With its rich culture hailing from a melting pot of geo-political history, Singapore is an exciting city for culture vultures and foodies.
There’s a lot to eat in the Lion City, from $2-Michelin starred dishes to $200 sashimi. No wonder the city has attracted a plethora of renowned and Michelin-starred chefs including Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Jason Atherton, Bruno Menard, Gordon Ramsay, Daniel Boulud, Tetsuya Wakuda. Even Joël Robuchon’s two restaurants in Singapore share 5 Michelin stars. These places are clearly the popular choices for visiting parties and the like. But how do you eat like a local?
Here are a few recommendations I’ve sent around a couple of IRL & blogger friends alike.
I love brekky in Asia because having heavy, rich noodles and rice dishes is not unusual. In the mornings, you’d see workers queueing up for fast meals in places like Toast Box or Bread Talk to grab a bowl of laksa or the famous kaya toast with kopi or teh before starting the day.
But if you have a bit more time, then you’re in for a treat. Wild Honey at The Mandarin Gallery serves amazing contemporary international brunch favourites including steak and eggs and really good corned beef hash. For a bit of a luxurious slow brekky, head off to the Ritz-Carlton Millenia and go for the Vintage Champagne bottomless brunch where they have unlimited servings of fresh oysters, foie gras, lobsters, and lush bubbles.
Not gonna lie but I genuinely didn’t see beyond the hype of Singapore’s chicken rice until I’ve had it. And now, it’s a craving I get from time to time.
The good chicken rice stalls are actually in hawker centres but that’s not to say quality is compromised. I mean Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle has a freaking Michelin star! Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice in Maxwell is famous for defeating Gordon Ramsay. If indoor dining is more your thing, Boon Tong Kee has outlets all over the city.
Looking for Singaporean chilli crabs? Forget touristy Jumbo and get yourselves to Long Beach on Dempsey Hill. You can’t not have the white pepper Alaskan crab, because it will truly blow your mind. Lei Garden in Chijmes also has amazing crab that has a Michelin star on its claws.
I love a good hot pot dinner and if you do too, check out Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant in ION Orchard. Try the parsley and century egg soup base and get the wagyu beef and dumplings for dipping.
Speaking of dumplings, Din Tai Fung is a must, if only for the Xiao Long Bao! There’s a couple of outlets all over the city but my favourite has to be the branch in Sentosa, where you can chow before checking out the SEA Aquarium and Universal Studios. Crystal Jade has a lot of flavoured – and coloured – dim sum too! Check out the one in Paragon Mall along Orchard Road.
For a more contemporary taste, Will Low’s Wild Rocket on Mount Emily is a gem for serving traditional flavours with a modern twist.
Singapore actually has a good selection of Japanese restaurants from omakase bars to yakitori hotspots to a whole food court dedicated to ramen stalls.
They’ve got top of the line sushi. Tatsuya at Goodwood Park Hotel has good aburi and if you get the bento boxes for lunch, you’re in for a special treat. Other recommended high-end places for sushi include Waku Ghin by Tetsuya, Shoukouwa at One Fullerton, and Ki-sho on Scott’s Road.
The thing is, unlike London, you don’t have to pay a lot to get really good sushi in Singapore.
Tomi Sushi in Novena has never let me down. It’s absolutely reliable and the price is rather mid-range. There’s also Wasabi-Tei in Far East Plaza and Hokkaido Fish Market in Novena where you can have a seriously good sashimi meal for less than £5. Imagine that!
There’s also a lot of Japanese specialty restaurants. Gyoza-ya along Robinson’s Orchard has amazing dumplings. Gyu-kaku in Chijmes is quite decent for Japanese barbecue. Tonkatsu by Ma Maison has deep fried breaded pork that literally melts in your mouth.
And if ramen’s your thing, there’s Ramen Champion in Bugis, where – if you’d not guessed – award-winning noodles have stalls. It was quite hard to decide which one to try, but Tonkotsu Ikkyu and Riki Ramen were my favourites.
From French hearty plates to American burgers, from Argentinian steaks to Spanish tapas, Singapore has a lot to offer when it comes to cuisine from the Western hemisphere.
One of the dishes I crave from time to time is a simple angel hair and truffle pasta number from Gunther’s on Purvis Street, which serves French cuisine. Saveur, the restaurant across has similar menu options too. Restaurant André, however has been hailed as one of Asia’s best restaurants for a while. You HAVE to check that one out, too.
If you ever find yourself with a perfect tipsy feeling along Keong Saik Road, feast your hangover with a burger from Three Buns at Potato Head Folk. You won’t regret it, and so will your head.
There’s a lot of fantastic tapas spots in Singapore, too. Binomio along Craig Road has a very good restaurant menu and a decent bar menu. Una at One Rochester is not only a stunning restaurant with its terrace but the food is quite fab, too. Spathe Public House on Mohamed Sultan Road is a lovely place for grazing with friends. Catalunya at Collyer Quay has fantastic views and Lolla in Chinatown is a crowd favourite.
are decent too. There’s Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse just a few doors down from Spathe. And despite the name, one of New Ubin Seafood‘s best seller is their rib-eye, which they serve with rice cooked in dripping. Trust me, it’s to die for. I also liked the beef in luxurious Fat Cow which hides in a medical centre! Morton’s at the Mandarin Oriental is also a local favourite and so is Chef Andre’s Burnt Ends, where you should go for back-to-basics meat with amazing flavours.
Did you say cake?
If you like a good piece of cake and a lot of puns, go check out Cake Spade. They’ve got the sweetest little cafe and pretty looking sweets!
New York’s Lady M has branched out in Singapore and you can’t, I tell you, miss out on that signature mille-crepe. It’s absolutely to die for. But don’t discard the New York cheesecake, too!
I love the drinks at the bar in Fullerton Bay Hotel, whether it be day or night. The terrace outside is perfect for pre-dinner aperitifs. You can’t beat that view of Marina Bay Sands, can you?
Chinatown also has some decent bars. Jason Atherton’s speakeasy, The Library, earns you pretty potent drinks. You’d need a password to get in but that’s easy to find if you know where to look. Cufflink has a great selection of cocktails.
But of course, you can’t leave Singapore without trying a Singapore Sling where it was born. Raffles Long Bar is a must, if only to say you walked into a bar and went nuts.
But really and truly, what about hawker centres?
Seriously speaking, hawker centres and food courts in Singapore serve decent food. Yes, the ambience will never compare to a five-star restaurant but I have to admit there really, really, really good cheap eats in hawker centres. Lau Pa Sat and Maxwell’s are my go-to’s for the experience
This is just a snapshot of what Singapore has to offer. I promise you, it’s a really cool city to visit for shopping (although not for bargains) and for food.
If this is enough to whet your appetite for a visit (how can’t it be?) search Cheapflights.co.uk for flights to the Lion City now!
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Have you been to Singapore? Where have you eaten?
This post is written in collaboration with Cheapflights.co.uk.