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Food and Dining in Singapore

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Hello All,

Having read a post from last year.....for places to eat in Singapore.

I was wondering if there is an updated version for those of us that are wondering across to Singapore and Bali this year May time.

I am desperately seeking expert opinions on the places to eat in in Singapore primarily.

Bali - well I will be in the Ubudh area if that means anything to you guys?!

Thanks so much for help ( in advance )

Hasmi :biggrin:

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You can eat wonderfully well in Singapore as there is such a wide range of cuisines. There are some very good Chinese restaurants in the major hotels as well as the Lei Gardens in Chijmes Square near Raffles Hotel.

Just beside Raffles there is a wonderful area of trendy and not-so-trendy restaurants. We love the simple food at the Soup Kitchen in Seah Street where you can try the delicious Samsui chicken, the dish of the Samsui women who were brough to singapore at the end of the 1800s to carry out gruelling labouring tasks (particularly on building sites).

We also like Blue Ginger (the name for galangal) where they serve very good Peranaken dishes. Try the intriguing Ayam Buah Keluak - a chicken curry served with a minced nut from Indonesia that has a bitter yet almost chocolate flavour. We are always interested in the fact that half a world away the Spanish and the Central Americans team chocolate with savoury dishes such as chicken and here is the same idea being replicated on the other side of the world.

You can read our Singapore reviews at:


Roger McShane


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Just beside Raffles  . . .

Speaking of the Raffles Hotel, have members been to the annual, multi-day (?) Raffles food extravaganza (not the official name), to which well-known French and other chefs are invited? I have not participated.  :confused:

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is a totally sacrilegious suggestion, but Au Jardin Les Amis in the Botanical Gardens was wonderful. As the name implies it is essentially French food. They offer two menus - a vegetarian one and a tasting one. First let me explain why French food in Singapore. Singapore is a very international city. Unexpected for me is that English is spoken by everyone and all classes in school are taught in English. Secondly our last 24 meals were exclusively regional Asian and I was homesick for French food. Thirdly, I understood that they had a superb wine list.

The wine list was incredible. We had a '78 Jayer Echezeaux that was perfect and way undervalued, if you could even find it.

Our Tasting menu:

Terrine of smoked marlin parfait with caviar

Sauteed foie gras, braised leeks and black truffles

Demitasse of onion soup

Filet of Atlantic cod poached with olive oil and petits legumes

Roasted rack of lamb with red pepper marmalade

Bavarois of Roquefort

Warm apple tarte-tatin with rosemary

This is only a suggestion if you want to experience French food in the most beautiful Singaporean setting with an incredible wine list.

I did say at the beginning that this is sacrilegious!

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  • 2 months later...

The selections of Vietnamese food options in Singapore is shoddy.

I had the displeasure of having some of the most bland Vietnamese

food at an over hyped restaurant called SIEM REAP II, located in

the very upmarket Waterfront area near the Fullerton Hotel.

The service was poor and the food to follow wasn't worth the effort;

despite the Singapore river a night waterfront dining view.

Surely a food town like Singapore must have one decent Vietnamese

eatery? I heard that the reason Vietnamese food isn't happening in

S'pore is because the local Chinese, Malay-Muslim and Indian

communities do not like "raw" veggies. Some I'm told are even

offended that such a low class veggie as "bean sprouts" are

served nor do they like raw meat slices presented on the table.

I have yet to hear or read about even a Vietnamese food stall

in a hawker center in Singapore. Wouldn't a "PHO" stall work?

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  • 1 month later...
  • 10 months later...

I will be in Singapore from 13th Sept to 19th Sept, attending an IEEE standards conference. For those who know such things, they are interminably dull with group drafting sessions, interspersed with periods of company politicing. Diversion can be had from the occaisonal comma hunt - suggest that a sentence should or should not have an additional comma, and the pack will debate the issue (divided on company political lines) for a goodly period.

I will be staying at the Raffles Plaza, the conference hotel. Apart from the Wednesday conference dinner, I expect to be free in the evenings, although still on UK time. I've looked at the various Singapore threads, but they are all about a year old, and many of the links are broken. Could those who know the place suggest the best places to eat, especailly for nightime munchies, and hawker food. What can one get there, and nowher else?

Be pleased to meet and explore with any local egulleteers...

