VAUDE Bike Gaiters Long

Vaude Bike Gaiters

I bought these VAUDE Bike Gaiters at the start of last winter, when I was still riding my fat bike. They’ve been used off road mostly, protecting my Lake MX 237 Endurance shoes from the local slop. I have worn them with my road shoes too, on a few lengthy tarmac rides.

When I bought them, I was after something slightly longer than the usual neoprene offerings I’d used before. I was also hoping they’d last slightly longer than the usual neoprene offerings too, as those only ever seem to last a couple of months before they start disintegrating on you.

They are made from polyester, and coasted with VAUDE’s Eco Finish, which they claim is an environmentally friendly water-repellent finish without fluorocarbons (PFC). Their website claims these are water resistant and then in another paragraph, that they are waterproof. The seams over the shoe and up the leg are all sealed with tape, and I have certainly found the material to be waterproof.

They are very simple to get on an off, featuring what is claimed to be a full length Velcro closure up the back. This is slightly misleading, as while there is a full length of hook fastening behind the reflective trim, there are only four patches of loop fastening on the other side, so there are gaps. The top of the closure features another bit of Velcro, that goes round the back of the leg and stops the main closure from being accidentally opened.

My main criticism would centre around VAUDE’s claim that these have a reinforced tip of soles [sic]. Looking at the images on their website, they certainly look like they have beefier material under the toe. The ones I have, however, do not. As you can see, the spike bolts on my shoes easily wore through the material.

Once the material started to go, it wasn’t long before it failed completely. This happened first to the left gaiter, which is the foot I put down at traffic lights etc. After a few hike-a-bike incidents on clarty byways, the toe of the right gaiter failed complete too.

To be fair to VAUDE though, these don’t appear to be marketed as an off-road cycling product. Although you could argue that wet trekking and bike tours, or Trekking bike + Day-to-day biker, could be construed as encompass some off-road riding. Either way, the bit of material under the toe on the pair I have, was woefully inadequate, even for occasional on-road riding.

Other than under the toe, they’ve lasted fairly well considering the abuse I’ve given them and are still mostly useable. Even without the material under the toe, they mostly stay in place, thanks to the bit of elastic that goes round your shoe. It’s only when you ended up having to drag your bike along a mud bath of a byway that they show their limitations. As they are quite loose fitting, even with all the straps done up, mud and water can find their way up between the material and the shoe. So if you find yourself yomping through ankle deep liquid mud, or ploughing through deep puddles, your still going to get muddy shoes and potentially wet feet. I speak from experience on this one.

Along with the toe box failing, the waterproof coating on the inside is starting to show wear and tear, especially around the heel. This appears to be caused by repeated rubbing against the shoe, rather than bumps and scrapes causing cuts and tears. They still appear to be waterproof though, and most importantly for me, windproof. Due to knee issues, I don’t like wearing full length leg wear, these have been great in keeping the winter chill off, in all but the coldest conditions.

I would certainly consider buying another pair of these gaiters, especially if VAUDE have switched to using a tougher material under the toe. Considering most shorter length neoprene overshoes sell for around the same amount and the full length Spatz overshoes are three times the price, for the level of protection they provide, these could be considered a bargain.

February BaM

February BaM

By seeking and blundering we learn. — von Goethe

I thought the von Goethe quote to be quite apt, as I certainly blundered my way through my first Bivvy a Month trip. I spent the rest of January impatiently waiting for payday, so I could upgrade various bits of equipment and try and put some of the things I’d learned to the test.

I bought some Tannus Armour for my rear wheel, in the hope that it will stem the number of punctures I’ve been getting, especially if I hit another pothole. On strong recommendations from the Bearbones forum, I bought an Exped Downmat Lite to replace my old Ultra-lite Therm-a-rest, it wasn’t comfy twenty five years ago, so I’m not sure why I thought it would be comfy now. Finally I bought a bigger handlebar extension widget, not for fitting my lights to, but to hold the handlebar harness slightly higher, so it didn’t keep rubbing on the front tyre. 

Finally, I had the unexpected expense of buying a new front light, after my cheap Chinese one died when I was about to commute to work a few days before this trip. I was ready to postpone if it didn’t turn up in time, given that Storm Ciara hit on the Sunday, I’m glad it did turn up promptly.

All this expense meant I had no money left over to buy a tarp, or any other form of packable shelter. Wanting a bit more protection from the elements than just my GoreTex bivvy bag, I decided to head to a different nature reserve and another bird hide. This decision was made easier by the nature reserve having a toilet that’s open all the time and a pristine chalk stream, for refilling water bottles.

