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Boat Quay

July 13, 2011

The centre of Old Singapore, aside from the Colonial District, is Boat Quay (Key).

Immigrant Chinese landed on this bend of the river as it resembled the belly of a carp – and as everyone knows (NOT!) a carp belly is good luck.  In the case of Singapore, it was.  By the 1860’s, three quarters of the trade in and out of Singapore shuttled through Boat Quay.

Nowadays, Boat Quay bears a close resemblance to Duval.


Gift shops and places of libation abound.

Tiger Beer is a Singapore specialty.

The backside of Boat Quay could teach Duval street a lesson or two:

This was a Boat Quay alleyway on a Sunday morning – only hours after revelers would have left.  Anyone familiar with Telegraph Lane in Key West knows this is surgically clean by comparison.

In Key West, we have hawkers selling $5 T-shirts from the top of their lungs (“Five Dolla!  Ever’ting Five Dolla!”); Boat Quay has their own version – touts.  These are people who stand in the middle of the sidewalk at every restaurant, offering the deal of a lifetime on their meals – usually free beer and wine.

I can tell you these folks were much more obnoxious than the Five Dolla guys.

We toured Boat Quay early so as to minimise exposure to the dread touts.

Menus were displayed in the Asian fashion – large photos which resemble the final dish not at all. The specialty of every restaurant on Boat Quay was chili crab.  For the discerning palate – one may pick their meal first hand.

They have a unique way of expressing things here:

I’m guessing – just guessing, mind you – that referring to this as a non-veg platter leaves protein source wide-frickin’ open for the chef.

All joking aside – it was flat out awesome to linger on the banks of the Singapore River at Boat Quay.

No – it wasn’t Duval, but it was spectacular just the same – a chunk of living history amidst the steel and glass modernity of this great city.

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