5.3.11 Lounge Lizard

Congee 790 xxx
iphotos by gluttonforlife
After 18+ hours in the air—all of them spent comfortably reclined in my most excellent Singapore Airlines business class cubby—I am now ensconced in the business class lounge at the Singapore Airport, availing myself of the copious complimentary amenities. Chief among them is the extensive international breakfast buffet, a somewhat more subdued version of the lavish spread found in most Asian hotels. Lest they fail to please every last guest, these dining rooms offer an international round-up of every conceivable breakfast fodder—and I'm talking pancakes, waffles, gelato and brioche, omelettes and eggs every which way, crepes, full-on English fry-ups with kippers and sausage and tomatoes, croissants and muffins of every stripe, groaning platters of tropical fruit, miso soup, Vietnamese pho, Chinese dim sum and congee, Indonesian fried rice, hoppers, porridge, muesli, and that's not all. When I stayed at the Conrad Hotel in Bangkok with my friend Lisa, we tried desperately to monitor our intake every morning but inevitably trudged out for a day of sightseeing, shopping and more eating with already pronounced potbellies. To wit, I landed here at 5am, it's now 7, and I've already been to the buffet twice.
Although the vegetarian meals I was served on my Singapore Airlines flight weren't half bad, they were largely centered around glutinous things like couscous and pasta which I am currently avoiding, so I was relieved to find lots of gluten-free options at the lounge buffet. Not to mention a host of thrilling Asian condiments, like XO sauce, fried shallots and a spicy grated coconut with kaffir lime. I had a soothing bowl of congee with shreds of duck meat, scallions and a drizzle of soy. Then I gobbled up a couple of steamed rice cakes with addictively salty-savory preserved radish. The shrimp dumplings were sweet and light, and the steamed roast pork buns deliciously chewy (and full of gluten).
Dimsum 790 xxx
large bamboo steamer baskets are set out on the buffet
Char siu bao 790 xxx
the char siu bao (steamed pork buns) were a popular choice
Noodles 790 xxx
these indonesian-style noodles were topped with roast pork and abalone
Crepes and frittatas 790 xxx
eggs wrapped in crepes and cooked in frittatas
Sandwiches 790 xxx
these crustless sandwiches, wrapped to go, typify another type of asian aesthetic
Bircher muesli 790 xxx
bircher muesli, a ubiquitous Swiss granola steeped in cream or yogurt
Fruit 790 xxx
beautifully fresh tropical fruits are a given in Asia
So, as you can see, I've hit the ground running. Can't wait to put my arms around my poor wounded husband and share with him the bounty of this beautiful part of the world.


Meanwhile, we are in the transit lounge in Bogotá, Colombia, on our way to Madrid, with nothing to eat, but lots of police searching carry-ons (plus pat-down searches for one and all), sniffer dogs, security folks in orange vests, and a feeling of high alert - it's all about drugs, I suppose... We're hoping for a meal on-board...
judy blankenship on May 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm —
Buen viaje, Judy & Michael!!
laura on May 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm —
That bircher muesli is a sorry sight. I make it every morning, with an assortment of fresh fruit, coconut shaving, slivered almonds, etc, after being inspired at a Swiss berghotel in the Lötschental. It takes it name from a certain Herr Doktor Bircher who popularized it as a food "cure." Dr Bircher explained, with great emphasis, that his muesli is not a cereal dish, but a fruit dish. He strictly recommended not more than one tablespoon of oats, with one ground apple. There are many alternative versions of muesli that he recommended, mainly by rotation of the fruit, and the nut garnish.
Vetivresse on May 5, 2011 at 8:21 am —
I'll do a more extended post on Bircher muesli when I get home--seems like there are lots of possibilities. Do you use cream or yogurt?
laura on May 5, 2011 at 9:14 am —
Some of the dishes look amazing. Im a big fan of din sum. Wish Edinburgh had a really good place where I could satisfy my cravings. Im a physical therapist so my heart goes out to G. So painful, he has a long process of rehab in front of him. Ruthie
www.thetwicebitten.blogspot.com on May 5, 2011 at 10:30 am —
I use low- or nonfat yogurt, but it is heavenly with fresh raspberries, blue- or blackberries and a dollop of unsweetened Schlag. That is how I remember it served at Confiserie-Sprüngli in Zurich.
Vetivresse on May 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm —
Thanks for writing, Ruthie. You may have to visit New York for some great dim sum. At the moment, we're restricted to hotel food, which is going to get old fast...
laura on May 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm —
Sounds wonderful, though I'm not such a fan of low- or non-fat yogurt. I'm assuming Greek yogurt is too thick to be ideal...
laura on May 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm —