A shoppers’ paradise it may be but Singapore is every bit a haven for diners too and eating is considered Singapore’s national pastime. Gluttons will be in for a treat and nowhere is its diversity in both culture and cuisine more apparent than in its innumerable hawker food centres which seem to envelop almost every street and shopping mall basement.
Don’t leave Singapore without sampling some of its exotic ethnic dishes which are best enjoyed in the vibrant quarters of the Malay Village, Chinatown and Little India. In addition Singapore has its very own specialties which are often a mix of the best of pan Asian food and you should be able to satisfy yourself for little more than SGD$5.
The city also has a wealth of Chinese, Japanese and Indian delis and cake shops for cheap and delicious snacks on the go. Top quality sushi is reasonably priced and local chefs create modern interpretations of classic dishes that tantalise the tastebuds.
If you really want to splash out there are hundreds of posh bistros and fine dining in the city which are at least the equal of anything you will find back home. Every cuisine is covered from the obscure to the mainstream from posh Italian, cultured French brasseries, Mexican cantinas and even open air Mongolian barbecues.
Recommended Singapore restaurants
Situated on Singapore’s only private island of Keppel Island, Privé is a multi-concept lifestyle venue encompassing a waterfront bar, bakery-café and a modern New York-style restaurant. This is a popular spot for Brunch which is available throughout the week. Dishes like Wagyu Burger keeps chic Singaporeans coming back for more.
Spring Court Restaurant
If you have liking for authentic Cantonese food with bags of character and atmosphere, Spring Court is the place to go. This is Singapore’s longest established eatery, having first opened its doors in 1929. Expect time honoured recipes passed down through four generations of the same family including the famous chili crab clay pot, shark fin soup and huge portions of crispy beef noodles. A little pricier than the competition but for character and history it cannot be bettered.
The decor is a little sterile but that doesn’t stop the weekend crowds turning up in droves to sample authentic (and lethal!) Bavarian ale brewed on site. It attracts city workers, young clubbers and curious sightseers through the night and the atmosphere is always pretty lively. Shows live sports on TV.
This first class cafe and bar has a bistro feel to it with a constrantly-evolving menu featuring fabulous dishes such as braised beef cheek quesadillas, grilled shrimp and sweet onion tacos and marinara puff pastry pizza. A full drinks menu including brilliant cocktails is the cherry on the cake.
The University Club
This delightful restaurant is firmly making a name for itself with a no-nonsense flavour-packed menu of haut cuisine at reasonable prices. Dishes include sweet panna cotta and juicy steaks. There is a comfotable lounge bar here as well.
Another timeless favourite, this enduringly popular restaurant has been serving up spicy South Indian specialties served on banana leaves for over 60 years. It is regularly rated as the city’s finest eatery for vegetarians. With a simple no nonsense decor, the food takes centre stage with authentic eggplant byriani, non meat thalis and a host of freshly baked dhosas, naan bread and pakoras.
Lawry’s the Prime Rib
Located in the swanky Mandarin Gallery mall, this equally sumptuous (and pricey) place is a far cry from your average rib and burger joint. The food is top notch with succulent prime steaks, slow roasted ribs and they do a mean roast lamb and Yorkshire pudding too. The decor is very lavish with huge floor to wall windows overlooking busy Orchard Road. You can drop in for afternoon tea, dine in the main restaurant or book an exclusive private room for a romantic evening for two.
This diminutive European style pavement cafe is a real hidden gem that offers delicious Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare all cooked with Halal ingredients. It is a charming place serving up hummus and meze and tangy Moroccan lamb. Enjoy the wonderful Belly dancing every Saturday night.
This is where traditional age old Cantonese recipes meet colonial style ambience in the lavish St Regis Hotel. The food is worthy of the surroundings and nothing is left to chance with arty presentation and the freshest organic ingredients. The menu is an entertaining read with enticing dishes named ‘Buddha Jumps over the Wall’ broth and radish cake fried in sausage oil.
East Coast Lagoon Food Village
Located in the tropical East Coast Park, this is one of the island’s most vibrant hawker centres and packed out throughout the day and night. There are over 50 stalls serving up a smorgasbord of ethnic goodies from claypot pig trotters, fresh barbecued stingray, sate, Malaysian lakhsa, sushi and spicy Indian curries.
This place will make a big dent in your wallet but is worth the expense if you want to really impress a date. Located on the 70th floor of the swish Swisshotel, the views are to die for. You may have to beg for a window table as they usually get booked out weeks in advance. Expect elegant Chinese and Mediterranean fare with exquisite service and a hushed atmosphere.
You can tuck into an extensive buffet spread with set dishes or ‘all you can eat’ gluttony covering everything from Malay, Chinese, Mexican and European delights. There is lots of choice for seafood lovers, an enticing rotisserie and tempting desserts. Super value for the truly ravenous.
This is arguably the finest spot for authentic Thai and Indonesian on a budget with a particular nod towards fresh seafood. At this popular back packers’ hangout you can enjoy simple nasi goreng and pad thai, tom yum soup and fiery hot ‘Padang’ all you can eat dishes at super cheap prices. Excellent cakes and iced fruit drinks too.