» The gourmand’s guide to Singapore: from markets to Michelin stars
The gourmand's guide to Singapore

The gourmand’s guide to Singapore: from markets to Michelin stars

Expansive parks, iconic architecture and East meets West vibe have been drawing visitors to Singapore for decades. But for this gastronomically inclined traveller, it’s the city’s unofficial national sports of eating and drinking that have me ready to apply for residency.

Taking it to the street

Dive head first into Singapore’s hawker centres – fuss-free food courts with fastidious hygiene standards. My first stop is usually for a steaming bowl of prawn laksa at East Coast Lagoon Food Village’s Roxy Laksa, a sneaky satay at Lau Pa Sat’s Satay Street or Liao Fan’s char siew noodles, the world’s cheapest Michelin-star meal, at Chinatown Food Centre.

Tiong Bahru Market is another favourite with more Michelin recommended eats including soft and bouncy chwee kueh (steamed rice cakes with chilli and preserved radish) and chicken rice, Singapore’s succulent national dish, at Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice. If the occasionally unidentifiable market mysteries in the cavernous hawker centres overwhelm, join a Hawker Centre Discovery Tour with a clued-up culinary guide from Wok’n’Stroll.

And, if you can’t get enough, devour local hawker favourites until you’re ready to board your flight home at Changi Airport’s Singapore Food Street.

The gourmand's guide to Singapore
The gourmand's guide to Singapore
Changi Airport’s Singapore Food Street

Cultural flavour

A multicultural melting pot, there’s much more than noodles and satay on the menu. Timbre+ is more gastro park than hawker market and you’re as likely to find Cajun gumbo as chicken rice amongst its graffitied shipping containers and vintage vans. And Singapore’s most talented musicians will serve up a side of music with your meal.

Spice up your life at one of the many Indian eateries secreted between the colourful sari shops and vibrant Hindu temples of Little India. My pick is Banana Leaf Apolo. It’s not posh. There aren’t even plates. Instead, tables are laid with fresh banana leaves for patrons to eat from, with their hands (there’s cutlery if you’re so inclined). Their fish head curry is one my favourite dishes in town.

In Kampong Glam, or the Arab Quarter, halal Malay and Middle Eastern cuisine reigns. I suggest heading straight to Zam Zam to wolf down marvellous murtabak (fried pancake stuffed with meat, onions and eggs). In Singapore’s Arts District, there’s more Mideast magic being conjured up at laid-back Artichoke by MasterChef Singapore Judge, Bjorn Shen. The elevated, Middle-Eastern-inspired dude food is anything but traditional, but it’s so darned good we regularly hit repeat on dining here.

Five-star feasts

Brunch is big in epicurean Singapore. The lavish Sunday champagne brunch at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort’s Kwee Zeen is particularly irresistible. Think free-flowing Taittinger Champagne and a bounty of world cuisine, ocean-fresh seafood, fine French cheeses and a heaving dessert bar complete with made-to-order fairy floss. Just wear something roomy.

There’s another side to Singapore’s celebrated food scene with Wolfgang Puck and Tetsuya Wakuda amongst the many celebrated chefs serving up gastronomic delights in lavish five-star style. Michelin-starred JAAN, perched on the 70th floor of Swissôtel The Stamford, is my pick of the city’s fine diners for what is arguably Singapore’s best view and truly sublime French cuisine with a red-hot hint of British attitude.

The gourmand's guide to Singapore
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort’s Kwee Zeen
The gourmand's guide to Singapore
JAAN

Raise a glass

There’s a slew of funky bars in Singapore. Top of the hip list is the seductive Manhattan. Ranked one of the top three bars in the world, its skilled bartenders will leave you shaken and stirred in the best possible way. Newcomer Native is all about Asian spirits fused with fresh local ingredients. Brave the already infamous Antz cocktail, with its Thai rum base, aged sugarcane, coconut yogurt and an acidic zing from locally foraged ants.  

The gourmand's guide to Singapore
Manhattan
The gourmand's guide to Singapore
Native

Tackle the 23 creative craft beers on tap at Druggists, an ambient small bar housed in the former Chinese Druggists Association building in Jalan Besar. Sip your way through 1,500 of the world’s finest whiskeys at The Auld Alliance. Or sling a gin at ATLAS, an elegant art deco beauty housing the largest collection of gin in the world.

If you’re after views with your brews, try Swissotel The Stamford’s rooftop Skai Bar. And, before heading home, raise a toast with a Singapore Sling at The Raffles Long Bar, the spiritual home of the city’s most iconic drink.

The gourmand's guide to Singapore
ATLAS
The gourmand's guide to Singapore
Skai Bar

GETTING THERE

Qantas offers direct daily flights to Singapore from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. qantas.com

WHERE TO EAT

Tiong Bahru Market: tiongbahru.market

Banana Leaf Apolo: thebananaleafapolo.com

Wok’N’Stroll: woknstroll.com.sg

Singapore Food Street: au.changiairport.com

Zam Zam: zamzamsingapore.com

JAAN: jaan.com.sg

Artichoke: artichoke.com.sg

Kwee Zeen: sofitel-singapore-sentosa.com/dining/kwee-zeen

WHERE TO DRINK

The Auld Alliance: theauldalliance.sg

Native: tribenative.com

ATLAS: atlasbar.sg

Druggists: facebook.com/DruggistsSG

Long Bar: raffles.com/Singapore

Manhattan: regenthotels.com/regent-singapore/dining/manhattan

FURTHER INFORMATION

Visit Singapore: visitsingapore.com/en_au/