Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sch. Holiday Treats: Exploring Little India....

The school holidays has hit again and its another 1.5 months of "mommy, I'm bored" chanting that I'll be hearing very often. So yesterday, we went to explore Little India!

It may sound strange but I've never really walked about Little India before. We usually just hit directly to Mustafa, shop and get out without walking the streets and little shops about. And walking about Little India was interesting!

We have a direct bus that goes right from our doorstep right to Little India so it was mighty convenient for us. Everyone got dressed and we head out. Literally door to door!

When we reached, we strolled along the shops and then made our way to find food! There were many eateries around and I really didn't know where or what to go to so I made the easiest choice that I was sure was at least somewhat Kid friendly and air-conditioned.

Komala's Restaurant! So this place is like the Indian equivalent of McDonalds? Somewhat eh?... the girls took picture with the Komala Mascot that stood outside the main door. Then we went in and placed our orders. Price wise.. also like McD. Pricey! Plus CARBO OVERLOAD ARHHH!!!

I chose the adult sized Masala Thosai set which cost $6.40 which came with a Vadai - that round thing that looks like a donut. It was really crispy and hot too! Nice! and an Idly which is a steamed white thing that is similar to a pancake. One plate of PLAIN CARB. Wahahahah! My mind was screaming but I was still smiling and stuffing my face. Bwuhahahaa! This set came with a drink too.

I burst open the Thosai and revealed the Potato Masala filling. Whoa!! More carbs!! Num num num num... and the 3 different err... sauces? One... something curryish/tomatoish, one yogurt and one mint. I didn't like the mint one.

Then it came with a container of curry which is refillable for free if you need more at the counter. The girls both chose a Prata set which cost $4.60. This was under the student meal plan and had about 3-4 choices of food to choose from that included fries, a drink and an ice-cream. Not bad lah! The ice-cream also was quite unique.. apparently specially made for Komalas in little ice-cream cups bc it tasted different too!

In addition to the fries that were already included their student sets, I ordered another set of Large Fries and they sprinkled curry powder on it. Yummy! Must remember to ask them to sprinkle more powder next time and it was chunky, hot and crispy too. Shiokadoodles!!!! The large fries cost $3.90.

And I couldn't resist taking in another side dish of a Veggie Samosa. A serving consisted of 2 large samosas.. around the size of my palm and cost $2.20. Not bad lah! This one I considered quite reasonable. But we were so full with everything, we couldn't even touch the samosas at the end so we packed it up and brought it home for CJ. Heh heh!

Do note though that you would also be charged for GST which is not included in the listed price. So GST for us came up to be $1.50 bringing our grand total for this meal at $23.20.

We left Komalas with 2 fully loaded children and a "6 month pregnant" looking me. Super bloated larh!!

We then hit the shops, weaving in and out, found a spice shop and went in to sniff and point at the different spices. Bought kids sunglasses for $1 each. So cheap for such style - how to resist! Heh heh!

And we even walked into a temple to check it out! We were across the street and noticed the temple. I have NEVER been inside a temple before, what more my kids so we all crossed over. Took off our shoes. And very respectfully stepped into the temple only to be greeted with REALLY REALLY loud drumming.

Whoa!! Shocked us and everyone grabbed each other in fright. Hahah! Then we slowly walked about and stood here and there watching people do their prayers and get their blessings. It was surely a learning experience for my girls as they looked about the temple and see the various statues, prayer items, worshippers, the prayer leaders in their semi-nakedness and accessories and all the candles, colours and smells every where.

We left after about 5-7 minutes after taking a look about and quietly left at the front door. Shuffled to put on our shoes and scooted right out the gate to check out more stores. Phew!

We stopped at a stall preparing and cooking chapatti, which is a flat bread eaten with curry/meats and the girls were so amused at how it cooked bc it puffed up like a balloon on the stove! It was so intruiging we stood there staring at them for at least 10 minutes. Hahahaha!

We went past a vegetable stall and stopped to check out and name the various types of vegetables. We could name about up to 80% of them as typical vegetables but we found some that I had no idea what they were. Lauren was pointing to a small vegetables saying "whats that?" and the stall attendant came up to us and said "Indian Cucumber!" and then proceeded to show us the other vegetables that we weren't familiar with. Like.. BANANA FLOWERS!

It as like a BIG ALIEN POD and it even opened up like one too and inside were pretty yellow florets! He opened up a pod and let us have a sniff and said "Banana Flower"! I asked.. "so how to cook?" "Fried" I think he said... interesting.. I'll have to look for a recipe for that and see how its done.

