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Sweaty Singapore & A Big Fat Indian Wedding (SQ F, EY F (Jetihad), Park Hyatt HYD)

Sweaty Singapore & A Big Fat Indian Wedding (SQ F, EY F (Jetihad), Park Hyatt HYD)

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Old Oct 26, 15, 4:27 pm
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Sweaty Singapore & A Big Fat Indian Wedding (SQ F, EY F (Jetihad), Park Hyatt HYD)

***Additional detail and photos can be found on the external links below***

1. Introduction
2. United Global First Lounge at SFO
3. Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Lounge at SFO
4. Singapore Airlines First Class San Francisco to Seoul
5. Singapore Airlines First Class Seoul to Singapore
6. Conrad Singapore
7. Eating Singapore Part 1 - Flowers, Supertrees, and a River Safari
8. Eating Singapore Part 2 - Hawker Stands, Chili Crab, and Kouign Amanns
9. Dinner At Singapore's Best Restaurant, Restaurant Andre
10. Premier Lounge at SIN, Silk Air Economy Class to Hyderabad
11. Part Hyatt Hyderabad
12. Exploring Hyderabad
13. Etihad Airways Business Class Hyderabad to Abu Dhabi
14. Etihad Premium Lounge at AUH
15. Etihad Airways (Jet Airways Config "Jetihad") First Class Abu Dhabi to San Francisco
_______________________________

You might be wondering why I've come out with another trip report with the word "fat" in the title. Well, as I mentioned in my last trip report, I live my life a quarter-pounder at a time.

See, everyone prefers a certain style of travel. Some people like leisure trips, where they sit on the beach, sip margaritas all day, and polish off a couple books. Others travel for culture, spending their days at historical landmarks and museums. And others seek adventure, jumping off tall buildings and into shark-infested waters.

The best way I can describe my style of travel is "fat". It's related to but not quite the same as culinary or foodie travel, where you'd visit a destination to learn about the history of food in that area and to sample the local cuisine.

Instead, fat travel is where you eat as much as humanly possible on each and every flight, indulge in the hotel's free breakfast, eat 5-10 square meals a day, and return home 10-15 pounds heavier than when you left. It also helps when you're flying First Class and that airplane food includes caviar and lobster.



The whole reason for this trip started with an invitation to my coworker's wedding in Hyderabad, India. Because Hyderabad is literally halfway across the world from San Francisco (12.5 hours time difference to be exact) and because my coworker made it clear that you can see everything you need to see in Hyderabad in less than a day, I figured that it'd be a good opportunity to plan a stopover.

Flush with Singapore Airlines miles, it only made sense to have that stopover be Singapore and I outlined the math behind that booking here.

For many, Singapore is the culinary capital of the world. I'd rank it as a close second behind Japan. But Singapore certainly did not disappoint, and we made sure to indulge in signature dishes like chili crab and Hainanese chicken rice.



While there's quite a bit to sightsee in Singpore, we spent more time at the hawker stands than anywhere else, stuffing our faces with delicious bowls of laksa and minced pork noodles.





We also managed to sneak in a fine dining experience at Restaurant Andre. This was by far the most inventive meal we've had anywhere in the world, evidenced by the "bake your own cake" dessert as an example.



My only gripe about the food in Singapore? It's way too salty. In fairness, that was due to the constant stream of sweat dripping off my face and into my food. But in all seriousness, the weather in Singapore is nuts, and you'll want to be prepared to experience a level of sweating that you didn't realize was humanly possible.

The Indian wedding was a multi-day event that left little time for extracurriculars, but we did manage to sneak out for a day of sightseeing around Hyderabad. For those that haven't been to an Indian wedding before, they are really fun and would recommend making some single Indian friends ASAP as an investment in one day being invited to an Indian wedding. Plus, you get to dress in cool outfits and try out new dance moves.



It's well-known that you can find good value in South East Asia, but I was blown away by the prices in India. We booked an enormous and beautiful suite at the Park Hyatt for about $175 per night, and were taking hour-long Uber rides across town for less than $5.

Finally, on the way back I decided to burn some American Airlines miles and fly West through the Middle East on Etihad. Except it wasn't really Etihad, and instead the Jet Airways-configured little brother that's been nicknamed "Jetihad" and widely considered to be inferior to big brother. I may have been the only person out there excited to try Jetihad, and the final verdict is that this is a perfectly acceptable First Class experience and in my opinion, certainly not worth an additional layover on top of an already ultra long-haul 16 hour flight.