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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There is also another unofficial Singapore foodie site, here. I like it as the actual link takes you to their "Hall of Fame", where the members have nominated what they consider the best places for particular dishes.


It's worth noting that the restaurants regarded as really high end in Singapore are not really that spectacular. You'll pay very high prices for above average food. In my experience it's more likely that the truly transcendent meals will be at local/hawker eateries.

Good luck experimenting!


" ..Is simplicity the best

Or simply the easiest

The narrowest path

Is always the holiest.. "

--Depeche Mode - Judas

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The eating scene in Singapore is very fluid. Eateries open and close all the time, and standards fluctuate quite a bit. the makantime website's information is somewhat dated.

some of us at the makansutra forum hosted an American visitor (caterer from Arizona) to some of the local delights. We did not know him personally, but he contacted us via the forum. He did his homework first by reading the makantime website, and noted a list of "must-trys'. We helped him along in his quest by organising 2-3 meals, where he ended up trying quite a range of local foods, including chicken rice, durian, fish head curry and laksa, and even unusual items like ma-la hotpot and frog porridge.

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One restaurant recently featured on the Cook's Tour had me salivating, excellent looking chinese style seafood in a no frills destination

Sin Huat Restaurant

659/661 Geylang Road

Lorong 35


Any Singaporeans care to chime in on this place?

Sin Huat is still well-known for its seafood, esp its crab beehoon- the beehoon (thin rice noodles) are braised in a delicious sauce, so yummy that many prefer the noodle to the crab. It is no frills but not cheap eating, the place even accepts credit cards and has a wine selection. Be prepared to wait, we once arrived at 7.00 but the cook only started to cook at 7.30pm. Other than the crab beenhoon, the other seafood dishes are alright, though on the expensive side. I would try them if i was feeling rich and cannot be bothered to go elsewhere.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You MUST eat at SIN HUAT Eating House in Geylang. Don't order (there's no menu I know of anyway) just ask Chef Danny Lee to "make me everything." Do not miss the "Crab Bee Huen" (sp?), the "gong-gong", or the spotted cod. In fact, don't miss anything. One of the great meals anywhere. The Singapore version of Spain's now-legendary RAFA'S of Roses.

For the definitive guide to Hawker Stands--buy a copy of MAKANSUTRA, KF Seetoh's maniacally thorough exploration/guide to the subject.


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  • 2 weeks later...
(especially at night  and hawker food for the nightime munchies)

The chili crabs and pepper crabs at the UDMC (East Coast Seafood Centre, block 1202 East Coast Parkway) have always been delicious. Make sure man-tou (a fried bread) comes with the meal to sop up the sauce. Very messy and heavenly! It also is a pretty cool view if the moon is out. The moon shines on the water as you look out to seemingly another city, until you realize it is just the hundreds of ships moored in the straits.

For lunch in Arabtown, try Zam Zams, 699 North Bridge Street. Try the Murtabak. It is fried flat bread stuffed w/ either minced mutton, shredded chicken or sardines along w/onions,eggs and spices. All three were good, sardines & lamb were tied for my fave.

corner of Aljunied and Geylang Road, open air tables line the shops after they close along Geylang Road. The place gets real packed on weekend nights and the food is very reasonably priced.

Newton is the most touristy, pricey of the hawker centres, you will also be hounded more at Newton. The other Hawker centre's are the ones to go to.

I always get up early before my flight home and go to one of the 24 hour hawker centres. I order food to go (termed "take away") for the plane trip home. Works out great and beats the pants off of any in flight meal you may get (in any class of service).

"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"
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Jack, I hope you haven't left for Singapore yet, because there's a major piece on food in Singapore in today's New York Times:


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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You should definitely check out Seetoh's very comprehensive website: Makansutra.

Also, their biggest rival: Makan Time.

Finally, try the Straits Times food page.

Also, I almost neglected to mention New Asia Cuisine, which focuses on the high end of the eating spectrum.

Edited by skchai (log)

Sun-Ki Chai

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Back in 2000, at least I think it was 2000, Fat Guy and I went to Singapore. We had with us an early model digital camera that took impressively weak photographs, so we never really did anything with them. But I was inspired by some recent eGullet traffic about Singapore to go back through my photo archives in search of the Singapore snapshots. Then I dug up some old information on eGullet about Singapore from back in the days when every user had an "X" next to his or her name. So, let me call this thread the Consolidated Singapore Info Thread. It includes some old posts (the original thread containing them has now been removed) and some old photographs, and hopefully the next person to go to Singapore (JACK!!!) will add some newer material.