Then went past Ananda Bhavan Restaurant and peeked in.. whoa!! Indian sweet meats aka desserts! Trays and trays of them! At least 20 differnt kinds on display. We hurried in and went OOOOOHHH.. AHHHHH.... WHOOOOO.... at all the pretty desserts and made our selection.

Once again, I'd have to say I never ate these before so I really didn't know what to choose so we chose these.

If my memory serves me correctly, and if any reader knows if I've made a mistake naming these, please let me know.

The orange heartshape one is called Basan Cake, $0.90 each, which was a really diabetically sweet, somewhat coconutty in taste and I assume would be saffron infused. This one we cut into 1cm slivers to try out bc it was SO SWEET!

The Brown pudding like round cake is called ...err okay no name but it was Special Something, $1.00 each and it tasted like ginger pudding. It had a brown cake-pudding covering and inside was a light golden filling that had cashews and raisins and was sitting in some golden syrup in its cupcake holder. I quite liked this one. Not bad.

That Orange Spirally thing came individually in a plastic bag on its own and is called Jelabi, $0.90 each and urgh! I hated it. I'm not sure if its sweet or oily or whatever, it had a somewhat crisp outside but squishy insides that oozed out when u bit into it and URGH!! gross.. I won't ever eat this again.

The White Ball is called Nei Urundai, $0.80 each and was basically a milk ball which EVERYONE loved. Its similar to a filipino dessert called Polvoron which is flour, milk powder and sugar packed into little oval shaped. Nice one.. we'll have more of this next time.

The Pink Square is called Coconut Burfi, $0.80 each which is sugared coconut square. Similar to the Thai Coconut square desserts. Nice too.. dry and coconutty with some rose essence.

The Orange Square is called Orissa Halwa, $1.20 each which was like some kind of jellied cake with pistachios inside. I didn't like this one either bc it tasted like some really badly done Agar Agar. It was sweet but mushy. Not a future choice.

Overall, it was a pleasant and interesting experience.. we'd go back again before the school holidays are over to eat more, shop more and do more.. :)

Oh and at the end of it all, girls being girls, we left with 3 sets of 24 coloured bangles for $5. Very pretty but very fragile bangles. I'd recommend next time to get the metal ones as these I hoped were plastic but are actually glass. And one day later, we already have 6 of them broken because we dropped or stepped on them. Eirian can't get enough of them because they're just too pretty and makes these cling-clang sounds when she wears them...

So thats it for exploring Little India.. if you haven't done it before or gone in a while or are thinking of what to do with your kids this holiday. This can be one trip that might be a good choice. Enjoy!!


Neelum said...

Hey that was a pretty interesting trip you made to Little India. Like you I too have not really walked around the area although I am an Indian (from India though). Well let me take this opportunity to tell you a few things that you did not know. Food: The fried round thing like a donut is called 'vadai' and is made of lentils and some chili, onion, ginger etc. The white one like a pancake is called 'idly' and is made out of rice and lentil paste. It is steamed so we consider it quite light (compared to the other forms of carbs that our diet has). The bangles are super cute. Originally we would wear only glass bangles, the metal ones are around since only the last 10-15 years. The bangles are significant to a married lady. We (people from the central western part of India, like Mumbai) will wear green glass bangles during our wedding and after that also. Although we can wear other colors too, but green is auspicious.
The loud drums at the temple is very typical of a South Indian temple, it scares me too !! The temples from my part of India are quieter!!
Love reading your blog, and now I know more about you than just Pamela who sends me emails about berriwerks movie events. Though I must tell you that I miss them dearly since we moved to KL last year. But God willing we'll be back in SG in a couple of years.

Aka Pamela S. said...

Hey Neelum, thanks for the edit! I've changed the names.. whats the difference between a Bergadel and a Vadai?

Ooohhh green means auspicious? So next time we go, we'll get something green too heh heh!

When you come back to Singapore, we hope to see you again! Its parents like yourselves who have supported us through the years that we have managed to bring them to you again and again.

Thanks for reading. :)

Neelum said...

I am glad my inputs were of some help to you. As far I know, a vadai is pure vegetarian and is a deep fried lump of (lentils, onion, ginger, green chili, salt, black pepper) and a Bergedel has no lentil paste involved, it could be a veg or a non-veg dish. A vadai is Indian where as the Bergedel is not.
I am dyingggggggg to come back and take my son again for his movie outings. May make a short trip next month end, if you have some event at that time, do let me know.
Will keep reading !!

Aka Pamela S. said...

Yeah.. sometimes the events are normal and sometimes it can get really SPECTACULAR like this weekend. We have fire blowing!! Whooot!!!!

Thanks for the input on the food & bangles.. I learn something new each time! :)