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Restaurants, Singapore

Where To Dine In Singapore

Singapore is a real treat for foodies, from the budget-friendly food centers to hidden gem neighbourhood restaurants and new openings by Michelin star chefs.  Here are some of my top Singapore finds….

Blue Ginger was one of my favourite restaurants that we visited in Singapore.  The stylish, homely restaurant in the historic Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood offers mouth-watering Peranakan dishes that are served in only a handful of restaurants in Singapore.

Peranakan is the name of a community of both Chinese and Malay descent, dating back to the 15th century.  Regarded as comforting home cooking, Peranakan or Nonya food combines Chinese ingredients and wok cooking with Malay and Indonesian spices including galangal, candlenuts, pandal leaves and kaffir lime.  Typical dishes such as Nonya Laksa and Itek Tim,  are aromatic, spicy and rich in flavour.

At Blue Ginger, it’s best to order a few different dishes and share, so you can sample as many different tastes as possible.  Traditional and authentic dishes to order are Kueh Pie Tee (shredded bamboo, turnips and shrimp in crispy cups), Otak Otak (aromatic fish cakes), Beef Rendang and Ayam Buah Keluak (braised chicken with Indonesian black nuts).

To learn more about the culture and history of Peranakan communities, view artefacts, costume and photographs at the fascinating Peranakan Museum.

Blue Ginger – 97 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore

Long Beach Seafood is one of the best restaurants to try Singapore’s signature Chilli Crab.  The first Long Beach Seafood restaurant opened in 1946 and it is known today as the ‘Creator of the Original and the Best Black Pepper Crab of Singapore’.  There are now five Long Beach Seafood restaurants, which have welcomed dignitaries, presidents and celebrites such as Morgan Freeman and Michelle Yeoh – in fact, Lady Gaga named it her favourite restaurant in Singapore.

We dined on the terrace at the Dempsey branch and enjoyed a delicious, top quality seafood feast.  We started with Steamed Live Scottish Razor Clam with minced garlic and woven glass noodles, followed by crunchy House Speciality Prawns.

The giant Chilli Crab not only looks impressive, but the crabmeat is so fresh and succulent, smothered in a rich, buttery and mild chilli sauce.  It comes with a selection of fluffy steamed and golden fried buns to mop up the sauce.

For after-dinner cocktails in one of Singapore’s coolest bars, try the nearby Tippling Club.

Long Beach Seafood – 25 Dempsey Road, Singapore

Wild Rocket at Mount Emily is a real hidden gem, offering delicious contemporary Singaporean dishes in a chic, comfortable setting.  Chef Willin Low was working in the legal profession in London while honing his culinary skills at the weekends as a private chef.  He asked his friends to give their most honest opinions on his cooking and after their praise and encouragement, he returned to Singapore to open the popular bistro Wild Rocket, nearby Wild Oats bar and gourmet burger joint Relish.

Adjoining the cool budget Hangout Hotel, Wild Rocket offers à la carte and a tasting menu with dishes including Pomello and Tiger Prawn Salad, Fried Chicken Wings stuffed with rice and water chestnut, Pesto Laksa and White Chocolate Lychee Martini Tart with brandied cherry.

Don’t miss Wild Oats bar just across the road for late-night drinks on the terrace.

For more information and restaurant ideas, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of Singapore Tourism Board

Cafes, Singapore

Street Food in Singapore

Singapore is known for its food courts, also known as hawker centres.  Popular with locals and budget-savvy travellers, these open-air complexes offer quick, traditional Singaporean and Asian dishes at very affordable prices.

During my visit to Singapore, we tried street food from a variety of food courts, markets and cafes in different parts of town.  The first was Lau Pa Sat (translated as ‘old market’), housed in a historic Victorian building in Singapore’s downtown business district.

The market is full of food stalls offering different dishes and combos including noodles, roast duck, seafood, laksa, bento boxes and the Singaporean national dish, Chicken Rice.