Here's what Fat Guy had to say about Singapore on August 6, 2001:

Here's a quick tribute to the culinary diversity of the tiny island nation of Singapore, based on some notes I took last April when I was there for about a week. I'm assuming the specific restaurants I mention herein are still going strong, and if not you'll be able to find out for sure from your hotel concierge. Unlike in many nations, you should find that your concierge -- and anybody you meet on the street -- is happy to direct you to the best local authentic stuff.

The lay of the land: Singapore stands at the unique culinary crossroads of China, India and Southeast Asia (particularly Malaysia, to which Singapore is connected by causeway). Those are the three main ethnic populations, along with the Peranakhan (or Straits Chinese) group, which also has its own hybrid cuisine. There are also numerous culinary subdivisions within the main groups, for example, several Chinese cuisines, such as Hainan and Hokkien, which you don't see much of here, are well represented there. And most of these cuisines exist at both the haute level and at the street-vendor level.

Singapore does not exactly have much in the way of local cuisine. Certainly there is no indigenous local cuisine -- everything is recently transplanted. But there are a few dishes that have evolved locally and, though they're based in the mother cuisines, are pretty much unique to Singapore in their current incarnations, like their particular styles of fish-head curry and chili crab. And there are others, like Hainanese chicken-rice, that have been so heartily embraced by Singapore as to be as much Singapore specialties as they are specialties of their native places, in the same way that New York has assimilated pizza. Singapore is, in general, a metaphor for the way cuisines have developed everywhere in the world through a combination of imported technique, local ingredients and cross-pollination of cultures.

One thing you will never find in Singapore, interestingly enough, is the curry-powder-flavored so-called Singapore-style noodles that are on many Asian restaurant menus here in the United States. That dish appears not to exist in Singapore. When you ask people about it, even the local food experts, they have no idea what you're talking about.

So, on the one hand, Singapore doesn't have the richest culinary tradition in the region by a long-shot. Thailand, Vietnam, or most any other nearby nation will be more interesting to anyone interested in hard-core examination of very specific ethnic cuisines. On the other hand, Singapore has outstanding examples of the cuisines of almost every nearby nation, and due to its thriving economy and exceptional public health regime, Singapore has in recent years emerged as, arguably, the (or at least a) new culinary capital of Asia. Certainly, with the money (and chefs) running out of Hong Kong, Singapore has had the opportunity to close in on Hong Kong, and some would say surpass it. And they speak English as their official language of commerce, which doesn't hurt.

When you get to the high end restaurants, Singapore really excels on account of its international chef pool and clientele. You will hear plenty of people say, "The best (Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, etc.) food available outside of (China, India, Malaysia, etc.) is in Singapore." Having not been to a lot of those places, all I can say is that the best examples I've had of all those cuisines have been in Singapore.

Chinese: There are several noteworthy grand Chinese restaurants such as the Golden Peony (astounding formal Chinese favored by locals, in particular dim sum that will make it very difficult for you ever to eat dim sum in North America again, and with a female chef to boot) and the Imperial Herbal Restaurant (a top Chinese place where they design a menu for you after you consult with the on-premises herbalist; it's not a gimmick, they're really serious about it). Imperial Hot Wok is a slightly less touristed option. There are great herb and tea shops in the Chinese neighborhoods (there's a Chinese tea expert named Vincent, who used to be a banker, who offers "tea appreciation" classes in his shop). And there are the wet markets where Singaporeans buy live fish (and live everything else).

Over on the Indian side of things, you have places like the Banana Leaf Apollo restaurant, where you eat in what has become a common style over there -- food is served on a banana leaf instead of a plate (it's also exceptionally good).

