just step into a place and you’re immediately not happy? I’m not talking prisons here..merely restaurants.

That was Veganburg for me. And not just because it served all vegan; I’ve been dabbling in that black art for a while now. The minute you step into Veganburg you lose all sense of hearing. There is music but it’s not very loud. It’s just that it seems to reverberate off the walls creating a swirl of noise around you. Throw in a low talking service dude and you’ve got immediate issues straight off the bat.

When you walk into Veganburg the queue hits you in the face. If it’s busy the queue leaves the front door. Mistake number one restaurant floor planner. When we got to order our fake meat, we did so but the low talker had many questions. I usually can answer these questions as they are usually not hard. I need to be able to hear them though. Passed that test finally and I pay. The total was $23.70 or something and I give a nice bunch of 3 $10 notes. “Have you got 30c?” “No”. So he has to dig into his own wallet to get me exact change. Wth?! This was before the lunch hour rush too.

Anyway, food-wise I ordered the Char-Grilled Satay burger and Mrs. Horizons the Avocado Beetroot burger. Their arrival was harked via one of those buzzing disc things and I went up to the counter to see the two burgers waiting with people leaning over them getting change and things. Not good. Nobody acknowledged me taking them; I could have walked in off the street like a vegan loving hobo and snatched them up.

The food was blah. The pattys were nondescript and if it was a real animal it would have been even more sad that something had to die to create it. I think their modus operandi is to slather stuff over their patties to try to create different tastes. It doesn’t work. Boring. Whilst we were slothing our way through the meal the queue got longer and started encroaching on the sitting space and the place got louder. And I got more annoyed. We left before I renounced veganism forever.

The moral of the story? Just because it’s a fast food-esque vegan joint doesn’t necessarily take the fast-food crappy experience out of the whole equation. If it wasn’t vegan Veganburg wouldn’t exist. Having said that…people rave about it. My thinking is these are the same people who think going to Veganburg once a week is a healthier choice than their usual KFC run.

Where it at yo?

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