There has always been a friendly rivalry between Malaysia and Singapore when it comes to food. As the two countries have been linked in the past and consists of mainly the same races– the food are almost the same. Though the serious foodies might beg to differ, to each their own… I honestly don’t taste much difference. However, for the sake of loyalty to the food from my country, I will have to say, come to Malaysia for the real deal!
That being said, I recently made a trip to Singapore (a trip I make every few years) to visit a friend– and went on a food tour. Singapore has some pretty awesome restaurants– and I have to admit that my favorite place to have chicken rice is in Singapore (it’s in this list too). These are the 10 food experiences I had on my visit, each wonderful in its own way.
1) All Day Breakfast
Wild Honey Cafe
Scotts Square: 6 Scotts Square #03-01, Singapore.
The Mandarin Gallery: 333A Orchard Road #03-02, Singapore.
I absolutely love all-day-breakfasts especially on a late Sunday morning for brunch. The Wild Honey Cafe has 2 branches on Orchard road, and serves some of the best selections from all over the world; English, Mexican, Californian, Norwegian, European (which is eggs Benedict, my favourite!…and the prosciutto made it super delicious), Belgian (of course this involves waffles) and even a breakfast for hangovers. I visited the branch in Scotts Square that has a cozy rustic atmosphere, a lovely way to kick-start the day.
2) A Singaporean Breakfast
Killiney Road: 67 Killiney Road, Singapore 239525.
Lucky Plaza: 304 Orchard Road #01-10, Singapore 238863.
It’s a simple breakfast, and they serve it in kopitiams in Malaysia too. However, this meal of soft boiled eggs with soy sauce, toast with butter and kaya (a spread made from coconut milk, sugar and egg), and coffee is said to be Singapore’s main traditional breakfast. So eat it like the locals do; slurp your egg from the bowl and dip your toast in it.
3) It’s All About the Ambiance
Dempsey Hill: 28b Harding Road, Singapore 249549.
Palais Renaissance: 390 Orchard Road, Level 2, Singapore 238871.
This hugely popular cafe has branches all over Singapore. I visited the one in Palais Renaissance for dinner and really enjoyed the relaxed and elegant ambiance, and was pretty impressed with the systematic table allocations. I’ve read unimpressive reviews about the food– but the Moroccan Lamb I ordered was perfectly cooked; and I enjoyed my huge plate of Truffle Shoestring Fries (who can resist fries tossed with truffle oil and cheese?… sinful but oh so good).
4) My Favorite Chicken Rice
Mandarin Orchard Hotel: Level 5, 333 Orchard Road, Singapore.
Every time I visit Singapore, I always stop by Chatterbox for a meal of my favorite chicken rice. Dubbed the “Home of the Legendary Mandarin Chicken Rice”, a plate of this wonderfully fragrant and succulent dish here costs S$32=US$23… extremely pricey, but the serving is huge and I just can’t resist. However, if budget is a constraint; there are other awesome chicken rice restaurants around the city for a portion of the price. It’s Singapore’s unofficial national dish, so make sure you don’t leave without trying it!
5) Peranakan Fare
Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
Joo Chiat: 38 Joo Chiat Pl, Singapore 427762.
The area of Joo Chiat is filled with colorful Peranakan-styled houses; it’s gorgeous and fascinating just strolling through the area. Peranakan is a term for the early century Chinese immigrants that made their way to this part of Asia, and adopted the cultures and customs of the locals– the mix of both cultures are reflected in their food. My great-grandmother was Peranakan.
There are many Peranakan restaurants in the area, and I stopped by the Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant, known for their Ayam Buah Keluak (chicken cooked with mangrove tree nuts) dish. I also had the Nyonya Chap Chye (mixed vegetables) and Sambal (chilli paste) Prawns. Capital Y.U.M!
6) Dining with a View
Ku De Ta
Marina Bay Sands: L57-01, North Sky Park, Singapore; enter from Sands Skypark Hotel Lobby, Tower 3.
Dining at this restaurant located on 57th floor at the top of Marina Bay Sands will give you instant access to the sky deck with gorgeous views overlooking Singapore. I had dinner at the restaurant and continued the rest of the night with cocktails at the lounge. The fusion food was enjoyable (the white chocolate dessert was the best), the ambiance was chic and classy, and the skyline with bright lights made it a night to remember. Of course, everything came with a pretty steep price tag… but it was worth the experience.
7) Ribs and Wings
Clarke Quay: #01-02, Clarke Quay, 3D River Valley Road, Singapore.
There are so many restaurants in Clarke Quay that it was hard making a decision on where to eat. However, when I came across the Wings Bar with a huge plane hanging over the front and a menu promising wings and ribs… I had to try it. It was fun selecting the extensive flavors of wings– from mild to flaming hot. I settled for the spiciness Level 2: Thai flavored wings, and even though it was still too spicy for me, it was delicious. The ribs were amazing as well.
8) Crabs and Seafood
Master Crab Seafood Restaurant
Ghim Moh: Blk 19 Ghim Moh Road #01-229, Singapore.
Everyone talks about Singaporean chilli crabs, or at least my local friends do. There are many famous restaurants around the city, but my friend lives close to this restaurant which she believes serves the best crabs in Singapore. The popular dish here is the salted egg yolk crabs– and I have to agree that it was the best salted egg yolk version I’ve tasted, the sauce is rich and creamy. I ordered the chilli crabs as well, it was pretty good too. I had a delicious time gnawing, chewing and biting on the crabs, and getting my hands dirty.
9) Snacks by the Beach
Sentosa Island: 50 Siloso Beach Walk, Singapore 099000.
After a few days of walking around the city, I had the urge to visit the beach… so I dropped by Siloso Beach on Sentosa Island. The small beach is lined with several beach cafes and bars, and has such a laid-back vibe that for a moment I forgot I was in Singapore. I randomly walked into Coastes because its white washed walls and open-aired verandah looked so inviting; and spend the rest of my afternoon munching on fried calamaris and sipping on cocktails. Being on the beach always makes me happy.
10) Hawker/Food Court Delights
Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre
Tiong Bahru: 83 Seng Poh Rd, Singapore.
Rasapura Masters Food Court
Marina Bay Sands: B2-50, Canal Level, the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
For an array of local street food, the best place to go to are the hawker centres around the city; or if you prefer a mall setting, there are the food courts. Have your pick on all the local dishes like Singaporean hokkien mee, char kuay teow, beef noodles, wanton mee, bak kut teh, chicken rice, fried carrot cake… the list goes on. I can never make up my mind whenever I visit the hawker centres– so in the end I tend to order more than 2 dishes. So yes, go crazy, order everything, and share!