For the Southeast Asian and local Singapore aspect of the local cuisine, I cannot sufficiently sing the praises of the street food culture -- even the more squeamish travelers will be happy with the cleanliness and accessibility of the street food served in the "hawker centers." These are covered markets where the government has created permanent digs for the former street hawkers. There has probably been something lost by this standardization of street food, but the tradeoff is that everything in Singapore is totally safe to eat and drink. And a bit of the hawker culture still remains, so remember that if you pause in front of a stall you will be solicited -- and you should always establish the price before buying (this is only really and issue in the seafood places where raw fish is displayed on ice or live in tanks and you pay by weight; elsewhere prices are clearly posted in English). Definitely try some of the great noodle dishes that Singaporeans typically eat for breakfast, such as the local version of the Malaysian nasi lemakh, as well as other breakfast and snack items like the local kaya toast, ginger tea and strong Arab-style coffee. Other prevalent dishes are the aforementioned Hainanese chicken rice and spicy chili-crab. The hawker centers are all pretty good, though you'll find that some are more extensive than others. If you go out of the downtown core to some of the residential neighborhoods you'll find a bit more regional specificity in the hawker centers, such as Hainanese chicken rice where they form the rice into balls instead of serving it in a bowl. There are also some upscale outgrowths of street food, like the fabulous but very casual open-air seafood restaurants down by the water (Red House Seafood was the best I tried). The fresh seafood situation in Singapore is just amazing, and very hard to recapture back home.

For the best example of the Peranakhan culinary tradition, visit Jolly Wee's place, Chilli Padi. Jolly is probably the closest thing to a celebrity chef in Singapore, and he's the foremost authority on this cuisine. There's also Blue Ginger, where the chef, Vivien Lian, is the main figure in Nonya cuisine, which is the local hybrid aristrocratic cuisine.

For those who are into this sort of thing, there is no shortage of cheesy spectacle-oriented dining experiences available in Singapore: Dining at the zoo with the orangutans, at the Jurong birdpark with the birds, on the Sentosa cable cars, and atop the world's tallest hotel (the Intercontinental -- or it might be the second-tallest now). Actually the food at that last one is excellent.

There are also some key hotel experiences (a big part of the culinary culture almost anywhere in Asia), such as drinking a Singapore Sling at Raffles, and visiting the legendary overpriced coffee shop at the Mandarin Oriental (where some of the best haute renditions of traditional Singapore dishes are prepared).

Singapore is frighteningly Western in its attitudes -- if everybody there wasn't Asian, you'd have no idea you were in Asia -- and there's been a major effort to assimilate Western food and wine traditions through the vehicle of an event called the World Gourmet Summit. If you happen to be going in April, you must consider this event. It's unlike any other I've encountered. I am usually a died-in-the-wool opponent of food festivals and press events, but this is an exception. Top chefs from all over the world come to Singapore to teach classes, prepare meals and train the local chefs. I was there for the 2000 Summit, and among the guests were Charlie Trotter, Michael Ginor and Santi Santamaria (one of Spain's small club of Michelin three-star chefs). One of the coolest events at the Summit is the Master Chef Safari, wherein you eat a four-course dinner prepared by four different chefs at four different restaurants. They bus you around to the various fancy restaurants (all of which, this being Southeast Asia, are in the major international hotels) and you eat the food, listen to the chef give a little talk and receive a food souvenir from the chef/hotel team (Santi Santamaria's olive oil is probably the most flavorful I've ever tasted, and I managed to finagle four bottles of it because they had miscounted the number of attendees). The whole thing is masterminded by this Swiss dude named Peter Knipp, who's like a cross between Fabio, Dracula and the Jonathan Price character from Tomorrow Never Dies. I think he's some sort of billionaire importer. He's decided single-handedly to bring the best of Western cuisine to Singapore, and there really are some excellent Western restaurants there. Maybe not the best use of limited time in Southeast Asia, but nobody could fail to be impressed by a place like Au Jardin Les Amis, Justin Quek's fusion place in the Botanic Gardens (he trained at Hotel de Crillon in Paris).

The World Gourmet Summit runs concurrently with the Singapore Food Festival, which is basically the other side of the same coin: This is where Singapore gets to show off its various adopted and hybrid cuisines to visitors from around the world. So, when you go to the various local restaurants participating in the festival, you're likely to get a cooking demonstration from the chef, some printed recipes, etc.

As a follow-up to Fat Guy's post, I posted a recipe for the Singapore Sling (the big drink of Singapore):

And here's the recipe for the Singapore Sling as served at Raffles Hotel's Long Bar. Invented in 1915 by Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon.

