Singapore is renowned for its diverse food scene and even the most food-obsessed visitor won’t have any difficulty finding all manner of delicious delicacies. A great foodie experience for first-time visitors to Singapore is to visit a hawker centre. Singapore’s version of street food sees several food stalls all housed under one roof, usually representing the different ethnic backgrounds of Singapore’s population – Chinese, Indian and Malay. Wander around and take your pick of the many different types of food on offer, and the usual rule is that if you are in doubt, go for the stall with the longest queue.
There are hawker centres all over Singapore, but three that are popular with visitors are Lau Pa Sat in the heart of the financial district, Maxwell Road Food Centre in Chinatown and Makansutra Gluttons Bay next door to the Esplanade Theater in the Marina Bay district.
Hawker Centre — Photo courtesy of Tiberiu Ana/Flickr
Chilli Crab is the Singapore’s unofficial national dish and is a must-try for visitors. Nearly all the local seafood restaurants dish up these crabs smothered in a tangy, spicy sauce but one of the best places to head to is the East Coast Seafood Centre, located along the road into town from the airport. Here you can choose from several open-air seafood restaurants and enjoy your crabs in an al-fresco breezy atmosphere.
Little India is the obvious area of choice if a hot curry is on your mind. Race Course Road and Serangoon Road are lined with eating options, as are all the side streets in between. If you’re feeling brave then opt for Singapore’s favourite curry dish – Fish Head Curry. Muthu’s Curry on Race Course Road is the self-proclaimed pioneer of fish head curry and is popular among locals and tourists alike, as is the nearby Banana Leaf Apolo where plates have been swapped for banana leaves onto which the curry is sploshed. Other hits include Komala Vilas, famed for its cheap vegetarian dishes and Khansama on Serangoon Road. Be sure to check out the Tekka Market for a glimpse into how the locals shop for their fresh fruit, veg, fish, meat and spices.
Fish Head Curry in Little India — Photo courtesy of Flickr/Pelican
If you’re looking for something rather more refined and money is no object, then you have your pick of some of the world’s best restaurants in Singapore. Several international celebrity chefs have chosen Singapore to showcase their talents – choose from L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Guy Savoy’s self-named restaurant, Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian and Waku Ghin by Tetsuya Wakuda, or check out homegrown favourites such as Les Amis, Iggy’s, Gunther’s and Restaurant ANDRE and be wowed by the local chefs’ culinary prowess.