After a bit of dithering and repeated attempts to pack everything into my bags, I headed off at around a quarter to ten, which was a bit later than planned. I managed to fit a mug, spork, stove, gas canister, aeropress, porridge mix and ground coffee into my bags this time around, but left my Kindle and reading glasses behind. While the handlebar extension meant I could have fitted the front feedbag to the handlebar harness, it would have blocked my new front light, which I couldn’t fit it onto my helmet.

For some reason I’d managed to work myself up into a bit of a palaver before leaving. Lots of negative thoughts about the weather, the underlying conditions on the local bridleways and byways, but mostly of who might already be in the bird hides. Would I get there to find a bunch of yoof in the carpark, off their faces and up to mischief; would they see me and follow me to the hide to create more? It’s interesting how the human mind works and how easily you can talk yourself out of doing things, based on nothing but a few negative thoughts.

Once I’d pushed off from the driveway and started cycling, it was oddly liberating, like I’d been freed from the shackles of negativity. Just me, the noise of the tyres on the tarmac and the occasional crunch of a badly timed gear change. With nothing to focus on, other than the circle of light dancing just out of reach of the front tyre, it was a chance to empty the mind and focus on the repetitive action of turning the cranks and breathing in the night air.

Obviously this state of mild nirvana was shattered as I cruised up the road towards the nature reserve, only to see an occupied car sitting there with its headlights on. As close to the entrance as you could get without blocking it too, cue all the negative thoughts telling me how right they’d been.

I was soon at the hide though, which was a large, old, raised up on stilts affair, that is accessed via a narrow wooden stair. Once I’d managed to squeeze myself and the bike up and into the hide, it became apparent that it would be a somewhat breezy nights sleep, as along with there being no door, you could see the night sky through various gaps and holes in the walls and roof.

I’d brought one luxury with me this trip, a can of Thornbridge Jaipur, which I drank while getting all my sleeping kit out. The beer finished, I was soon changed into my thermals and nicely snuggled up in my sleeping bag. The local wildfowl took this as a sign that they should start honking and quacking like their lives depended on it. The racket continued sporadically throughout the night, from occasional outbursts, to full on mass panic take off and landings. 

The noise of the birds, coupled with other nocturnal crashings and bangings, plus the light pollution, lead to a pretty fitful night’s sleep. Unlike January’s bivvy, where I got colder as the night progressed, with my new Exped Downmat, I was toasty warm all night, even with a cool breeze blowing over my face. After what felt like an ages, it was ten to seven and time to get up and packed, before any twitchers arrived.

I boiled up a mug of water for my porridge mix and then another mug full for making coffee with my Aeropress. I sat eating the porridge, which would have benefited from some cardamom, ginger and nutmeg, and drinking the coffee, while looking out of the hide. Soon enough, it was time to put everything away and head off to use the facilities. 

I stopped for a chat with a photographer, who pointedly told me that he was quietly photographing a barn owl. I carried on, filled both water bottles up from the chalk stream, and wound my way back to the entrance. It turns out that there’s a stand pipe with tap, next to the toilet, so there was no need to dip my bottles into the stream for water; useful to know for the future, if I’m passing.

I followed what I thought were going to be quiet roads to Ashwell, where I wanted to check out a potential bivvy spot for later in the year. I’m glad I did, as it was behind a padlocked gate, that had plenty of barbed wire on top, so I’ll be finding somewhere else to sleep that month. As I was in Ashwell I decided to follow the Icknield Way riders route home. This was a chance to check out bits of bridleway and byway that are new to me, while the bike was fully loaded.

I didn’t quite stick to the exact route all the way home. I’d made a slight error with the GPX file, which saw my GPS trying to route me through a hedge and across the middle of a random field. The route also crossed a barren tilled field, which I didn’t fancy cycling across after all the recent rain, so I took a small diversion and bypassed it. I should also have bypassed part of the old Roman Road just outside Balsham. It was a total mud bath and I ended up dragging the bike for nearly a mile, as the mud was so thick, it stopped the wheels from turning.

Things I Learned 

Don’t let negative thoughts stop you.

If you plan to sleep in a bird hide, pick one that is as far away from the birds as you can get.

Porridge without spices is Bland, with a capital B, pimp your breakfast.

It’s really good to check out potential bivvy spots properly, if you have the chance.

Check your planned route for errors, it’s not hard to cross check against services like RoW Maps.