30 ml Gin

15 ml Cherry Brandy

120 ml Pineapple Juice

15 ml Lime juice

7. 5 ml Cointreau

7. 5 ml Dom Benedictine

10 ml Grenadine

A Dash of Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and serve in tall tulip-shaped glasses. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry on a long toothpick. Serves two. Recipe can be multiplied for any number of people.

I also posted this article, which I originally wrote for Concierge.com, on nightlife in Singapore:

Q: What nightlife does Singapore have to offer?

A: The question is, what nightlife doesn't Singapore have to offer!

This tiny, densely populated nation (the entire country is about the size of Chicago and has a population of more than three million) offers just about every imaginable shade of nightlife, from pubs to dance clubs (techno, disco, house music, and more).

What's more, Singapore is one of the cleanest, safest nations on earth. Even in the middle of the night, you'll have no security concerns, so even the solo traveler can party with impunity.

Singapore has a sizeable expatriate community (about 2% of the population), and the expats tend to favor pub-like establishments. The locals lean more towards the clubs, though you'll find plenty of them at the pubs as well. But you don't have to choose, because, with most of the nightlife clustered in a square kilometer, Singapore is made for easy bar- and club-hopping. (The legal drinking age is eighteen.)

Start with a stroll along Boat Quay, the heaviest concentration of yuppie-oriented pubs. The Quay is a bit commercial, a bit Disney-like, and a bit too self-consciously hip, but it's on the water, it's pretty, and it's certainly hopping. Stroll up and down the quay to scope the scene before settling down at any one establishment. On any given night, at least a few offer live music.

All the clubs and pubs are lined up on one side of a pedestrian mall, facing the water, and all have sliding doors so you can enjoy the evening air; most also have outdoor tables. Culture Club, at 39 Boat Quay (011-65-536-2471), always has loud, pumping music.

Last time I was there, the doors were thrown wide open so there was no physical barrier inside and out. Mostly full of young (early twenties) locals, it's not that different from Zappa's (45 Boat Quay), which is under the same management (same phone number as well). At 56 Boat Quay you'll find Route 56 (011-65-532-1106), which hosts a boisterous expat crowd. And at 58 Boat Quay there's the Boat House Restaurant Bar & Karaoke (011-65-438-5818). I haven't actually seen anyone belting out karaoke tunes (perhaps I haven't stayed late enough), but it's nonetheless a lively haunt, with a mostly local crowd.

For another indoor/outdoor option, try the newly gentrified Far East Square, which is beautiful, peaceful, and full of young locals and expats. Carnegie's (011-65-534-0850) is a major expat yuppie pickup scene. This joint is positively heaving with activity, and you won't lack for good people watching (and meeting). Zing Bar & Café (011-65-533-3383) is quieter than most — it's a place to go for conversation when you don't feel like shouting over loud music. Zing even has an underutilized pool table. And Popolos (011-65-435-0960) pounds out a loud mix of pop music (I remember hearing some Will Smith), and hosts a nice blend of the local and expat crowds.

If it's dance or die, head over to Mohamed Sultan Road where, at Sugar (#13, 011-65-836-0010), the minimum age is twenty-three and the building shakes with house music. The creative interior design changes to a new theme every three months, and Sugar attracts the hippest local crowd.

Or, if it's the young and waif-like that interest you, walk down a few doors to Madam Wong's (#28/29, 011-65-834-0107), where you can push your way through from one packed room to the next, until you find a loud corner or couch that suits you. There's no cover at either place, just a first-drink (the same as a one-drink) minimum — but be prepared to wait in line. For a quiet evening, BarCelona (1 Coleman St, 011-65-336-7266, at the corner just beyond Madam Wongs) has live outdoor jazz on Wednesday through Saturday nights. It starts at 5:00 P.M. and wraps up by 2 A.M.

But if I had just one night in Singapore and wanted the most genuine local nightlife experience, I wouldn't look to bars or clubs. Singapore's unofficial national pastime is eating fruit, and along Geylang Road you'll find outdoor fruit stands open until well past midnight. Buy a few mangosteens, or perhaps a jackfruit, or maybe even splurge on a durian (a fruit that smells bad but tastes wonderful). Most of the stands offer picnic tables for al fresco snacking, and, before long, you'll likely find yourself in conversation with a neighboring table of locals.

A couple of other key posts from the old thread:

Sng Sling wrote,

Nice to see some notes on  my "home" town of the past 3 years.