Last edited by sfoactuary; Nov 20, 15 at 11:03 am
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Old Oct 26, 15, 4:46 pm
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Really looking forward to you TR sfoactuary. My wife is all about reading and sitting on the beach on vacation - I travel to eat! Can't wait
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Old Oct 26, 15, 4:57 pm
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Lots of giggles already. Looking forward to this.
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Old Oct 26, 15, 5:20 pm
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Looking forward to it! But I hope you had better laksa than the one from Lau Pa Sat! Most people in Singapore swear by the Katong laksa. I, personally, prefer the very creamy, claypot laksa from the hawker center at 108 Depot Road. The nice thing about the laksa being cooked in a claypot and served directly to you, as opposed to the one you seemed to have had at Lau Pa Sat in a plastic bowl, is that even the last spoonful of delicious, coconut-y, creamy, spicy soup is piping hot, as it should be (even in 35C weather and 90% humidity!).
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Old Oct 26, 15, 6:31 pm
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Ahh, a traveler after my own heart - a foodie.

My general plan is to lose 5-10 before you leave, planning on gaining 10-15lbs, for a net gain of only a few lbs. Otherwise, trying to fit into your pants on the last day before going to the airport can prove to be quite the challenge!

Interested to know how the ultra long haul is. 16 hours is a long time to spend in an aluminum tube. But in F, I imagine it to be quite tolerable and even enjoyable!
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Old Oct 26, 15, 8:49 pm
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Originally Posted by sfoactuary View Post
Hair on the wonton?
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Old Oct 26, 15, 9:31 pm
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I'm once again on your heels! We did a foodie tour of Japan this summer and Singapore's planned for 2017! This is my kind of trip report, 30% planes 70% food
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Old Oct 27, 15, 3:41 pm
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No you are making me really upset that we didn't get the chili crab two summers ago. Thanks for making my stomach get mad at me

Looking forward to reading another one of your reports!!
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Old Oct 27, 15, 4:01 pm
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United Global First Lounge at SFO

The best lounge option for Star Alliance First Class passengers is the United Global First Lounge, located between gates 98 and 100 in International Terminal G. While I still consider the Emirates Lounge to be the best lounge at SFO, this one is probably tied with the American Express Centurion Lounge for a distant second.



After entering, you head downstairs and past a deserted help desk and into the lounge.



There's definitely an Asian theme with the decor, evidenced by the mini dragon statues all over the place.



And the wall art.



The majority of Star Alliance flights out of Terminal G are huddled around the same early afternoon time frame, so the lounge can actually get quite busy during this time. Fortunately, as busy as it might get in here, it'll never match the chaos that you'd find at a normal United Club.



We spotted a couple of open seats along the wall and cozied up against a large planter.



The lunch-time food offering here was decent, but nothing to skip a proper meal for. The selection was heavy on the carbs, including a mix of breads, pastries, sandwiches, and pasta.





There was a salad bar as well which included some fruits and cheeses as well as mediocre sushi similar to what you'd find at a gas station.



While it's not the most appetizing picture, my favorite thing to eat here was from the selection of cold meats, which included teriyaki chicken skewers, smoked salmon, seared beef, and smoked duck.



There was a self-service bar with a pretty impressive selection of booze.



And a great selection of beer and wine to help wash down all those carbs.



With plans to consume several large meals on-board my flight, I exercised a bit of restraint and had a couple plates that looked like this.



Because security had taken much longer than usual, we only had about 30 minutes to hang around before heading over to the gate for boarding. The plantation shutters made for an interesting view of the tarmac and this United 747 headed to London.



Overall this is one of the nicer lounges at SFO, but at the end of the day is still a domestic US lounge, so make sure to set your expectations accordingly.
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Old Oct 27, 15, 4:05 pm
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Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Lounge at SFO

We arrived at the gate 30 minutes prior to our scheduled departure, and were eager to jump on-board and into our First Class seats. Singapore Airlines is usually very punctual and the plane was already sitting at the gate, so I started scratching my head when 15 minutes had passed and the boarding gates remained closed.

Then an announcement was made - "we're sorry, but due to late arriving crew, we will be delayed by an hour". I guess that made sense since on that day, a power line had decided to fall down across the 101 freeway, completely shutting down traffic in one direction. It had taken us twice as long as usual to get to the airport, so the crew was likely in a similar predicament.

With a newfound hour to kill, we headed back upstairs to the main terminal and decided to wander over to the Singapore Airlines lounge which is located right next to the security checkpoint, and around the corner from the United Club.



The main reason I'm not a big fan of this lounge? It's always jam packed. It's a small lounge to start with, so the premium cabin passengers from the Singapore Airlines flights alone could probably fill up the lounge. Once you add-in the Star Alliance Gold passengers it really becomes a zoo. This has become a big enough issue that I've read reports on Flyertalk that many non-Singapore Airlines passengers leveraging *Gold status have been turned away.

