Singapore Adventure

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Danshui Fisherman's Wharf: Part II
by venitha

The wharf is, in fact, more of the same, but boasts a marina, which lends it a certain charm and authenticity. We share a mango shake and stroll around the harbor, side-stepping the caricature artists and keeping a safe distance from the strange two-torso-ed man act.

I'm photographing Jim with a picturesque wharf-y backdrop when what must be a squid sign above crowds of customers catches my eye. Closer inspection is warranted, if only for a picture, and our curiosity is richly rewarded. There is not a fry vat to be found, and a generous free sample reveals that today's catch is fresh. And oh-my-God good.

For a mere NT$100 (~US$3), we purchase a paper tray mounded high with squid and settle into a cozy table for two in the back, near the rugged man in high boots hoisting burgeoning crates straight from the boat and the enormous pot bubbling merrily with inky purple water.

We blissfully feast on what is undoubtedly the best squid we have ever had in our lives. Just a touch salty, even without the dish of soy sauce with which it is served, and while it certainly doesn't melt it my mouth, it's not rubbery at all but is instead chewable with a hint of squeakiness reminiscent of only the absolute freshest of Wisconsin cheese curds.

We eat slowly, in awed silence, and far too soon, we're crossing sticks over an empty paper tray and licking our lips for one last taste. One tray is our limit; any more, and we'd be stuffed to the point of sure illness into the bay.

We emerge reluctantly back onto the wharf. I hold tight to Jim's hand, frowning in the knowledge that it's time to face first the bridge, then the ferry, then the MRT, then the bus, then the plane, then the cab, and then another week alone in Singapore.

Fortified with such squid, however, I'll make it.