A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to visit Singapore for the second time. It is known to be one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world, but the thing I was the most excited about was the food. Due to its location and history, Singapore is a cultural melting pot and from that one of the most eclectic and diverse dining scenes has emerged. It is a city where you can taste the world, and taste we did. Below are are my list of must eats.
Hawker Centers – The hawker centers in Singapore are renowned for serving cheap and tasty food in a a whole host of different cuisines. Being a girl who likes a bargain, and a buffet of treats to gorge myself on, I was in heaven. It’s a well known practice for locals to argue about which one is their favourite. We went to at least three, and I found Maxwell to be my favourite, but I have heard that Newton and Old Airport road are also not to be missed. The meals range from 3-6 dollars a piece. One of my favourite dishes and a Singapore staple was the Carrot Cake. This name is a bit of a misnomer as it is not a cake and has no carrot in it. It comes in two varieties, white and black, with the latter being my favourite as it was slightly sweeter. There are also great noodles to be found, I was in love with the BBQ meat with egg noodles, and to round it out we ordered a selection of dim sum. You’d be hard pushed to find a better and tastier bargain in the city.
Chicken and Rice – Chicken and rice is pretty much the national dish of Singapore. It was started by the Haianese who brought their delicious sliced boiled or roasted chicken and served it with fragrant white rice, a bowl of tasty broth and a plate of morning glory. This is a super cheap meal, don’t expect to pay more than $8 for it, and you will be really full. There are many famous chicken and rice stalls throughout the city, some with Michelin stars. In the end we ate ours at The Marina Bay Sands food court as we were there for a conference and I have to say it was pretty damn good. If you are hungry whilst shopping it is well worth a look, there is an amazing selection of stalls down there and it’s far cheaper than any of the actual restaurants.
Brunch – Brunch in Singapore is big business, I mean it’s not quite on the level of Hong Kong, but its more popular than here in Seoul. There are many of the big hotels offering all you can drink champagne brunches, but be willing to pay $$$ because alcohol is crazy expensive here in Singapore. My favourite of the fancy brunches is Raffles, which we visited first time around, but was sadly it was closed for renovations on this visit. Instead we headed to Craftmens Speciality Coffee, where we had poached eggs on brioche toast with smoked salmon ($17). We also had one of their fantastic coffees. A great spot to stop for a good morning meal.
China Town – Every big city worth its salt has a China Town, but Singapore’s one is one of the best. The neighbourhood is a treasure trove of food stalls and markets. We hit the night market which was filled with carts and plenty of outdoor seating. It isn’t as cheap as the hawker centers, but the amazing Singaporean weather makes it a great place to dine alfresco. The dishes here generally cost between $5-$10. We tried the laska, hon mein seafood noodles and more of the carrot cake, this time I got the black version which is even more delicious than the white. Since you are outside it is also a great place to drink, lots of the stalls sell beer, or fresh fruit juices, which you can easily add a little vodka too to make yourself a cheeky cocktail.
Little India – Being from the UK, I love a good curry, and Singapore is not a city that disappoints on this front. Little India is an area of the city just brimming with restaurants serving Indian cuisine. We decided to head to The Banana Leaf Apolo after one of my faithful readers recommended it. They are famous for their fish head curry though that was not a dish that I could bring myself to eat. Instead we went for some deep fried pakora and a couple of curries. The food was spot on, and much better than what we tend to get in Seoul. We all left happy and full.
Satay Street – At 7pm Boon Tat Street closes down and turns into an outdoor BBQ party. Located right by the Lau Pa Sat Hawker center, the smell of charred meats is guaranteed to lure you in. There are dozens of stalls all with plastic chairs and tables. As you walk in, you find owners touting to get you to sit in their section but we were told the best ones can be found in section 7 & 8. As soon as you sit down ask for a menu as it takes time for the satay to be cooked (around 20 minutes). Then you’ll want to flag down the beer lady and grab yourself a a couple of pints or a jug. This is some of the most reasonably priced beer in the city so be sure to enjoy it, it goes perfectly with the flavourful skewers.
Rooftop Drinks – Drinking in Singapore is a rich man’s game, of all the cities we have ever visited, Singapore tops the list for the most expensive. Incidentally Siem Reap in Cambodia probably works out at the cheapest. If you are planning to drink more than an odd few drinks at bars or restaurants you seriously need to pick up some duty free before coming because even alcohol from the supermarkets and convenience stores is crazy. A bottle of Absolut is $100, it’s only $33 in Seoul. Anyway I digress. If you want to have a few rooftop cocktails, then the Marina Bay Sands is one of the most popular spots, you prepay a $25 dollar coupon which gets you a drink when you reach the top. The drinks were pretty decent, and it does by you that fabulous view. however another great spot is in the Gardens by the Bay. At the top of the tallest LED tree there is a rooftop bar, its $20 to enter but again that gets you a drink when you reach the top. The drinks weren’t as fancy as those at Marina Bay Sands, however you do actually get a better view, plus its a great spot to watch the light show if you can afford to keep buying more drinks.