Cheap Chinese handlebar extensions that are meant for holding lights and GPS units, are not very strong. While it did hold the handlebar harness up for most of the trip, it failed when I tried to shift all the accumulated mud, by lifting and dropping the bike. I’ll have to investigate some heavier duty options, maybe even tri bar extensions like you see in ultra-endurance races.

It’s not a race, no one is checking your GPS trail for conformity, it’s fine to detour around stuff you think will result in type three fun.

Seriously, there’s no need to drag your bike along a mud bath of a byway just because that’s where your GPS tells you to go…

January BaM

Bird hide

As part of my desire for more adventures, I’ve decided to take part in the bikepacking Bivvy a Month challenge. In a similar vein to things like Run every Day, the clue is in the name, once a month, get out there on your bike and spend the night outside. The rules, as they are, are as follows:

  1. At least one night out during every calendar month … feel free to start any month you like, just as long as you tot up 12 consecutive months,
  2. A single trip taking in both the last night of one month and the first of the next, will count as two months if you wish – but you still need 2 nights out, just that they’ll be combined within a single trip.
  3. No paid for accommodation inc’ campsites or hostels. Bothies are okay.
  4. A bike must be involved – it’s bikepacking, the clue’s in the name … ‘Involved’? You really don’t need me to spell it out do you?
  5. Your own garden doesn’t count, although next door’s does … if you really must.

As I alluded to in my previous post, the only way to work out what equipment you need, is to get out there and get some experience. Then and only then, can you work out what works and what doesn’t. So I dug out some of my old mountaineering kit from the loft, namely my Gore-Tex bivvy bag, Thermarest and Rab down sleeping bag, then bought some bikepacking bags from Restrap to put them all in.

You can easily spend all your time preparing, accumulating more and more equipment under the false pretence that if you only had that other thing, then you’d be guaranteed success. At some point though, if you actually want to go on an adventure, you have to pack your bags and head out the door. On Friday night, at ten past ten, I headed out the door, into the unknown.

I’d picked an on-road route to the spot I’d picked for my first bivvy. While it would have been quicker and more direct to utilise some of the local bridleways and byways, I’d been suffering from a spate of rear wheel punctures, so thought that staying on-road, would be less risky. The spot I’d picked did require a short walk down a country footpath and then over a field. So it was with much anguish I felt my rear tyre deflate just as I was arriving at the point where the hike-a-bike was about to start.

Rather than fixing the puncture there and then, I decided to get to the bivvy spot and get set-up. I would then be able to fix the puncture immediately, or leave it till morning. I should have had a look at my potential bivvy spot during the day though, as in the pitch black, without using my head torch, I walked passed it, twice. I knew roughly where it was, I’ve cycled in the general vicinity many times before, I’ve just never gone to have a look at the actual site.

I decided not to use my head torch while walking across the field, as it turned out there was at least one abode that was much closer than I was expecting. So I ended up walking in slightly the wrong direction, following what I thought was a track that would lead me to the site. I knew something wasn’t quite right when I go to the other end of the field and a tarmac road. I could also see some flashing red lights on the other side of the road, which I decided not to investigate.

I backtracked across the field again, trying to stay close to the edge, as I knew this should take me to the site. I couldn’t follow the edge of the field for long though, as there was a fenced off section that forced me out into the middle. I still didn’t want to use my torch, as I could clearly see some sort of structure that was light up quite brightly. I wasn’t sure if this was a house, or someone else at the bivvy site. It was at this point I decided to stop aimlessly wandering around a field in the dark and head for Plan B, one of the bird hides at Wicken Fen. I still had to fix my puncture though, so headed to some picnic tables I’d seen about a mile away. I whipped the inner tube out of the rear tyre, but couldn’t find any holes, so swapped it for my spare and headed off into the night again.

I arrived at the bird hide without further incident and quickly got myself inside and set up. Off came the cycling kit, on went some old thermals, then into the sleeping bag. I’d decided to take a couple of luxuries with me on this trip, so read my Kindle for a bit while drinking a can of Thornbridge Jaipur. Eventually, I put everything away and tried to get some sleep.

It was surprisingly bright inside the hide, as none of the widows had any shutters, so all the light pollution from the local towns and villages seeped in. I must have slept, as I jerked awake a number of times, although it mostly felt like I just lay there, staring at the ceiling. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore, my feet were cold and the rest of me wasn’t much warmer, so I got up. I wasn’t sure what the time was, as the light level didn’t look like it had changed, when I checked my phone it turned out to be ten to seven.

