[Travel] Foodie Express @ Little India Tour

May 13, 2017 9 Comments A+ a-

Having been in Singapore the last 25+ years, I can proudly say that I am very Singaporean. I studied in local schools, memorised texts about Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles and Sang Nila Utama (I didn't escape the clutches of rote learning), conversantly speak in English and Singlish, grew up in the heartlands, eat durians and married a Singaporean. 

But can I say that I truly know everything about the other 3 races in Singapore - the Malays, Indians and Eurasians? Perhaps not. So when the chance came for me to learn more about the Indian culture, I jumped at it.


Foodie Express Tours
Foodie Express is one of the latest series of walking tours run by Monster Day Tours and it promises to be local and overseas guests' express ticket to a memorable sensory experience. 

The Foodie Express @ Little India, led by tour guide Dani, is conducted every Saturday from 1 to 4pm and guests can embark on a fun learning journey of sights, sounds, smell, touch and of course TASTE. The most exciting part of this tour for me was the 3 food stops where I could sample up to 4 types of food items per stop. I liked how I could learn, exercise and eat - something really enriching on a Saturday afternoon. 

I don't want to be a spoiler, so shall share only a glimpse of what this tour offers. Do look out below for the unique Promotion Code specially for our readers too!  :)
 

(I) SEE
The Indian culture is one where colours are celebrated and different colours have their own symbolisms. Little India, one of three cultural precincts in Singapore, is of course preserved in its full glory - with colours no less. 

Within a few minutes of the tour which started at Little India MRT Station Exit E, Dani brought us to one of the most psychedelically colourful buildings in Singapore - the Residence of Tan Teng Niah. Mr Tan Teng Niah was one of the few prominent Chinese businessmen in Little India in the 1900s and the history of this Chinese-owned building in Little India is also a testament to Singapore's uniqueness as a multi-cultural city-state.

Saris are traditional costumes worn by the female and we passed by a sari shop. Be awed by the myraid of colours and types of textiles available!

Along the way, look out for a large glass case with old rolls of camera film too. They seemed literally locked in time!

The Street Art is also one of the key attractions of Little India. Whilst they were likely done up as part of the tourist draw, the images chosen were certainly of cultural significance. Of course, I have to agree that the bright colours are photo-worthy too!

- Cows: Sacred and deeply respected animals in Hinduism.

- Traditional trades of Little India: The garland maker and tarot reader.

One of the unique pitstops of the tour was also a secret vantage point which offers a birds' eye view of Little India. Who says you need to buy a drone to take such a view?

(II) HEAR
As I walked along the busy streets, I listened to the horning of modern vehicles and wondered how the roads of Little India were back then. Were there bells ringing away as cows moved past and how did the dhobis (traditional Indian laundry washerman) call out to their customers? 

(III) SMELL
Along the way, we also passed by a roadside stall selling fresh flower garlands which, in Indian culture, are religious symbols to honour gods, used at weddings and as a sign of respect to distinguished guests, or just worn by ladies as floral decoration for their hair.

And of course when we talk about smell, how can we miss FOOD while on this foodies' tour? One of the food stops that Dani brought us to was a popular Indian vegetarian restaurant chain frequented by Singaporeanls, celebrities and VIPs. We heard that Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also hosted a foreign delegate's meal there!

We tried the Masala Teh Tarik, a type of milk tea infused with cardomom and cloves, and I love how the spices blended in so well within. To be honest though, this drink is something which requires an acquired taste, but you must give it a try.

Teh Tarik, when literally translated, means pulled tea and the "pulling" action is traditionally done to help incorporate all the ingredients better. Try your hands at pulling the tea and enjoy smelling the spices whilst you do so! (Watch our tea-pulling video here.)

(IV) TOUCH AND TASTE
Amongst the items we tried at the restaurant chain were the Poori and Paper Dosai, and Dani shared what they were made of and how Indians like to use various spices to create dishes or incorporate them into dipping sauces.

 - Poori: A puffy unleavened deep-fried Indian bread.

 - Paper Dosai: A type of pancake made from fermented batter. (Doesn't it look like a magic hat?)

Shhh, but I was more attracted by how the food looked and tasted than listening to Dani, and was happily pinching the food with my fingers (exactly just like how the Indians do it). Honestly, which other culture has such cute round and triangular food which taste so good as well?

Bandung, consisting of rose syrup, milk and spices, was also offered. Perhaps we could call this an Indian form of the strawberry milk?
  
Overall
The Foodie Express @ Little India offers a relaxed and enriching gastronimical experience of one of the three heritage-rich precincts of modern Singapore, and I would definitely recommend this to both locals and overseas guests. Be prepared to soak in those sights and sounds, and get your hands dirty-happy with those yummy traditional food and spices.

I heard that the there is also a similar foodie tour for Chinatown and will likely check it out next. :)

Foodie Express @ Little India
When: Every Saturday, 1 to 4pm
Where: Meet at Little India MRT Station Exit E
Wear: Be dressed in comfortable attire and walking shoes, and bring an umbrella along!
[Please check out Monster Day Tour's webpage here for the latest details.]
 
>> Specially for The Hedgehog Knows readers, check out using my exclusive promotion code "TRAVELHEDGEHOG" to get 10% off any paid tour booked with Monster Day Tours! Email to info@monsterdaytours.com if you have any queries.

PS: Monster Day Tours also offers free 2.5-hour walking tours, so do check them out too!

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9 comments

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14 May 2017 at 10:08 delete

Am hungry after reading this post...Lol. The pics are so beautiful and colorful.

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Kelli
AUTHOR
20 May 2017 at 01:01 delete

Wow, this looks like such a fun tour! Now I think I better add Singapore to my bucket list. :) I love how colorful the photos are.

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20 May 2017 at 16:53 delete

Hi Kelli, yes it was so much fun and I learnt a lot. Yes do come by Singapore and if you need tips, feel free to ask me! :)

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Melanie
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26 May 2017 at 13:27 delete

This sounds so awesome! We just did a walking food tour for a work party here in the US (in Portland, OR) and it was excellent. Sounds like walking food tours are a good time no matter where you live! Thanks for sharing! Hope I make it to Singapore someday!

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28 May 2017 at 21:50 delete

Awesome, didn't know that there are such tours in Portland too. I love how enriching they are. Please let me know when you come to Singapore one day. Happy to tell you where all the good food is! :)

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Pooja Tomar
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31 May 2017 at 21:01 delete

I haven’t any word to appreciate this post.....Really i am impressed from this post....the person who create this post it was a great human..thanks for shared this with us. If you book your tour with a travel agent then, you have to deal with only one person throughout the tour which save your time and energy, Travel Agency in India

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Glennagirl
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3 June 2017 at 12:00 delete

I am curious to try the Masala Teh Tarik. It almost looks like a Chai Tea, and I love cloves so it might be right up my ally. Please share your post when you visit China Town :)!

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Ellen Page
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5 April 2018 at 12:24 delete

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