There are plenty of things to do in Singapore that could qualify as fun. Parks, beaches, shopping, all of it. My kind of fun involves fish markets and naked, hanging chickens.
I started my day in Little India, staying in a Hilton Garden Inn that has the most impressive air conditioning system I have ever encountered in life. It was freshly refurbished, and still smelled of new carpet and wet paint. It’s easy walk to bus stops and subway stations made it ideal for me to spend some time here. Plus, I would get a little culture that I wouldn’t if I’d have stayed in the business district, for instance. I wanted to see beyond the port and the splashy hotels, and it ended up being fantastic.
One of my first stops was the Tekka Center, a large wet market just down the block from my ice box of a hotel. And oh my goodness, this place was awesome. I entered through the fish area, in flip flops. On wet, fish juiced, puddely tiles, with gently sloped floors so all the fish juice puddles can collect then drain. But it was so, so clean, and despite swishing around, the water didn’t even splash up over my toes. Sorcery.
It was fish for miles, shrimp, crabs, other creatures I have never seen in real life. A nice man hacking the head off a dinner. Moving down the aisles meant changing cuisines. From the fish came the meat, parts were familiar, other parts not so much. But if nothing else, it looked super fresh and made me wish I knew how to cook or cared to learn.
The Tekka is enormous though. I saw fruit I have never seen before, and a store front dedicated entirely to eggs. They sold only eggs. And that’s the amazing thing about these stands: they sell one thing and one thing only. Fruit. Meat. Fish. Home goods. Shoes. Even plastic bags, like for other vendors to buy for when they sell their items. It’s both curious and brilliant in its execution. One stop shopping and yet not.
While I was taking photos, I found the proprietors were all too happy to pose, or keep working so I can get a good shot, or stop what they were doing to properly fasten my umbrella. The kindness of these strangers was both off-putting (eh, I’m from Jersey) and heartwarming. I could get used to it, but will likely continue to harbor a healthy reasonable doubt.
This guy was tickled by my interest in their every day lives, and was all too happy to stop pruning the beef to pose for a photo.
I ended up spending far too much time here for someone who doesn’t have a kitchen. But that’s because I found the food court portion with all the stalls that sell so much good food, fresh from the stalls around the corner, so I helped myself to some obscene rice and a coconut juice smoothie.
I eventually stepped out into the blazing midday sun, and headed in any direction where the sun was at my back.