Other tips: #1 to #5 | #6 to #12 | #13 to #18 | #19 to #25
#13: Cruisin’ for a boozin’
Drinking alone is often frowned upon, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Curling up in your apartment and guzzling down a bunch of beers is one option, but can get boring – and expensive – so go the cheaper route and take a tour of the brewery. Meet at the Asia Pacific Brewery and get a brief history of Tiger Beer (snore… just remind yourself the booze is on its way) before indulging in the ‘sights, sounds and smells of beer in the making’ (who knew it was so multidimensional?). The good bit comes at the end, when you visit the Tiger Tavern and unlimited sampling takes place.
When: Mon-Fri; 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 4pm and 5pm. By appointment
Cost: $16 per tour.
Where: Asia Pacific Brewery (459 Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim; Tel: 6860 3005, www.apb.com.sg)
#14: Cooking for one
There needs to be a middle ground between TV dinners and cooking for a fancy soirée. Time Out Singapore reviewer Christopher Tan, the author of several cookbooks and a teacher at Shermay’s Cooking School (www.shermay.com), stresses how important it is not to sacrifice a fantastic meal because of a lack of dinner guests.
‘There is really no cuisine that cannot be plumbed for simple one-person dishes,’ Tan says. ‘Everyone thinks of Peranakan cuisine as being laborious and time-consuming, but in fact it has many simple dishes that can be made for one person. “Tempra” dishes take a few minutes to stir-fry with just a handful of aromatics, like lemongrass, lime leaves, chilli, soy sauce and lime juice, all of which can be bought in small amounts.’ Tan suggests visiting Japanese supermarkets when searching for ingredients for smaller portions.
Try MEIDI-YA (#B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre, 177 River Valley Road; Tel: 6339 1111) for a huge variety of both Japanese and international staples, or head to Mustafa Centre (145 Syed Alwi Road; Tel: 6295 5855), where you’ll find a wide variety of instant mixes for soups, pre-made sauces or frozen naan.
Recipe: Sweetcorn Soup with Japanese Curry Croutons
Tan assures us that this is perfect to sip on solo.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp Japanese curry roux
- 1 slice of diced white bread
- 200ml stock
- 150g frozen or packaged sweetcorn kernels
- Splash of milk or cream
- Chopped chives or spring onions
- Salt and pepper for taste
- Melt butter in a frying pan.
- Crumble in Japanese curry roux and mash it into the butter until the mixture is smooth.
- Add white bread to the pan and mix well, then stir for a few minutes more until bread crisps up into croutons. Set aside.
- Combine 200ml of stock or water, 150g frozen or packaged sweetcorn kernels, and a generous splash of milk or cream in a clean pot and bring to a steady simmer over medium heat.
- Cook for five minutes, then season with pepper and salt to taste.
- Whiz soup in a blender (or with a handheld blender) until creamy, then serve with croutons and a sprinkle of chopped spring onion.
Recipe adapted from Slurp: Soups to Lap Up and Love by Christopher Tan with permission from Marshall Cavendish Cuisine. Book retails at $28 (before GST) at all leading bookstores.
#15: Where everybody knows your name
In our experience, there are three types of people you never want to annoy: restaurant chefs, accountants and bartenders. Of course, many turn to the latter when they’re looking to let off steam; you might be surprised what a solo drinker can learn from a seasoned barman.
Bartender 1: ‘Mr Nineteen’
He preferred to remain anonymous. This Dapper Dan has been mixing drinks for 12 years, including a stint in Stockholm. He warmed up after realising that we weren’t drunk, and admitted that he finds it a little irritating to deal with boozy bar patrons who can’t shut up. As for the benefits of single sloshing, he’s seen his share of people ‘getting lucky’ (‘That’s the fun part,’ he says). On the flipside, he also hears sob stories about adulterous wives and lecherous brothers. Mr Nineteen has had his fill of weepy singles trying to drown their sorrows. ‘Usually, these drink beer,’ he says. ‘I always tell them that drinking isn’t gonna solve their problems, but it’s my job to make the customer happy.’
Bartender 2: ZZ
He has also been slinging drinks for 12 years, but has never encountered anything out of the ordinary. ‘Maybe they just never wanted to reveal anything to me,’ he says. When asked about the solo customer demographic, he pointed out that most, if not all his solo drinkers are men. ‘They come over after work to enjoy their beer,’ he says. ‘I’ve only ever had one lady customer do that…she works as a lecturer.’
#16: Like putty in your hands
Even without the allure of a spectral Patrick Swayze spooning you, sitting at the pottery wheel and shaping moist clay is a très sensual way to get in touch with your artistic side. There’s something gratifyingly primordial about creating something with your bare hands. Some of the earliest found ceramics are full-bodied Venus figurines thought to represent fertility and success; some archaeologists suggest prehistoric porn.
That said, pottery isn’t simply a matter of roasting mud in the kiln – one must work with different types of clay, learn various firing methods, and master the subtle art of glazing. Beginners can start off with an introductory group class to learn the basics, while more ambitious potters can smooth and shape their way in the advanced course. To learn the ropes in a more intimate setting, meet local potter Jessie Lim (www.jessielim.com) at her home studio in Serangoon Gardens. Having studied at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and Anderson Ranch artist community in Colorado, Lim has a wealth of knowledge and experience – she first hit the wheel in 1982 – as well as a stellar solo exhibition record. Her eight-person classes ensure individual attention.
If you’re not ready for a full commitment to clay, flirt with fire and re-create that iconic scene from Ghost.
#17: Something smells fishy
Don’t just have one special fellow homosapien to lick your toes; let a minimum of a few thousand Garra Rufas (also known as the ‘Doctor Fish’) nibble that dead skin off.
#18: Reach for the stars
There are officers on deck who will brief you on what to expect. Once you’ve got the skinny, peer into the telescope and identify constellations Orion, Canis Major and Gemini, and stars Castor and Pollux – two of the brightest stars in the night sky.
When: Every Fri; 7.50-10pm.
Where: The Science Centre Observatory (15 Science Centre Road; Tel: 6425 2500, www.science.edu.sg)
Other tips: #1 to #5 | #6 to #12 | #13 to #18 | #19 to #25