Singaporeans tend to eat smaller dishes more frequently during the day, so you can expect reasonable portions at a lower price.  Given the hot, humid weather, and lack of air-conditioning in the market (apart from a few ceiling fans) this is a pleasant, manageable way of eating.

I went for the Chicken Katsu Gyoza Bento Box with pickled ginger, fresh watermelon and a bowl of miso soup, washed down with a Calamansi lime juice.  It was a tasty, satisfying lunch and at most of the stall, you can eat well for under 10 Singaporean dollars (around £4.95).

After taking the Singapore Flyer, we had lunch at the 1960s-themed Singapore Food Trail.  The quality of the food was good, but this food court caters for tourists who flock here for the Flyer, so it doesn’t feel quite as authentic as Lau Pa Sat.

I ordered Vegetable Satay with noodles, which were drowned in spicy peanut satay sauce, and a Calamansi Lime Juice (which became my staple Singapore drink).  More adventurous foodies might be tempted to try a can of Kim Genuine Bird’s Nest drink, made from the saliva of cave-dwelling birds that solidifies to form a nest.

A Singapore breakfast can range from sweet Chinese pastries to a fiery bowl of laksa, or even pig organ soup.  We fuelled up for our second jam-packed day at Tiong Bahru food centre.  We bought a selection of char sui buns, egg custard tarts, sweet barbeque pork pastries and steamed prawn and pork dumplings for the table.

The idea of having chicken noodles for breakfast appealed, so I picked up a bowl for just 3 Singaporean dollars and got my caffeine fix from a cup of hot, potent milk tea infused with ginger.

Kaya Toast is another popular choice for a light breakfast on the go.  Kaya is a sweet and creamy spread made from eggs, sugar and coconut milk flavoured with pandan.  We visited Ya Kun Kaya Toast, a small chain of cafes that began in 1944 as a tiny coffee stall.

Two slices of toasted brown bread are packed together with a generous spread of kaya and lashings of butter.  Other dishes include French toast, peanut butter toast and soft-boiled eggs, to be served very runny and mixed with soy sauce.  We tried a selection of toast and a milk tea, so strong that it made builder’s tea appear bland – my perfect cuppa!

The staff are undoubtedly eccentric and hurl the dishes on your table without any ceremony – in a friendly, unpretentious way.

The food markets around the city are a good source of new food discoveries.  At the Albert Centre Market and Food Centre, there are plenty of colourful fruit stalls where you can try Singaporean fruits such as mangosteen, jackfruit, longan and the pungent ‘king of fruits’, durian.

One of my favourite foodie finds was Bakkwa, a thin sheet of roasted pork marinated in honey and soy sauce, then dried.

The trick with finding great street food in Singapore is being adventurous, stepping away from the tourist trail and asking locals.  Singapore is a very clean city (tap water is drinkable) and food establishments are regulated by the government to meet hygiene standards.  If you’re concerned, try to stick to outlets marked A or B for health and safety.

A familiar saying is that Singaporeans have immaculately clean kitchen – because they always dine out!  So eat like a local and work your way through Singapore’s street food dishes.


Things To Do In Singapore

Singapore is a great city of contrasts, embracing both East and West, tradition and the future.  Singapore’s downtown Marina Bay boasts spectacular modern architecture and luxury yet a slower pace of life can be found in the food centres and Chinatown, where elders play checkers in the afternoon heat.

Officially founded by Sir Stamford Raffles back in 1819, Singapore is now its own fully independent state, yet traces of its former British sovereignty make it accessible for Western traveller.

I travelled to Singapore with a group of bloggers for a whirlwind trip, squeezing the city’s best sights into three days.

We flew there directly from Heathrow with the wonderful Singapore Airlines.  Regarded as one of the best airlines in the world, its reputation is well-deserved as our 13.5 hour flight was made as enjoyable as possible.  There was a large selection of new movies to get through and the food was excellent, offering a choice of western or Asian food – I loved the Beef Rendang, chicken noodles and lemongrass panna cotta dessert.