The two main points of anxiety for me on this trip, were having enough water in the morning and access to a toilet. The reason I picked the original bivvy spot, was due to it having a composting toilet, the bird hide had no such luxury. Thankfully, the main toilet block next to the car park at Wicken Fen was open, I’m not sure what I would have done otherwise.  As I didn’t take my stove with me, it turned out I had plenty of water, which is just as well, as the cafe at Wicken Fen is being extended, so the outside tap wasn’t there.

Rather than heading straight home, the plan was to follow quieter back roads to Phoenix Cycleworks, have a coffee and some cake, then head home. Rather than cycling along the busy main road between Wicken and Soham, I decided to go off road. The fens are still waterlogged and while parts weren’t too bad, some parts were barely ridable, with the rear wheel spinning madly in the slop. One section was being sanitised, with two thirds of the width under a load of un-cyclable rubble, while the other third was ankle deep liquid mud.

Thankfully the rear wheel stayed inflated and I eventually rolled into Phoenix Cycleworks for my coffee, which hit the spot. Then it was simply a case of riding home around a load of the local villages so that my completed distance was just over a hundred kilometres. Thirteen hours, twenty six minutes after I left, I rolled back up the driveway and switched the cycle computer off, my first overnight adventure of the year completed.

Things I Learned

If you have a planned bivvy spot, it’s wise to also have a backup. I went back a few days later to find the spot I’d been aiming for, and to see where I’d gone wrong. It turns out that what I thought was a house, was the bivvy site I’d planned on using. So it must have occupied by a group, so it’s just as well I went to my backup of a hide.

I really need to investigate some tyre protection for the rear wheel. The number of punctures recently has been ridiculous.

One thing that kept annoying me during this trip, was the handlebar harness rubbing against my front tyre. I need some way of lifting it slightly higher, which might mean I can also fit the feed bag.

I need a better sleeping mat. I didn’t find my Ultralite Thermarest comfy twenty five years ago when I used to take it mountaineering.

It would be nice to have something hot before setting out. A coffee at a minimum, maybe some porridge, just something to warm the insides.

Wanderlust

Roman Road

Late last year, I bought a new bike, I’d cracked the frame on my fat bike in May and had been without a bike over the summer. Wanting to get out on some adventures, both long and short, I decided to buy a gravel bike, rather than another fat bike, or mountain bike. The vast majority of the riding I do, is straight from the house, linking sections of bridleway and byway, with large swaths of tarmac. While the fat bike was loads of fun on bridleways and byways, it wasn’t much fun on tarmac. I wanted something that would hopefully be just as capable on the local trails, but much faster on the roads linking them up.

While I’m generally happy in my comfort zone, I have a constant nagging wanderlust, to be outside somewhere everyone else isn’t. To be pushing myself to exhaustion in some remote location, just for the sake of being there, to revel in the wonder of nature. All the shocking weather, sore limbs, punctures, mechanicals, and other things that see you screaming into the uncaring void in frustration, are forgotten by a stunning sunrise on a misty frosty winter morning, or cycling alongside a hunting barn owl, or the view from the top of a windswept Cretan mountain, you get the idea.

It’s much easier to remain in the comfort zone though, nice and warm and secure. It takes courage to put yourself out there, to be vulnerable and exposed, but the rewards are worth it, more than worth it. Not just in terms of having those adventures, it’s good for your self confidence, your self reliance, your mental health. For me, fresh air and exercise is the magic cure all pill, one that’s most satisfying when taken alone.

Rather than buying my new bike, then just using it to cycle on my own locally, I decided to challenge myself to have bigger adventures, to go further afield, and to join it with other people. I signed up to The Dirty Reiver, a 200km mass participation gravel ride around Kielder Forest, then I signed up to the Frontier 300, a 300km mass participation coast to coast multi-surface ride. I also decided to attempt some multi-day bikepacking adventures, and take part in bivvy a month.

These will be the first proper adventures I’ve undertaken in years. The first organised, mass participation, events I’ve taken part in since I used to race Triathlon in the mid-noughties. The first self supported multi-day outings since the early Nineties when I used to go for days Munro bagging in the Scottish mountains.

If I’m being brutally honest, I have no idea if I can accomplish some of what I’m setting out to attempt. While I don’t necessarily have the right equipment, or experience, if I don’t leave the house and attempt them, I’ll never know if I’m capable. Nor will I ever accumulate the experience to enable me to gather the right equipment. It’s only through failure that you learn how to succeed; learning which road to take, what equipment works, these things can only be learned by doing. It’s time to start doing.

