HCMC Dining Guide

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I was in Singapore this past weekend for Laneway, a music festival which features indie rock and electronic acts from around the world. This was my fourth visit to Singapore, though I hadn't been in a few years - I've always enjoyed my time there, as the well-ordered efficiency, normal traffic and amazing public transportation make for a great escape from the unhinged chaos of urban Vietnam.

The one-day festival took place on Saturday, and I went with Natasha and another couple that we are friends with. We stayed in Geylang, a neighborhood I've stayed in a couple of times and am a big fan of. It isn't as sanitized and over-developed as the downtown area, so there is still a fair amount of street life. It is also a prominent red light district (this has nothing to do with me liking it), with sex shops on many blocks and prostitutes working 24-hours. (Oddly enough prostitution is legal in Singapore, and we saw women getting customers at 9 am.) Anyway, the primary reason I love Geylang is the food - cheap Indian and Chinese places are all over the place. To whit, the chicken and cheese murtabak pictured below.
We headed to the festival, which was being held near the Gardens by the Bay behind the incredible Marina Bay Sands, around mid-day. The festival site was small and orderly - it was also brutally hot whenever the sun came out, despite a forecast of 90% chance of thunderstorms. Sweating and sunburn quickly ensued; fortunately it became more cloudy as the afternoon progressed. The festival was fantastic, and the fact that the two main stages were right next to each other meant you barely had to move in order to see almost every act. The lineup included the likes of Big Scary, Battles, Chvrches, Grimes, Beach House and Hermitude - an eclectic mix of acts who put on very good shows.

We returned to Geylang around midnight, sun-weary and hungry. The sidewalks were buzzing with late-night commerce - second-hand electronics, shoes and clothes were for sale, while a crowd of men watched a football match on a wall-mounted TV. I feasted on some Chinese dumplings before passing out. The following morning we pigged out on dim sum before heading to the airport. Changi is consistently ranked as the best airport in the world, and these Star Wars decorations show why.
A few hours later we were back in Saigon, careening through traffic in a taxi like normal.
One more shot of the Marina Bay Sands.

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