Food plays a massive part in all of our adventures and Singapore was no exception. As a destination, Singapore offers a unique range of options from high-end restaurants to street food, due to it’s rich and diverse cultural history.
This diversity opens up so many different foodie experiences, below are my top 6 “must eats” in Singapore (I know 5 would sound better but there were too many to choose!)
Hainanese Chicken Rice @ Maxwell Food Centre
I’m starting with the obvious one. Whenever I asked for recommendations before our trip this one was usually the first one mentioned. Located in Maxwell Food Centre, Tian Tian is the most famous stall for Hainanese Chicken Rice. Unfortunately, as we visited late at night, it had closed for the day so we ended up at Ah Tai.
Ah Tai is the not so famous stall run by an ex-chef of Tian Tian so kinda the same right? ok that maybe pushing it! It’s actually located only a few stalls down at the same hawker centre.
The great thing about hawker centres, apart from the food of course, is the price (our meal was around 4 SGD each, approx £2.50, before adding beer, which is expensive in Singapore). Aimed at the everyday worker, the idea is for the food to be cheap, flavourful and filling.
Most evenings you’ll find queues of people waiting to grab a bite from their favourite stall, and it’s quite common to visit more than one. We followed this trend by reserving two seats by placing a folded napkin on them before heading to opposite ends of the hall, I queued for the chicken, whilst my husband visited another stall to grab some beers.
The food itself was exactly as you’d expect, the spicy sauce they give you takes the stock flavoured rice to a completely new level and although the chicken is cold, a surprise to me initially, it was packed full of flavour.
I wished we’d had room to explore some of the other stalls here but we were just far too full!
Cheese and Chocolate Buffet @ Club55, Marina Bay Sands
So this is hardly a cultural experience, but it’s cheese AND chocolate…
ALL YOU CAN EAT, why wouldn’t I include this! As soon as I saw it, I was SOLD
Between 8:00pm – 12:00am each night Club55, at the top of Marina Bay Sands, transforms into what they bill as a “buffet of dreams”.
And that doesn’t oversell it, I was in HEAVEN!
And this is only one VERY small section, it was HUGE.
I didn’t know where to start and we both ended up piling our plates with everything we possibly could. I added some fruit as well, you know, to make it healthy!
Soft drinks are included but I spied “dessert” cocktails on the menu and since I was stuffing my face with chocolate anyway I thought why the hell not! I went with a Baileys and Kahlua cocktail. Unfortunately, it started to melt very quickly but the lovely staff noticed and replaced it free of charge, fantastic service.
Overall I would say that it’s definitely worth doing. The cost is 48 SGD, so around £30, which is pricey considering you can’t eat a lot of the rich wonderful goodies on offer, but everything we tried was tasty, not a single “bum note” and the experience and the view you get from what is essentially the clubhouse over the bay gardens makes this more of an “experience” that a meal. You can find out more and book here if you fancy trying this incredible experience.
The Big Meal @ Lau Pa Sat
Our second Singapore hotel, So Singapore by Sofitel, was across the street from Lau Pa Sat so one night we decided to check it out. This Hawker centre is huge, so I’m glad I looked for some recommendations in advance.
One that came up frequently was the “Big Meal” from Indian Classic Cuisine AS. For 10 SGD, approx £5.50, you get just that, a HUGE meal. So huge we shared it.
This gave us three curries, some tandoori chicken, plus a piece of naan bread and biryani rice. Our favourite was by far the mutton curry. The meat melted in your mouth. That’s not to say the chickpea curry and potato dish weren’t good, they were, but this was a standout dish for us.
Breakfast @ Wild Honey
When I asked for recommendations for a breakfast, Wild Honey was mentioned a few times. They have a few outposts in Singapore and on a weekday it can still be very busy with locals and tourists alike stopping for a coffee or a long brunch.
The premise is that each dish represents breakfast from a different country around the world. I started with the Canadian
A classic stack of buttermilk pancakes with candied back bacon, hibiscus-berry compote & Canadian maple syrup.
My husband went with the Caribbean
Coconut waffles bound with fresh passion fruit creme patisserie, fresh sliced mango & baby bananas, toasted coconut flakes & passion fruit syrup.
I’d also heard amazing things about their signature drink, Banofee Brulee, it did NOT disappoint!
Overall Wild Honey is an enjoyable but expensive breakfast option if you’re craving a bit of comfort food. I think next time I’d opt for something a bit more adventurous, my husband’s was by far the better choice.
Colony Buffet @ The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
This place is great if you want an opportunity to try, everything. It’s a buffet with both a seafood bar and a dessert station but what makes this place truly fantastic is it’s hot “made to order” stations.
For 78 SGD, approx £45, per adult you can fill your boots with as much as you like, lots of which are local and regional dishes such as Laksa, Fish Head Curry & Chicken Satay, all prepared fresh at the hot food stations.
I’ll be honest, I passed on the Fish Head Curry. I did try a few noodle dishes and the Laksa though which was very well done. As they make it up for you, they are constantly asking you what you like, what intensity of flavour you want. This means that the Laksa I ended up with was perfect for me, and extremely tasty.
My only mild annoyance here was the layout. As it’s utilising an existing space it’s not that great for a buffet. Things are hidden in alcoves and it’s easy to get lost because of the size of the seating area alone. I once went in search of dim sum on one of my many returns to the buffet and came across a cute little juice and smoothie bar I hadn’t seen before.
Despite this, Colony offers a great opportunity to try lots of different local dishes within one sitting, and as it’s a buffet you can pass on the things you aren’t keen on and have seconds of those that you do.
“Satay Street” Boon Tat St
Ok, so I’ve saved the best until last. This isn’t even a venue, it’s a STREET, running between Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre and our Hotel. During the day it’s a normal street, and apart from the small boarded up huts on one side, you wouldn’t think it was anything else. But at night…
At night the road is closed, and the place comes to life! The huts open their shutters early and begin building up their fires in readiness for the evening’s trade. The road is filled with seats and the “tiger girls” arrive to sell beer to the influx of customers, most of which seem to come from the commercial areas surrounding it.
The stalls are numbered and as you arrive and claim a seat you’ll be jumped on by a series of vendors with menus, all claiming their Satay is the BEST! This was true “hawking” at it’s best, so feel free to “haggle” 😛 for around 7 SGD (approx £4) you should be able to get a pretty big pile.
Be sure to take up the offers from the “Tiger Girls” who are constantly trying to force-feed you more beer, again haggle, you can usually get a few dollars knocked off if you go with a “big one”.
Now we didn’t manage all 10 stalls on our trip, although we often stopped off for a few sticks before heading off to dinner. I recommend stalls 5, 6 and 8 as the best. surprisingly they are all different. Sauces vary in spiciness and flavour and even the meats vary in terms of the cuts used and it’s tenderness.
This place ticked all the boxes for me. A local experience, tasty, cheap and fun! Whenever anyone asks me about our Singapore trip, this is usually the one experience I always mention.
Have you ever visited Singapore? Are there any other places you’d recommend? Have you tried any of my favs, I’d love to know what you thought of them.