Dee Dee DePass of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune traveled to Singapore with a group of journalists expecting to be wined and dined at some of the city-state’s fancier restaurants.  Instead she ended up enjoying some wonderful Singaporean street food.  Let her tell you about it:

“Local food stalls, nestled dives and outdoor markets catered scrumptious ethnic dishes, exotic fruits, bizarre food combinations and the authentic ambience of the streets. Unsure where to start, we joined the longest line (a NYSF rule), and pointed to a picture of a $2.20 ($1.60 U.S.) plate of fried “carrot cake,” a traditional Malay radish dish that looked like scrambled eggs, without a single carrot in sight.  In minutes, the cook chopped, tossed and fried up a large steaming plate of goodness. We found a free table and dug in with chopsticks to the savory dish of soft white radishes, egg and rice flour spiced with coriander and garlic. We eyed each other with heads bobbing in pleasure.

We visited a vendor who spooned Chinese fish noodle-soup into a large bowl, topping it with scallions, mild chilies and needle mushrooms. The neatness and cleanliness of the stalls was as admirable as the tasty $2 soup.

When SARS threatened to become a global epidemic in 2003, Singapore’s strict, rule-laden government redoubled its hygiene efforts, so risk of food poisoning is scant.

Our best snacks were the $2 shrimp dumplings and $3 “Laksa” coconut soup at the cantinas inside the new Sentosa Casino just 40 minutes from downtown. The Bintan ferry terminal in southeast Singapore harbored the best rice noodle soup I’d ever had. [Minn-St Paul Star Tribune]