Steven's long guide is spot on (though the tall hotel is the Westin, not the I/C), but I'd quibble about a few of his choices.

In general, the standard of Asian and regional food is better than Western. My wife and I love to eat out, but find the Western restaurants well inferior to Tokyo, Sydney or NYC.  Wine and western food is realtively expensive, so I'd recommend visitors to stick to local food and Tiger beer!

Steven:  next trip, try L' Aigle d' Or at the Duxton Hotel for French.  Try Gaetano's for Italian, and have a sandwich at Bakery Depot in Republic Plaza for NYC quality bread.

The Hainan Chicken Rice at the Mandarin Orchard hotel coffee shoip (Chatterbox) is sui generis and well worth the trip, but at Sฟ++ or so is more than three times the hawker stand price.  Awesome ginger dipping sauce.

For a big, touristy hawker center, skip Newton Circus and go to La Pau Sat on Ronbinson Road near Raffles Place.  You'll miss the rip-off grilled fish stands and have great local food.  East Coast Seafood Center (location of Red House et. al.) is fun, but best in a group of 8-12 so you can sample lots of dishes -- chili crab w/ fried buns, black pepper crab, bamboo clams -- I think I'll ditch that marinating pork tenderloin and go to the beach!

Next week, we're en route to NYC next week for our daughter's start at NYU.  We can't wait to hit the NY restaurants, and have been scanning the board and fat-guy.com for tips.  What's your best suggestions for a couple of great meals in NY??  We're staying with friends on the East Side at 75th but will be between there and the Village for a week...

Fat Guy,

Oops! I never could keep all those big hotels straight!

One of my favorite things about Singapore is that if you stay in a hotel in Sun Tec City, and someone finds out, the first thing he will say to you is, "Oh, you're staying in Sun Tec City? Did you know the fountain is like the palm of a hand with water, symbolizing money, flowing into the palm -- and that the buildings are like the five fingers of a hand?" The first time you hear it, it's pretty interesting. I promise, however, you will be told this exact thing over and over again the entire duration of your stay in Singapore.

"Oh, Sun Tec City, you know that fountain . . . "

At one point, I couldn't stand the prospect of hearing another feng shui lecture, so I told a guy I was staying at Raffles. His reply? "Next time you should stay in one of the hotels in Sun Tec City. You know that fountain over there . . ."


More about Singapore's favorite national hobby- EATING!

Fat Guy gives a nice background on the culture here; but

there is one dish that is found only in Singapore. Some locals

even consider this their national dish due to the originality of it,

and that is FISH HEAD CURRY. There's Chinese/Malay and Indian

influences in this dish.

The Chinese in Singapore are mainly

Hainese, Hokkien and TeoChew provinces, thus we have clay pot,

hot pots, rice noodles and gravy dishes, fish ball noodles, minced

pork noodles, pork rib stews and soups etc.. There's some of

the widest variety of regional Chinese dishes in the world. We also

have Hakka, Hunan, Samsui,Cantonese, Heng Hwa, Hock Chew

and Szechuan restaurants.

The Indian community here are mainly Tamil speakers; so the food

is influenced by those regions of India. You can get great snacks

at hawker centers revolving around Roti Prata and curries.

The Malay locals are mainly Muslim, so Halal food takes a priority.

We have a huge English colonial history; thus tons of "pub " type

food are eaten in bars and restaurants too. Many of the best

hawker stalls in Singapore serve variations of Straits Chinese

and Malay dishes that are influenced by Indonesian cuisine.

Rojak is one that comes to mind.

The Southeast Asian influences from the visiting labourers makes

available such interesting eating directions such as Javanese, Sudanese,

Burmese, Thai and Filipino to also examine.

The Japanese influence is heavy in the Singapore. There's tons of

casual to posh Japanese restaurants. The quality varies to the majority

being owned and operated by Singaporeans who aren't as well schooled

in the Nihonji palate as they like to think.

This is just the tip of the ice berg in terms of depth of cusine in Singapore.

My favorite places to eat are at hawker centers in the residential or

older districts of Singapore. I live on the East Coast of the island which

is gifted with some of the best there is on plate.

There were several others, I don't mean to sell them short, but I made the cut after that last post for purposes of this digest.

Finally, here's my mini photo album of Singapore and Singapore cuisine. I haven't gone through and labeled all the photos because I wanted this up in time for Jack's trip, but if you have any questions ask away and we can develop this thread into a big Singapore guide for all things food. Enjoy . . .

































