Eat Like a Local – Singapore

High-quality food is something Singaporeans take very seriously: they talk a lot about eating, and good chefs are held in high esteem. The city state offers enormous variety in a very small area. You will not only be able to savour all of Asia’s cuisines here but the very best of Australia and Europe as well. The servings are often smaller than at home – this applies especially to street booths. Eat the way the locals do and do not gorge yourself; the rule is: it is better to eat less but do it more often. That will also make it easier for you to try out all the different national styles of cooking.

Singapore Marco Polo Guide

Local specialities to try on your visit to Singapore:

Bah Kut Teh – spicy herb soup with pork and offal, pepper, chilli and garlic

Bak Kwa – the slices of grated pork, brushed with honey and then grilled do not look especially
appetising – but they are! A Chinese delicacy, not only during the New Year celebrations

Chai Tow Kway/Carrot Cake – a kind of pancake with spring onions and sweet black sauce; not at all like the usual carrot cake

Char Kway Teow – fried, flat noodles with sweet, black sauce from the wok, with small Chinese
sausages, soy sprouts, eggs and garlic

Chicken Rice – gently cooked chicken with various sauces: it might look boring but the taste is pure poetry! Originally from the Chinese province of Hainan, it is now Singapore’s national dish

Hokkien Mee – yellow noodles fried in a wok: with pork or squid and a lot of vegetables

Kaya Toast – extremely sweet breakfast pudding made with milk, eggs and coconut milk on toast

Laksa – the noodles in the famous spicy soup are thick and yellow; served with pieces of chicken or fish, tofu cubes and coconut milk or tamarind juice

Nasi Lemak – classic Malay breakfast of coconut milk and sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf; it is eaten with small sardines and plenty of chilli

Rojak – tropical salad of cucumber, pineapple, mango, grilled tofu, tamarind juice, pieces of fried noodles with shrimp paste and chopped peanuts

Roti Prata – a kind of Indian pancake made with thin batter and served with a variety of fillings – most of them, vegetarian. Stuffed with lamb or chicken, the pancakes are known as Murtabak; usually accompanied by curry sauce

Satay – chunks of chicken, lamb, beef or squid are marinated in hot spices and then grilled over charcoal, traditionally served with peanut sauce, cucumber and raw red onion

Wanton Noodles – a classic from the Chinese province of Canton: egg-noodle soup with boiled dumplings filled with minced meat

 

Hawker Centres & Food Courts

Most of the snack centres with their many small booths open early in the morning for breakfast and work until late at night. The most stylish hawker centre is the Lau Pa Sat Festival Market on Robinson Road between Waterfront and Chinatown (MRT NS 26, EW 14 Raffles Place). There was already a market here in 1822. As part of the redevelopment of China town, the Singapore Tourism Board revamped Smith Street and turned it into a strip of restaurants (MRT NE 4 Chinatown). The most beautiful food court is on the roof of the Vivo City shopping centre. It has been designed to resemble an old Chinese village (Food Republic@Vivo City, #03-01 Telok Blangah Road, corner of Sentosa Gate way (MRT NE 1 HarbourFront). The Maxwell Road Food Centre in Chinatown (MRT, NE 4 Chinatown) has the appearance of an open market hall. The prices in the Asian Food Mall in the Lucky Plaza shopping centre on Orchard Road (MRT NS 22 Orchard) are unbeatable. One of the best hawker centres is next to the Esplanade Culture Centre, Makansutra Gluttons Bay.

 

Restaurants serving traditional Singaporean cuisine: 

EQUINOX THE RESTAURANT
The restaurant has one of the most spectacular views Singapore has to offer. Looking out of the windows on the 70th floor on a fine day, you can see as far as Indonesia – and delight in modern Asian- European fusion cuisine at the same time. 2 Stamford Road, Swissôtel The Stamford | tel. 64 31 61 56 | MRT NS 25, EW 13 City Hall | Expensive

EAST COAST SEAFOOD CENTRE
This is the perfect place to try Singapore’s national dish Black Pepper Crab. The entire row of restaurants along the coast specialises in seafood. The view of the ocean is romantic but the restaurants themselves provide a rather sober Chinese atmosphere with plastic stools and neon lighting. Upper East Coast Road | preferably by Taxi | Moderate

TRUE BLUE
Chef Baba Ben, as the Singaporeans call Benjamin Seck, cooks in the traditional Peranakan style – a mixture of Chinese, Malay and European cuisines. The recipes still come from his mother Nyonya Daisy Seah. The restaurant is located next to the Peranakan Museum. Daily 11am–2.30pm, 6–9.30pm | 47/49 Armenian Street | tel. 64 40 04 49 | www.truebluecuisine.com | MRT CC 2 Bras Basah, EW 13, NS 25 Cityhall, then Bus 197 | Moderate

CHILLI PADI
This friendly family-run restaurant with excellent, reasonably-priced Peranakan home-style cooking is located a bit off the beaten track. Beef Rendang and fish-head curry are two of the classic dishes. Daily 11.30am–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm | #01-03 11 Joo Chiat Place | tel. 62 75 10 02 | www.chillipadi.com.sg | bus 16 from Orchard Road | Budget

328 KATONG LAKSA
You will not come across any tourists in this eatery. The street restaurant is in the heart of Katong, the old Peranakan district. 328 Katong Laksa won the ‘Laksa War’ against the neighbouring restaurants and Singaporeans come from the other side of town to enjoy the tasty soup that only costs S$4 here. Daily 8am–10pm | 53 East Coast Road | near the corner of Ceylon Road | bus 14 from Orchard Road | Budget

 

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Singapore Marco Polo Guide

What’s the best thing you have ever tasted in Singapore? Comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

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