Singapore is a foodie paradise. It is not exaggerating to say that eating is part of the Singapore Spirit. Since we will be celebrating National day in a month’s time, I thought it would be nice to write about some of the must-eats in Singapore.
Here’s my list of 10 Things to Eat in Singapore.
For first time visitors, it is a must to try all the popular hawker food from places like Chomp Chomp Hawker Centre and Old Airport Road Market. If you are willing to spend more on food, Singapore has many excellent fine dining restaurants, like Les Amis and Iggy’s. And of course, we mustn’t forget about the Celebrity Chefs Restaurants like Waku Ghin, Santi, CUT at the swanky Marina Bay Sands; Osia and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at Resorts World Sentosa.
However, I’ll not be including Singapore’s best restaurants in this post. Instead, I want to share about some of the food that I miss whenever I am out of town. For non-food recommendations, please read my list of 10 Things to do in Singapore.
If you ask around which is the most famous Singapore food, chances are, people will reply with either chilli crab or chicken rice.
Amongst the many good chicken rice stalls in Singapore, I’d suggest going to either Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice or Boon Tong Kee. I like Tian Tian’s chicken rice, but I hate the queue. If you are lazy to queue like me, go to Maxwell market before or after lunch hour. Tian Tian is definitely one of the best chicken rice in Singapore.
Boon Tong Kee, on the other hand, is a tricky one. Many people would argue that it is a commercialised restaurant, and there are probably lots of places that have better chicken rice. Let me explain. With six branches around the island, Boon Tong Kee is much more accessible, and you can have your chicken rice in a clean environment (not everyone is willing to brave the heat in hawker centre). It is a relatively safe option to bring your overseas visitors there for their first taste of our famous Singapore chicken rice.
Boon Tong Kee
425 River Valley Road
Tel: +65 6736 3213
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice
Maxwell Road #01-10 Maxwell Food Centre
As mentioned, Chilli Crab is probably the most famous Singapore food. It is the face of Singapore Cuisine, the must-try food for tourists. You cannot visit Singapore without having Chili Crab. There are many Chinese seafood restaurants in Singapore serving this popular dish, but my favourite is No Signboard at Geylang.
Fresh meaty crabs in a spicy-sweet chili sauce with deep-fried mantou – this is one of the most satisfying experiences in life.
No Signboard Seafood
414 Geylang Road
Tel: +65 6842 3415
Kaya is a coconut jam made from coconut milk, eggs which are flavoured by pandan leaf and sweetened with sugar. It is easily one of the best jam spread ever created.
Spread the kaya on the toast with a generous slab of butter – this is a very delicious thing for breakfast, tea, or supper. All you need is kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs and a cup of coffee. This is the best local breakfast.
Chin Mee Chin Confectionery
204 East Coast Road Singapore
Ya Kun Kaya Toast Singapore
18 China Street #01-01
Far East Square Singapore
Tel: +65 6438 3638
There are plenty of tropical fruits to eat in Singapore, so it is a good idea to head to the markets if you are not from the region. Some of the must-try fruits are: rambutans, mangosteen, longan, lychee, durian, and mango.
Even though I hate durian, I think it’s a pretty cool experience to visit Geylang and sit by the roadside to try the king of fruits.
Fish Head Curry
Fish Head Curry is a dish created by Singapore’s Malayalee. Cooked in a hot and spicy Indian curry, the large fish head is usually eaten with white rice or bread. Try the one from Muthu’s Curry at Race Course road.
138 Race Course Road #01-01 Singapore
Tel: +65 6392 1722
Laksa has a rich coconut-based curry soup with rice noodles alongside ingredients like cockles, shrimp, tau pok and fish cake.
The first time I had a bowl of laksa (many years ago) was a total revelation. It was like taking a plane for the first time; the first sip of champagne, or having the first ever taste of foie gras. It was something very special.
Without a doubt, Laksa is one of the Singapore’s must-eats.
328 Katong Laksa
51 East Coast Road Singapore
Tel: +65 9732 8163
Zi Char (also known as Zhi Char/Cze Char/Tze Char) is a Chinese stall (in a coffee shop) that serves a variety of ala carte dishes at affordable prices. Different ‘restaurants’ have their own unique signature dishes, but a typical zi char place will usually has the following: meat items – pork ribs, har cheong gai ($8 – $20); vegetables – sambal kangkong, kailan ($6 – $12), side dishes – beancurd, noodles, rice ($4 – $20) ; and seafood – prawn, fish, crabs ($15 upwards).
There are many good zi char places in Singapore, but I’d recommend Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon (for har cheong gai), Keng Eng Kee Seafood and for a slightly more upmarket option, Ming Kee Live Seafood.
Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon
Jumbo Coffee Hub
Blk 19A Dover Crescent
Keng Eng Kee Seafood
Blk 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1
#01-136 Alexandra Village Singapore
Tel: +65 6272 1038
Ming kee Live Seafood
556 Macpherson Road Singapore
Tel: +65 6747 4075
Peranakan Cuisine, also known as Nyonya food, is the result of blending Chinese ingredients and wok cooking techniques with spices used by the Malay/Indonesian community. There are plenty of Peranakan restaurants in Singapore serving fantastic nyonya food, you can check out the fairly new Candlenut Kitchen by Malcolm lee – one of the up and coming chefs in Singapore; and Ivin’s – a popular and no frills place for families to have dinner.
25 Neil Road Singapore
Tel: +65 6226 2506
19 Binjai Park Singapore
Tel: +65 6468 3060
Hong Kong might be the land of dim sum, but I feel that some restaurants in Singapore serve very good dim sum too. I’m sure everyone knows by now: my favourite dim sum restaurants in Singapore are Royal China at Raffles Hotel, Yanting Restaurant at St Regis, and Taste Paradise at Ion Orchard.
1 Beach Road
#03-09 Raffles Hotel
Tel: +65 6338 3363
Taste Paradise Ion Orchard
2 Orchard Turn
#04-07 ION Orchard
Tel: +65 6509 9660
Yan Ting Restaurant
29 Tanglin Road
The St Regis
Tel: +65 6506 6888
Char Kway Teow
“What food do you miss the most when you are away from Singapore?”
This is a simple question. My answer is definitely Char Kway Teow. The stir-fried noodle is artery clogging, but it is very, very tasty! For me, the best char kway teow in Singapore will be the one from Zion Road. You MUST EAT it!
No 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow
Zion Road Riverside Food Centre
I wrote this list of 10 Things to eat in Singapore for the NDP 2011 Official Website, but this is not a sponsored blog post and I have not received any monetary benefits in return. That said, I got two tickets to the NDP preview and I’ll be writing a second post to share more about the Singapore spirit during the parade.