We were in awe of the charming ‘Singapore Girls’ (the affectionate name for the air stewardesses), who gracefully glides around the aircraft in their exquisite Balmain-designed traditional dresses.  The male air stewards were also very distinguished and were chatty and helpful.  Even Singapore airport had a tranquil, zen feeling and offered a stress-free arrival.

Our base in Singapore was the new high end budget hotel Innotel, located in a central part of town on Penang Lane.  The staff were very friendly and hospitable and highlights included complimentary wifi, tea and coffee making facilities and bottles of mineral water replaced twice a day.  The bed was exceptionally comfy and the quiet location of my room (overlooking a garden) helped with getting a good night’s sleep.

The first stop after a long-haul flight (after a few hours sleep, of course) should be Henderson Waves.  This spectacular wave-like 274 metre-long pedestrian bridge overlooks Henderson Road and connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park, offering a panoramic view of the city.  Start at the top and walk down through the lush greenery along metal walkways, taking in the unique flora and fauna.

At the bottom of the hill is a modern visitor’s centre, where you can relax with a cold drink and enjoy the manicured gardens.  We found this to be an exhilarating way to get over the fatigue of flying and ease into the hot and humid Singapore climate.

Another great way to see the city up on high is a flight on the Singapore Flyer, standing at an impressive 165m.  The 28 glass air-conditioned capsules rotate slowly and offer an unrivalled 360 degree view over Singapore.

Tigers and elephants may be an unexpected sight in Singapore, but the city’s popular Night Safari offers a nocturnal view of some of the world’s endangered species.  Take a tram ride around the park with an experienced tour guide and hop off to get closer and experience one of the special trails.  It’s a strange experience being so close to predatory animals, but there are in fact deep moats between the public and the animals, creating an optical illusion.  Singapore Night Safari is committed to conservation and animal welfare and flash photography is forbidden.

Before beginning the night safari, visitors can watch a show by Malay fire-eaters, dine at the food court or try the fish foot spa.  It might be a bit too tourist-orientated for some, but it’s a rare chance to see the world’s most beautiful animals.

As guests of Singapore Tourism Board, we zipping around the city in our own Your Singapore private bus, however, the MRT (mass rapid transit metro system) is famously efficient and taxis are very affordable and frequent.

But one of the most enjoyable ways of touring the city is to take a Trishaw Uncle ride.  Trishaws were used as the main transport method in Singapore before cars, buses and trains and Trishaw Uncle pays tribute to this tradition with a fleet of contemporary motorised bike-carriages, each operated by an ‘uncle’ (an affectionate name for elders in Singapore).

We rode through the city, accompanied by audio commentary, taking in the sights, including a spin through Little India.  Uncle kindly provided some bottled water and rice cracker treats to keep us going throughout the ride.

Another must-see is Chinatown, where you can visit the breath-taking Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Sri Mariamman Temple (Singapore’s oldest Hindu Temple).  In Chinatown you can find wet markets and stalls selling everything from brightly coloured chopsticks and Chinese remedies to traditional horse hair brushes and pickled snakes in a jar.

My favourite area of Singapore is the nearby Ann Siang Hill, lined with hip designer boutiques, concept stores, a quirky patisserie, great restaurants and design hotels.

The island of Sentosa is just a short distance from Singapore, so visitors can combine a city break and beach holiday.  Sentosa is family-orientated with a number of attractions including the MegaZip Adventure Park, Fort Siloso and a Dolphin Lagoon.  However tranquility can be found on the more secluded Tanjong beach and at the chic, refined hotel and spa, Capella Singapore.

Sentosa also hosts the annual music festival Zouk Out, attracting big name DJs who have played at Singapore superclub, Zouk.

Singapore is a vibrant, developing city with so much to see that you could easily spend a week there and not tire of it.  It’s an immaculately clean, well-mannered city with vast areas of greenery.  However, with Malaysia nearby, a tour of south-east Asia a tempting prospect.

Look out for more on Singapore’s street food, fine dining, shopping and arts & culture…

For more information on Singapore, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of Singapore Tourism Board.

All photos by Chérie City (except Innotel).