One night in, er, Singapore
March 19, 2006 2:02 AM   Subscribe

24 hours in Singapore: seeking a few specific shopping/food recommendations.

Work's sending me to Singapore for a night and a day in a few weeks. I'll be on the hunt for a few things:

- a shortwave radio with a digital tuner
- Indian or Middle Eastern food
- cheap used books in English

Frugality, as always, is the order of the day, but I assume the radio's going to cost maybe US$40-60? Any specific recommendations? Thanks!
posted by mdonley to Travel & Transportation around Singapore, Singapore (12 answers total)
Sim Lim Square for all things tech.

Foodwise, everything to be had is on Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Muhammad Sultan Drive.

If you can at all do the Night Safari at the Zoo, it'll be unforgettable. They have a batcave.
posted by effugas at 2:13 AM on March 19, 2006

i'd actually stay away from boat/clarke quay - rather touristy when it comes to food. you can find good, authentic indian food for cheap in little india. try some roti prata.

we had a nice indian meal at a place called "samy's" which is kinda off the beaten path, but it was a nice open-air place where you eat on a banana leaf, and they come round with various dishes and ask if you want some of this, some of that.. sorta like dim sum that way.

OH! my girlfriend just reminded me of a place called annalakshmi which is a really awesome place for indian food. it's run by volunteers, vegetarian, and you pay what you wish - no bill, you just donate whatever you feel is appropriate.

lunch is buffet, dinner is off a menu.. the food is GREAT and the people are really nice. plus the atmosphere is very nice and it's run by a cultural organization so you're surrounded by all these artifacts, PLUS the money you give goes to help various charities, health care and artisans, etc in india. actually better food than samy's but not as unique an environment.

dunno about the other stuff. have fun!

ps - while you're there if you decide you don't want indian, head out to the east coast seafood center and have BLACK PEPPER CRAB! yum yum! i'd go to singapore just for that!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 2:31 AM on March 19, 2006

My wife and I remember Muthu's with affection and an overflow of drool, but it's good only if you have extra dosh to spend. Any hawker's center is good for a quick plate of Mutton Biryani, though.

Second Sim Lim for cheap electronics. Bras Basah Complex (near Raffles) for cheap books. Hope that helps.

(Damn, I miss Singapore!)
posted by micketymoc at 2:44 AM on March 19, 2006

I love the header. That made me laugh.

I would recommend going anywhere in Little India that looks busy with locals. Always remember to wash your hands in the sinks before eating though.

It'll be cheap, memorable and mighty tasty. Having said that stick to the vegetarian stuff unless you aren't squeamish. I once enjoyed a great curry (served in a banana leaf) until I found out it was goat intenstine that made it so chewy.

Second Sim Lim Square for tech goods. Watch out for some of the places on Orchard Road where they will try to get you to buy your new favourite gadget for a ridiculously cheap price then will try to sell the warranty or power charger separately for a ridiculous add-on after the deal's been done.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 3:28 AM on March 19, 2006

Although it was not the same as your question, you might find the (few) answers to this AskMe question worth checking out.
posted by yankeefog at 3:34 AM on March 19, 2006

My favorite restaurant in Singapore (not that I've tried them all) is Komala Vilas in Little India. It's rather unprepossessing from the outside but the food, vegetarian South Indian style, is excellent and remarkably inexpensive. It beats all the swankier places we ate at by a mile.
posted by Quietgal at 7:10 AM on March 19, 2006

I found cheap used books in English in one of the huge malls along Orchard Road. Lots of used Lonely Planet; pretty sure the shop was English-only. Sorry I can't be more precise about the location.
posted by Rash at 9:46 AM on March 19, 2006

A Monkeyfilter member who lives in Singapore passed this on (she doesn't have a MeFi account):

"The Orchard Road mall is Far East Plaza. Located at the end of Scotts Road, really, adjacent to Orchard Road. It's right next to a big hotel called Goodwood Park.

"The two more popular and well stocked second-hand bookshops there are called Angel and Sunny. Sunny bookshop is excellent because the staff there really knows their books. Instead of trawling through the packed shelves like the regulars do, just ask the staff for anything you want. They'll know if they have any in stock or not.

"Caveat: Do *not* try the tailor shops in the same building, and try to avoid the electronic shops, they are mostly tourist traps. Best thing to do that is do comparison shopping, lots of it, before buying. The prices can vary wildly.

"Little India is best for seeking out Indian food, but I can't really recommend a particular place (depends on if you like North Indian, South Indian, or vegetarian). Komalas Vilas that was recommended is good."

Hope that helps you!
posted by Melinika at 5:51 PM on March 19, 2006

She adds: "The comparison shopping bit is actually for Sim Lim Square." (sorry!)
posted by Melinika at 5:54 PM on March 19, 2006

You don't need a shortwave radio - the FM stations in Singapore are all right, and are quite varied. You can get BBC on 88.9FM.

Orchard Road is a money trap - busy, but be careful.

Is coming over to Johor Bahru an option?
posted by divabat at 6:09 PM on March 19, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks all! Keep it coming!

Divabat: I work in Indonesia - the shortwave radio is for when I get back here, not for Singapore; I haven't been able to find a satisfactory one in my neck of the woods. Also, my passport will be doing all sorts of interesting things without me at the Indonesian embassy, so no Johor trip.
posted by mdonley at 6:30 AM on March 20, 2006

mdonley: aaaaah, I see.

Hmm. I'm outta ideas - all my ideas are for the daytime. But Singapore's a pretty busy upbeat city - there's bound to be things going on. Stalk the Perfect 10 98.7FM and Power 98FM websites (or Class 95FM) to see if they're organizing anything.
posted by divabat at 6:50 PM on March 20, 2006

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