Welcome to my blog (Leah Sweet), you can follow me as I explore the wonderful new country of Singapore.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Americans Guide to Singapore

Since my finals are luckily over I have a few days off before I am heading to Hong Kong on my last adventure. I decided to compile a list of a few things that I wish I knew before I came to Singapore. Not to say that this is an "idiots guide" but I sure did feel foolish in some cases here, so I would like to help avoid that for others. Most of these little differences I picked up within the first few weeks, but i honestly feel like I learn something new everyday. Well here it goes...
1. queue = wait in line... if a sign says "Q Here" you obviously have to wait in line there. They tend to write just a q instead of spelling the word correctly

2.mrt = the train

3. Ez-Link = Card scanned for the buses and mrt - which you purchase at the mrt station

4. Cash Card = Not sure the exact purpose since you can only use at vending machines... but I have one anyways and you just put as much cash on it as you want

5. Top-Up = Used in reference to reloading your phone/ez-link/cash card with money

6. Nets = Singapore's debit sort of system (Visa is not used much here) and your card has to have a nets logo on it... I have been asked if I want nets when I hand my Visa but it doesn't work like debit, trust me

7. SMS/Message Me = text NOT facebook messaging

8. Take away = to go
take away iced coffee

9. Plain is not understood and you must specifically say no sauce no veggies etc. or you will get something very different from what you imagined

10. DON'T order a caesar salad, the dressing is most always mayonnaise instead of what you would think, caesar dressing

11. If the bottle looks like it has ketchup, it will more than likely be spicy chili sauce... beware

12. If there are two soy sauce like bottles one will be vinegar and one will be soy... mix them both together

13. Mock meat = some sort of tofu or vegetable that has the same texture but not too appealing taste, I would stick with the real stuff

Mock Prawn

14. Any sort of Indian food that they say is "not too spicy" normally makes me tear up, so make sure to have a beer ready

15. Carrot Cake is not your traditional cake with cream cheese frosting, it is a dinner made of radish and rice mixture sometimes served with seafood

16. Kopi = coffee with sugar, black coffee is not easy to get, and Kopi-O is coffee with sugar and condensed milk

17. Toast is most always served with kaya spread which is a coconut and egg mixture, and remember plain toast is not understood

18. Drinking session = pregaming

19. Although I do not eat hotdogs they are always chicken hot dogs

20. White chicken breast is not normal unless you are at a nice restaurant, so no you didn't get a bad piece of meat it is always brown and quite stringy

21. Bao = bun so chicken bao is a chicken bun... they do not look appealing but they really are surprisingly delicious

22. Char Sui = barbecue pork so char sui bao is barbecue pork bun

23. Xiao long bao = steamed soup dumplings which are the best from Din Tai Fung Restaurant... they are amazing dumplings but you have to be careful of the piping hot soup inside and make a small hole to drink the soup before eating the dumpling or you will have a nicely burned palate

24. Chicken Rice, not chicken and rice is the staple of Singapore and will be consistently good

25. Always bring your ipod on the mrt, literally every child/adult will be on their iphones or ipads

26. Don't drink on the mrt or at the station it is a fine... I was barked at on my first day by a lovely lady to put my drink away before I took a sip

27. Coke light = diet coke, slightly different flavor that takes time to adjust but just as addicting

28. If you fumble with your chopsticks a set of silverware will magically appear, so make sure to practice

29. Hot tea is normally served instead of complimentary water

30. Dim Sum is always family style so often 10-15 dishes are ordered to share

31. Milo = still haven't quite figured it out but similar to nesquick it is a chocolate malt powder served hot or cold... you can get a milo dinosaur which is served with extra milo OR a milo godzilla which is served with ice cream

32. Everything is spelled incorrectly or with poor english, including country wide ads

33. There are plenty of strict laws but do not get too worked up about them, follow the rules and don't cause a scene... I have seen many Singaporeans j-walk and chew gum 

Hopefully these will help if you ever end up in Singapore! I will add on as I am sure more will come to me soon! Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. Dear Leah,

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