There was barely a seat to be had at first, but people started trickling out and over to the gate.





The lounge has a nice selection of self-serve alcohol and a great coffee machine.



Don't be fooled by the menu, even though it says "today's menu" I don't believe it's ever changed in the many times I've been here.



For the noodle enthusiasts out there, the lounge carries a wide range of options, starting with the gold standard Cup Noodles.



If you're looking for a fancier option, there was a laksa noodle bar as well. Since we were headed to Singapore, I decided to just hold off for the real thing.



And a mix of stuff in the hot buffet, including kimchi fried rice and seafood pancakes.



The cold buffet was looking a bit sad, with a salad and fruit bowl that I witnessed get picked through multiple times before it was my turn.



There's a nice mix of food and beverages here, but seating can be quite tight. If you're looking for a more comfortable lounge to relax in, I'd recommend the United Club next door. Also, don't forget the option to take the walkway over to domestic Terminal 3 for the American Express Centurion Lounge.
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Old Oct 27, 15, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Madone59 View Post
Really looking forward to you TR sfoactuary. My wife is all about reading and sitting on the beach on vacation - I travel to eat! Can't wait
Hopefully I can whet your appetite!

Originally Posted by ExpatSomchai View Post
Lots of giggles already. Looking forward to this.
Thanks, ExpatSomchai!

Originally Posted by Singapore_Airlines View Post
Looking forward to it! But I hope you had better laksa than the one from Lau Pa Sat! Most people in Singapore swear by the Katong laksa. I, personally, prefer the very creamy, claypot laksa from the hawker center at 108 Depot Road. The nice thing about the laksa being cooked in a claypot and served directly to you, as opposed to the one you seemed to have had at Lau Pa Sat in a plastic bowl, is that even the last spoonful of delicious, coconut-y, creamy, spicy soup is piping hot, as it should be (even in 35C weather and 90% humidity!).
You actually bring up a good point that many people had mentioned - the best place to eat [specific dish] is only at [this specific place]. We definitely tried to do that but just ran out of time.

The laksa at Lau Pa Sat might not be the best in Singapore, but it was still pretty darn good

Originally Posted by jtav559 View Post
Ahh, a traveler after my own heart - a foodie.

My general plan is to lose 5-10 before you leave, planning on gaining 10-15lbs, for a net gain of only a few lbs. Otherwise, trying to fit into your pants on the last day before going to the airport can prove to be quite the challenge!

Interested to know how the ultra long haul is. 16 hours is a long time to spend in an aluminum tube. But in F, I imagine it to be quite tolerable and even enjoyable!
Haha, I like the way you think. I actually bring stretchy pants to wear on the journey home, since as you mention it can be challenging to fit into normal pants at the end of a trip

I think 12-14 hours is about my limit, 16 hours was just a bit too long and I was really starting to get restless toward the end.

Originally Posted by andy2016 View Post
Hair on the wonton?
Yikes, I hadn't noticed until now! I guess that makes the food truly authentic?

Originally Posted by lesamuel View Post
I'm once again on your heels! We did a foodie tour of Japan this summer and Singapore's planned for 2017! This is my kind of trip report, 30% planes 70% food
Great minds think alike!

Originally Posted by farbster View Post
No you are making me really upset that we didn't get the chili crab two summers ago. Thanks for making my stomach get mad at me

Looking forward to reading another one of your reports!!
Chili crab was probably the best thing we ate in Singapore. In fact, I think it's worth planning another trip there just to try it!
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Old Oct 27, 15, 4:23 pm
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Chili Crab is fantastic however my palate craves black pepper crab.
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Old Oct 27, 15, 5:22 pm
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So how'd you get from SIN to HYD?

Let me guess, not sullying your trip report with any indication you ever flew coach on an LCC?
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Old Oct 27, 15, 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by ExpatSomchai View Post
Chili Crab is fantastic however my palate craves black pepper crab.
That was the other recommendation that we received. Unfortunately, we just didn't have the stomach capacity for another full crab.

Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
So how'd you get from SIN to HYD?

Let me guess, not sullying your trip report with any indication you ever flew coach on an LCC?
Haha, I swam? I bought a separate economy ticket on Silk Air using cash for the SIN-HYD leg. Similar to my American Airlines flights from SFO-ORD, figured that people wouldn't care to hear about that one
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Old Oct 27, 15, 5:47 pm
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Great trip report .

As a person of Indian origin, I look forward to reading about your impressions of India and the big fat and seemingly never ending Indian wedding.
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