G’day from Down Under: An Asian Excursion

Although studying abroad in Australia has been beautiful, enlightening, and fun, I cannot deny that, as a whole, it doesn’t feel extremely different from America. Because of this, I wanted to travel somewhere for my spring break vacation that would provide a completely different cultural experience.

Deciding where to travel was difficult for me, as most of my peers wanted to go to places that I did not want to go. Also, with a weeklong break, this would be one of my only opportunities to travel to a place a bit further away, so I wanted to make sure I picked the right location.

I knew I wanted a cultural experience that was somewhere far, but not too far. I love food, I love city landscapes, and I wanted to explore Asia. So, I found myself in Singapore: the land of street food, gardens, and impressive architecture.

Landing in Singapore and driving from the airport to the hotel was like starring in a movie sequence. Driving down the highway and seeing the Marina Bay Sands, the Singapore Flyer, and the Gardens by the Bay was a skyline unlike any city I had ever been to.  

The architecture in Singapore is intricate and beautiful. I passed these main attractions six days in a row and my awe of them never diminished.

 

The Gardens by the Bay and a bit of the Singapore flyer during the day.

 

The Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands lit up at night in preparation for the Garden Rhapsody light show.

 

A view from the top of The Marina Bay Sands, a 56-story hotel that has three different towers connected by a floating “boat” rooftop pool and bar.

 

Aside from the astonishing architecture, the food was absurdly delicious. Each day in Singapore was a different experience due to the multitude of food options. Throughout the city, there are Hawker centers with over 100 food stalls selling dumplings, street noodles, Singapore Chili Crab, fried rice and more.

One of my favorite traditional dishes was the carrot cake, but it’s not the traditional dessert you think of when you hear carrot and cake together. Singapore’s carrot cake does not have any carrot, nor does it have any cake. Instead, this dish is more like a radish stir-fry and it is delicious! In Singapore, anything that resembles a carrot is called a carrot and anything that has batter is called cake. The most incredible thing about Singapore is that buying a dish like this at a Hawker is only two or three dollars. You could eat all of your meals here and spend no more than $10 on a days worth of food.

In order to further understand Singapore’s food culture, I took a cooking class and learned how to make some traditional dishes. I made roti jala (similar to a crepe), chicken curry with potatoes, and ang ku kueh (a dessert that has sticky rice flour skin to it and a sweet coconut filling).

 

Creating the purple kuah was my favorite part. They are shaped like tortoise shells, because turtles symbolize longevity.

 

I am so glad I decided to spend my spring break in Singapore. It was an experience I will never forget and one that taught me so much about a different culture. I am looking forward to bringing my recipes back home so that I can relive a piece of my trip!

 

 

 

Laura Jeshiva, Study Abroad Correspondent

Laura Jeshiva is a junior at Boston University studying advertising. She is currently studying abroad in Sydney, Australia where she looks to travel, try new food, and have an internship at an advertising agency. In Boston, Laura is an ambassador for the College of Communication and a member of AdLab.

 

 

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