The Garden City, Fully in Bloom

The Garden City, Fully in Bloom

There's not a breath of wind in the humidity-soaked streets of Singapore. Even as the blue-black cumulus clouds rush in, pregnant with precipitation as they collide with skyscrapers, the air remains oddly stagnant. Eager for relief, I duck inside the Chinatown Complex Food Centre, one of the city-state's many hawker centers (a kind of food court comprised of stainless-steel stalls). My stomach growls instinctively as I inhale the intoxicating scents of coriander, fried chicken, freshly squeezed lime and sugary hot dough.

Sssssss, oil explodes as it hits the lip of a hot pan. Ching, ching, ching, a whisk whips from side to side inside a wok. Crack, snap, crack, human hands efficiently break chicken bones. I'm thunderstruck by the cacophonous sounds of the lunchtime rush a...

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