Where to eat in Singapore

Your guide to dining and drinking in the Lion City


BY IANTHE BUTT
London-based journalist Ianthe writes on emerging travel trends and luxury, for titles including Condé Nast Traveller, Brides, Sunday Times Travel, The Independent and British Airways’ High Life.

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 Axis Bar and Lounge 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, 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. Michelin-starred street eat wonder Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle (find it at 466 Crawford Lane), also holds the top spot in the World Street Food Masters list. There will be a wait, but it’ll be worth it.

For the wet market tour

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. And, who better to guide you through its sounds, smells and tastes than Mandarin Oriental, Singapore’s Executive Chinese Chef, Cheng Hon Chau? The Discover and Dine at the Cherry Garden package includes an insider tour led by Chef Cheng Hon Chau during which he’ll share his expertise on dim sum preparation. Later, you can try your own hand at a dim sum-making class. But don't forget to eat: the package includes a lingering a dim sum brunch at Cherry Garden restaurant.

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. 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. 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.

For a smart supperclub

Turn up the heat at The Ottomani – a Middle Eastern supperclub hidden at the back of a pretty heritage shophouse in Peck Seah Street. Food is cooked in a custom-made wood-fire earth pit. Each evening, the following day’s dishes are buried deep in the glowing embers then slow-roasted overnight to give the likes of sticky pork belly or roasted lamb shoulder a deep, intense flavour. Drinks come courtesy of renowned bartender Symphony Loo. Try the Türk Kahvesi G&T: a blend of coffee-infused Paper Lantern gin and Ottomani house tonic.

Photos: Edgar Su/Reuters

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Situated in the heart of Marina Bay, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore is the ideal base for a stylish Singaporean stay.

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