Ellen Shapiro


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You should definitely check out Seetoh's very comprehensive website:  Makansutra.

Also, their biggest rival: Makan Time.

Finally, try the Straits Times food page.

Also, I almost neglected to mention New Asia Cuisine, which focuses on the high end of the eating spectrum.

the makansutra's best feature is its forum. the articles are not updated frequently. FYI, most of the regulars of the forum have moved on to a new forum as of yesterday: http://makan.solidah.com/forum/

i would not say makantime is mansutra's biggest rival, the information is hopelessly outdated. Things happen very quickly, food outlets open and shut even before we have a chance to try them. the makansutra hard copy guide is updated every 18 months, and even then we gripe that the information is not accurate, can't blame them, food centres are constantly being revamped, operators retire or change premises, and a new food trend comes along every 2-3 months- right now it is cheesecake sticks.

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Many thanks! I particularly the the "Pig Organ Soup"

How many of these are within walking distance of Raffles Plaza?

I'm very interested in local breads or baking, especially in the sourdough tradition.

There are wonderful Chinese steamed breads, for example. Any guides?

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the makansutra's best feature is its forum. the articles are not updated frequently. FYI, most of the regulars of the forum have moved on to a new forum as of yesterday: http://makan.solidah.com/forum/

i would not say makantime is mansutra's biggest rival, the information is hopelessly outdated. Things happen very quickly, food outlets open and shut even before we have a chance to try them. the makansutra hard copy guide is updated every 18 months, and even then we gripe that the information is not accurate, can't blame them, food centres are constantly being revamped, operators retire or change premises, and a new food trend comes along every 2-3  months- right now it is cheesecake sticks.


I see what you mean by about the updates at Makan Time and Makansutra - the Makan Time shows only a couple dozen updates for 2003, and the Makansutra "makanzine" seems have had only four issues since the beginning of 2002. Given this, however, where else do you think people can go to find comprehensive AND up-to-date online resources on Singapore food? Other than the ST or the official tourism page, which at any rate is surprisingly scanty.

Also, if I may ask, why did so many people move from the Makansutra forums to Makan.solidah.com? Was it like a Chowhound to Egullet thing?

Finally, one journalist whose articles I used to like is Margaret Chan. I can't seem to find her articles anywhere nowadays. What is she doing now?


Sun-Ki Chai

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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I see what you mean by about the updates at Makan Time and Makansutra - the Makan Time shows only a couple dozen updates for 2003, and the Makansutra "makanzine" seems have had only four issues since the beginning of 2002.  Given this, however, where else do you think people can go to find comprehensive AND up-to-date online resources on Singapore food? Other than the ST or the official tourism page, which at any rate is surprisingly scanty.

Also, if I may ask, why did so many people move from the Makansutra forums to Makan.solidah.com?  Was it like a Chowhound to Egullet thing?

Finally, one journalist whose articles I used to like is Margaret Chan.  I can't seem to find her articles anywhere nowadays.  What is she doing now?


Hi skchai,the most up-to-date guide is makansutra the hard copy; it is updated every 18 months on average, this is the third edition btw. costs a measly S$10. I have two copies, one at home and one in the car.

As for online: i don't think there is a comprehensive and up-to-date resource on singaporean food. The asiaone food site ( http://food.asiaone.com.sg/) has some articles on new outlets and trends worth looking at, but the target is more restaurant-type foods rather than "street" food. asiaone is the online portal for the biggest newspaper publishing in singapore (Singapore Press Holdings), so expect the articles to be sanitised and commercial.

the Makantime site has no new articles for a long time, and the updates are just ad-hoc comments on some of the food outlets. Makansutra fares slightly better in terms of articles, maybe 1 article every 3 month, no one seriously visit the website expecting to read new articles. The information is in the forum, esp the Food Food Food section, but like all forums, you have to scan the discussions and do some searches. Do try the search utility, it is quite helpful. some of us are just so bored with the umpteenth request by newcomers to recommend a good place to eat steak, dim sum etc, and we usually link them to the last discussion on the topic.