Singapore Tourist Pass

The Singapore Tourist Pass, is a travel pass that allows for unlimited travel (with restrictions), on basic buses, MRT and LRT trains. The pass comes with one, two, or three day durations, and has a refundable S$10 deposit. On paper, it looks like a great option, however, it’s maybe not as good a deal as it first looks.

The first issue, is that the duration starts from the moment you use the card. So if you arrive in the evening and only travel to your hotel, you’ve used up the first day on the card. Our stop on the MRT was only S$2.50 each, so it made no sense to buy the pass on the evening we arrived.

The second issue, is that it’s very easy to not utilise the card to its full potential, especially if spend the entire day at somewhere like the Bontanic Gardens, Sentosa or the Zoo complex. On the day we went to the Zoo complex, we got the MRT to Khatib, then the Mandai Khatib Shuttle to the zoo; we then reversed that on the way back to the hotel. Even though the Tourist Pass is an ez-link card and you can pay for the Mandai Khatib Shuttle with an ez-link card, the Tourist Pass only covers you for basic buses, so you have to pay. This is unfortunate, as the normal buses take twice as long to get to the Zoo complex, although they are quieter and you’re ,more likely to get a seat.

One useful feature of the card though, is that you can top it up like a normal ez-link card and then use it as such. We didn’t realise that you’re supposed to top it up at one of the special Tourist Pass stations, not at the machines in the stations. We found this to be the cheapest method of using the card, as on the day we were hunting souvenirs in Little India, Arab Street and Chinatown, we barely used S$5 worth of MRT journeys. We also found that we were refunded our outstanding balance, which I’m not sure would happen if you top up at the Tourist Pass kiosk.

If I was doing it all again, I’d probably just use one of my contactless cards, rather than renting one of these.

Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre

Our last day in Singapore, saw us tramping around buying souvenirs. Little India, for the Tekka Centre; fancy trousers, a Black Panther shirt, and incense. Arab Street, for pashminas, and bracelets. Chinatown, for a silk dressing gown, t-shirts, and dinner.

After being slightly disappointed by a lunchtime visit to the Hong Lim Complex Food Centre a few days before, we thought we’d try the food centre at the Chinatown Complex. What an experience, the place is absolutely massive!

Split into four distinct areas, each with their own coloured tables, it’s a veritable rabbit warren of corridors and cubby holes. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you pop down another corridor, only to find yourself in another huge area, with a huge choice to match.

As a non-local, I’m not sure how you’re supposed to choose between five, six, seven, or more stalls, all selling the same thing. In one case though, it’s easy, as there is one stall that is listed in the Michelin Guide, it also has a queue to match.

While my wife was queuing to try the Michelin rated dumplings, l was to sort out the kids and get the beer in. In a shock departure from their usual staple of chicken rice, the kids both decided to try some chicken satay. After their skewers had been served, we wandered to another area, with what appeared to be the only open vegetarian stall in the whole place.

With the kids settled, it was off to find same drinks. Weirdly, it took ages to find some bandung, a ridiculously sweet opaque pink concoction, which the kids had requested. This saw me in bits of the centre we hadn’t been into yet, which lead to me finding two different craft beer outlets. The first was selling beer brewed in Singapore, the second selling beer imported from Hong-Kong, the UK and the US, featuring Fourpure and Magic Rock, amongst other familiar names.

The imported beer was eye wateringly expensive, at around S$14 for a glass depending on where it was from. The local beer was far more reasonable at around S$8 a glass. Compare this with the bar in the Golden Mile Food Centre, which was selling imported US IPA for around S$8 – 10 per glass. So I bought the local beer, as I can get Fourpure and Magic Rock back home. The other reason for buying local, was the cluster of loud white Westerners by the expensive beer stall.

With the drinks bought, it was back to the kids to see how they were doing, then it off to the veggie stall to buy my dinner. Disaster, they’d switched their light off, meaning they were closed; the chef eating dinner with his wife and child. The look of distress and disappointment on my face must have struck a chord, as he stopped eating his dinner and offered to cook me mine. I’m not sure I’ve ever said thank you, to someone as much as I did this gentleman.

While my dinner was being cooked, my wife finally turned up with her dumplings; evidently they were worth the wait. She also enjoyed the beer, so everyone was happy. I’d definitely recommend eating here, rather than one of the plethora of over priced tourist restaurants outside.

