Newer is not always better and so it has proved with the refurbishment of the food court in the Singapore Botanic gardens.
It was a place I frequented regularly as the variety of food was good and there were some hawkers who cooked in the old (for that read non-sanitised) style, where one could still savour the richness of a sauce from a well fired wok.
My favourites were sotong pagang (grilled squid, Indonesian style) and the banana leaf curry set which could be had for the princely sum of $5.50.
The fruit juice stall did a roaring trade even though they had a penchant for topping up the glass with sugar syrup.
A couple of days ago the food court reopened and so some of us dutifully returned to this once favourite haunt.
Gone were the plastic chairs and tables and in their place stood rows of environmentally friendly wooden tables; quite in keeping with the mission of a botanic garden.
The food service however seemed to have been inspired by IKEA, with stacks of trays and chrome rails to slide them along. The prices were also a dollar dearer. I can't put my finger on it, but the old food court magic was no longer there.
I guess tourists who eat there would not know the difference but we did. Speaking personally I enjoy the atmosphere of the old coffee shops and food courts, provided they are properly cleaned.
I noted that this is blog posting number 94 for 2009 which equals my best and most verbose year - 2007. In one more day I take an annual holiday and like many people in Singapore I will not be traveling far. Maybe I will try and discover some of the older places to eat during the break?