As for the move to solidah, there was no major issues, nothing remotely contentious with the makansutra people. Ever since it started, the makansutra forum has not had any active moderators, and they will only do something only when absolutely necessary, e.g. dubious or offensive postings, and usually after they've been alerted by one of us. Still we like it as it was free and convenient. So one of regular forum participants, a very IT savvy guy, decided to create a more conducive place for us to continue our discussion and came up with solidah. Here, all discussions are moderated, which is a big plus. And there are some snazzy features like live chat, avatars, personal settings etc that was not available at the makansutra site. But most of us still bounce between the two sites, and i will continue to do so too.

Margaret chan, she is not doing much writing nowadays. she has acted in a few local TV productions. Her most (in)famous line was, way back in the early 90's, when she acted as a hysterical matriarch in a very flabby miniseries called Masters of the Sea, and she said of her nemesis.. " I will kerrrr....ush (crush) him like a cockcroach!" with a contorted expression. Serious over-acting. Very funny.

Edited by tonkichi (log)
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Ok, here I am at Raffles South Tower in Singapore. Standard International hotel, and I always feel like a battery chicken in one. Jet-lagged, and surprisingly few places are open after 11, or before 6.

Singapore airline food was airline food, and their idea of low-carb menu option (business class) was grilled chicken salad followed by -err- grilled chicken in Tomato Sauce. At least I assume it was chicken. Apparently they have Gordon Ramsey and other star chefs on their advisory panel. I'd like to know what the advise they gave.

Much of the food here so far tastes too sweet to me. I wonder if that is a local characteristic.

So far:

Kopi Tiam: Singapore Restaurant in the hotel. Rojak and Laksa. Nothing special.

Raffles court food court: Sugar cane and lemon.

Lee Garden: Avoiding the temptation of "Double boiled crocodile meat w/chrysanthemum and Globeatanth", we settled for Dim sum and noodles. Crowded, OK, but I've had better sui mae in london,

Marina Square Food Court: Pig Organ Soup, Pig Trotter, Preserved Vegetable, Small Intestine. Excellent, succulant, and only SG$11 (about $6) the lot.

Where should I try for supper tomorrow and the rest of the week?

The Singapore food fair is apparently on on the 18th onwards. Looks like a must-visit.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Jack, sounds as if you are staying at Raffles Swissotel, run by the Raffles group. Not to be confused with the Raffles, which is historical, really classy and right opposite the Swissotel. Raffles only has suites, and does not have any towers. The Empire Cafe at Raffles is a good option for local food, even us locals eat there. Last order 11.30 pm but there is a small section that is open 24 hours.

If you only venture to coffeehouses and food courts you will be guaranteed a disappointing food experience. If you read the meal threads on our forums you will notice we hardly eat at those places. Do buy a copy of the Makansutra guide from the bookshop in the shopping mall within your hotel complex. It eliminates the learning curve, you don't want to board your plane home and regret you did not explore this place properly. For restaurants, you can also pick up the annual "Wine and Dine" guides, but these are heavily sponsored, still it will be a good start. And you can get anywhere by taxi.

There are loads of places that are open from 11 pm till 6 am, just not in your neighbourhood, which is a commercial district after all. Example: Balestier Rd for bak ku teh (pork in a peppery soup) and chicken rice, Geylang which is a red light district and is very happening at night, go to Sin Huat for crab beehoon or Lorong 9 for frog leg porridge.

Take a taxi to Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, Tiong Bahru Food Centre, and Chinatown Complex Food Centre- just try anything that takes your fancy, or those stalls that have food guide recommendations plastered prominently on their display cabinets. Or even the good old tourist trap of Newton Circus Food Centre- the food is not bad, just be prepared to pay more if you order from one of those seafood stalls, or anything "at market price".

Bon appetit!

Edited by tonkichi (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone,

This is my first post here so maybe I can get some pointers...

I haven't eaten extensively in Spore but I have dined in a few restaurants that are supposed to be

good - Les Amis, Sebastien's, etc. Personally I found that the food in Les Amis wasn't particularly

inspired. It was good, no doubt, kind of like 3rd Floor in KL where the food is prepared well, the ingredients

are good/fresh but there's still something missing... heart? soul?

That's what I'm trying to find. It doesn't have to be extremely formal or in a hotel-type setting, but a nice

atmosphere and good service are expected. I'm generally fond of French food and I've found a few great chinese restaurants, but where can I find a French/Italian/Western restaurant in Spore that really "blows you away"?



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