Before my friend, Chin left for the States, I wanted to plan something “fun” that we could do together. And I thought a trip to Kranji Countryside seems appropriate.
In the past, exploring Kranji was a hassle. Unless you drive, the only bus that goes into Kranji runs during weekends (and it goes around the outskirt, hence you will need to walk in for certain farms). And it’s almost impossible to grab a cab at Kranji.
Of course, the wonderful farmers and entrepreneurs at Kranji got together and formed the Kranji Countryside Association. One of the BIG steps they made in promoting local agriculture to us urban Singapore is providing a bus service that brings us to the farms – simple and logical solution. For a small fee of S$3, the bus runs every 75 minutes, bringing one to all the major farms and even Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Founded by Ivy Singh-Lim (former President of Netball Singapore) and her husband Lim Ho Seng (former CEO of NTUC Fairprice), Bollywood Veggies is a 10 acre land that houses not just a farm, but also a museum, cooking school and a bistro.
Chin and I decided to meet up at noon and by the time we reached Bollywood Veggies, it was time for lunch and we were starving. We sneaked into the bistro and ran off to the “Specials” board to order our lunch. I went with the Assam Fish while Chin ordered the Warrior Chicken Curry. We also got a Moringa Tempura to share.
Before our lunch was served, we each got ourselves an Iced Fig Tea. I have serious high expectation of the drink but it was a disappointment. The drink was bland and flavourless. A waste of my S$2.
Our food came pretty fast and they served us a big bowl of brown rice to share (you can get white rice too). The Warrior Chicken Curry was slightly spicy and pretty lemak (coconut). The Assam Fish was delicious. The fish was fried nicely, and the assam was light and sourish.
The dish of the day for me was the Moringa Tempura. Moringa is apparently this ultimate superfood where it is nutritious and contained various vitamins, and high in iron and calcium. The leaves which believed to contain the most nutrients were coated with tempura flour and deep fried. The oil that was used for frying was clean hence Moringa Tempura were light in colour and very crispy. The leaves itself do not have much taste – they do not have the raw, grassy taste one would associate with raw leafy vegetables. They were served with kacang manis (dark sweet sauce) and a small dish of pickled vegetables. I loved dipping the Moringa Tempura in the kacang manis and sprinkled a bit of the pickled vegetables on top – it was delicious. I can eat this forever.
To end our meal, we ordered a plate of 3-in-1 dessert platter – kueh kosui (steamed tapioca flour with gula melaka), kueh bingka (baked tapioca cake) and banana bread. The desserts were served to us warm and steaming. I naturally went to my favourite kueh bingka. It was so good. The kueh itself was soft and it just melted in my mouth. And the flavour was really good. Though I am not a fan of kueh kosui, I have to say Poison Ivy’s version was the best I have tasted to date. Once again, the kueh was soft and tender, and the gula melaka was pretty prominent. As for the banana bread which was raved by many people, I found it to be so-so as I could taste the baking soda/ “alkaline” flavour.
After lunch, we set out and walk around the farm. I am unsure is it because it was year end when we visited, there seems to be no fruits or vegetables that could be harvested. Still there were some interesting plants that I have not seen before or didn’t know it looked like that – figs, noni fruits.
At the end of our tour, there was a small stall selling produce (outside the bistro) – Chin got some figs while I bought some bananas*. After the “shopping”, we hang around the bistro and waited for the bus.
As we started late, we were only left with 15 minutes to explore the goat farm (Hay’s Dairies) which was alright for me as it was quite depressing to be there. The poor goats were locked up and they stink.
Overall it was a fun day especially for someone (like me) who ain’t a nature lover. The food at Poison Ivy is pretty good and we definitely need to develop more of such “farm to table” places.
*Chin passed me one of the figs which was dry and yucky BUT the banana was awesome – the seed was shockingly big (which later on my mum told me it’s common for some breeds). Still it was sweet and delicious – and yes this is the (only) reason why I love organic bananas.Bollywood Veggies and Poison Ivy Bistro
100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026 (Kranji)
Opening hours: 9.00am–6.00pm (Wed–Sun and Public Holidays) (Closed for a fortnight each year for Lunar New Year)
No. 3 Lim Chu Kang, Agrotech Park Lane 4, Singapore 718859
Opening hours: 9.00am–4.00pm (daily)
For the schedule of the Kranji Countryside bus, please visit here.