Gaylang Serai Market

Having already visited Haig Road Food Centre for putu piring, we wanted to try it again before we left Singapore. We also wanted to try and find the actual stall that was featured in the Singapore episode of Street Food. I watched the start of the episode again, and after a quick google, found that we only needed to walk about 400m passed Haig Road Food Center to find it.

Gaylang Serai Market, is evidently one of the biggest and busiest wet markets in Singapore. It also sports a small hawker centre on the first floor, along with a Muslim clothing market. Tucked into the bottom left corner of the ground floor, is a Mr Teh Tarik Eating House, which is just a slightly posher mini hawker centre, but most importantly, contains the Haig Road Putu Piring stall that we were after.

The kids opted for chicken rice, as per usual. My wife went for some tofu goreng, which was described as “the best thing I’ve eaten so far”. While I finally found some chempedak goreng, basically deep fried battered jackfruit, which I had with ubi kayu, which turned out to be cassava chips.

Once the main course was out the way, it was time for more putu piring. It was just as good as the first time we had it, and we all finished the contents of our Styrofoam plates. We discussed how we would try and replicate these at home, or if it was even possible to do so.

After finishing our food, we went for a wander through the rest of the market. The clothing wasn’t really of any use to us, and a lot of the wet market had shut up shop. There was plenty of dried fish bits though, if that’s your thing. I found some coffee beans, and bought some from Indonesia and some from Bali.

Keng Eng Kee Seafood

Keng Eng Kee Seafood, or just KEK Seafood for short, was another establishment featured in the Singapore episode of Street Food. As a vegetarian, I knew I’d struggle to find anything to eat, but my wife and son wanted to try the chilli crab.

To be fair, they bent over backwards to accommodate me, offering to cook me something vegetarian. The caveat though, was it would be cooked on all the same equipment as the meat and fish. When given the option in these scenarios, I generally decline.

I did ask if there were any veggie places nearby, but was told there was just a shop selling bread and milk. What they didn’t tell me, however, was the fact that Alexandra Village Food Centre, a hawker centre, was just around the corner too. To be honest though, we didn’t explore the hawker centre, so I have no idea if there were any veggie stalls or not.

So how did the family get on at KEK Seafood? It was busy, very busy. We were asked if we had a reservation, which we didn’t, so we were sat out on the street, in the overspill area. The chilli crab is priced by weight, the one my wife and son shared was $72, or about £42. It was also very messy to break up and eat, with my wife struggling to hold the shell crackers and the hot crab at the same time.

We’re glad we went, but I doubt we’d go back. Our daughter isn’t adventurous, and I’m a veggie, so it was always going to be a stretch.

The Long Bar, Raffles Hotel

Fifteen years ago, after tramping around Singapore for the day, my wife and I flopped in to chairs on the Long Bar veranda. We sipped our Singapore slings and threw monkey nut shells on the floor. Since then, we’ve had two kids, while Raffles has had two renovations.

These days you’re no longer allowed to sit on the veranda. Instead, you’ll most likely find yourself queuing on it, with a load of other tourists. Our wait wasn’t so bad, at somewhere between five and ten minutes. The wait when we left looked a lot longer.

Yes, it’s a tourist trap. Yes, it’s eye wateringly expensive; at $33 a sling. Yes, you have to do it; suck up the wait and the expense.

Tho kids absolutely loved it, especially the massive bag of nuts and throwing the shells on the ground. My wife and I loved it, as it took us right back to our honeymoon. It was fabulous.

Haig Road Market & Food Center

Haig Road might not mean anything to you, unless you have a Netflix subscription. Those of you who have watched the Singapore episode of Street Food however, will know exactly why we’re here.

First we needed some proper lunch though. The kids went with chicken rice, for a change. While my wife and I wandered around for a bit till we found a vegetarian stall. One of those ones that has lots of unidentifiable bits and bob’s, that look suspiciously like meat.

I asked for a dish with noodles, veg and tofu, and got a plate of noodles, veg and tofu. My wife’s dumpling noodle soup was, “the best thing I’ve eaten so far”, you win some you loose some.

We weren’t here for anything other than the putu piring though. It’s a steamed rice flour, sweet snack, filled with palm sugar, and served with pandan leaf and shredded coconut. It’s also as good as you imagine it to be.

There’s a dryness and coarseness to the steamed rice flour. This is perfectly offset by the moistness of the freshly shredded coconut, and all tied together by the sweetness of the sugar. The portion size was perfect, I wouldn’t have wanted the eat anymore.

The market and food centre might be a bit of a trek from the usual tourist spots. If you remotely identify as a foodie though, then it’s well worth the journey to try the putu piring.