Where to eat in Singapore
By Ianthe Butt
January 20, 2021
From hawker stalls in open-air food courts, to fine-dining restaurants and fusion fare, Singapore is a delicious melting pot of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian influences. In a city where there’s always something to tantalise the tastebuds, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore in Marina Bay is a great place to kick-off a culinary odyssey. Start at one of the acclaimed in-house restaurants – including MO Bar for afternoon tea or Teppan-ya for next-level Japanese bites – before venturing further afield
For the best of the Hawker stalls
Trying hawker street food dishes is a must do; they typically include chicken rice, fried Hokkien mee noodles or kaya toast, for which the bread is smothered in coconut jam, then dipped in runny not-quite-boiled eggs. Among the best-known stalls is Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle (pictured above), at 78 Smith Street. As the name suggests, the go-to dish is its eponymous moreish chicken rice. But when a street food stall catches the attention of the fastidious folk at the Michelin Guide, you know it’s going to be special. It's also worth checking out Michelin-starred street eat wonder Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle (find it at 466 Crawford Lane). There will be a wait, but it’ll be worth it.
For the wet market
Rainbow stacks of neon fruit, clucking chickens, piles of seafood (some so fresh it’s still flipping) and just about every spice… Chinatown’s wet market is foodie heaven. From crabs and lobster to more affordable shellfish like cockles, clams and prawns, the wet market is home to them all. And, for the more adventurous there are live frogs, eels and even turtles for sale, which are used in some local recipes. After experiencing the sights, the sounds, and the smells of a traditional Singapore wet market, head back to enjoy the fresh taste of a dim sum brunch at Cherry Garden restaurant (pictured above) courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Singapore’s Restaurant Chef Soong Kin Wah.
For the ultimate gin experience
Even the most discerning juniper connoisseurs can’t fail to be impressed by Atlas Bar, a temple to gin, in the ornate lobby of Parkview Square (pictured above). Master of Gin Jason Williams has sourced an astonishing 1,011 varieties; some sent from craft distilleries in Bolivia, others squirreled home by in-the-know imbibers on far-flung trips. All are displayed in a gilded 8m-high tower; an artwork in its own right. Tipples are divided on the menu by the ‘golden’, ‘gilded’ and ‘crazy’ ages, harking back to the heady glamour of days gone by, and include a Florentine Negroni or the zingy Deco White Lady, for example – both blended using 1920s London Dry gin.
For a hot table
A modern take on a Japanese izakaya (informal tapas-type eatery), at Neon Pigeon chef Justin Hammond serves up dishes, including bamboo shoot tempura and delicate miso-roasted aubergine (pictured above). Decked out in avian-themed graffiti and located in the cool Keong Saik neighbourhood, Neon Pigeon has garnered a reputation for its punchy sake-based cocktails. It’s also just around the corner from another hot spot, Burnt Ends, where Dave Pynt (ex-Noma and St John Food & Wine) offers a delectable selection of all things grilled, smoked, roasted and charred.