Chinese New Year – Take 2

From Chinatown to Marina Bay, the old to new. One a maze of little streets crammed with stalls, the other played out to the backdrop of sky-scraping glass that twinkled as the night fell. Both full of people and lights and colour, one just a whole lot shinier and sleeker than the other.

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Down at Marina Bay, on what is usually a floating football field, was a huge display of lights and figures, above which pranced two tightrope walkers in natty silk suits. Whereas the soundtrack in Chinatown was voices selling wares over microphones, at Marina Bay music blared from a stage, crescendoing at appropriate moments in the tightrope walking routine.

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For obvious reasons, Chinese food was on the menu last night, specifically, as someone at the Fullerton Hotel told us, a buffet. Sure, there were other restaurants around that were open (not many) but from what we could infer it seemed most open restaurants were partaking in a buffet, and so we followed suit.

Perhaps, after living in Germany long enough, I will be able to one day nail the art of the buffet. When I moved to Germany I had to completely rejig my thoughts on buffets (negative ones) because buffets, particularly of the breakfast kind, are somewhat inescapable in Germany. As it stands, I still do weird things with the first plate, wasting a perfectly good round. Last night I filled a plate with mixed leaves and for some God forsaken reason Caesar Salad dressing. And not just Caesar Salad dressing, but revolting amounts. I recovered, thankfully, in time to put my second plate to good use – buttery Roti and a black lentil Indian dish. Superb. I also nailed the dessert part of things. But that first plate weighed heavily on my mind. Buffets do that to you. You spend the whole digestion time thinking, ‘could I have done better?’

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I think the key is, when Indian food is on offer, skip the bloody salad table.