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AROUND ASIA IN TEN RESTAURANTS: SINGAPORE'S BEST ASIAN DINING



With the makeup of Singapore’s population (predominantly Chinese, Indian and Malay), it is hardly surprising that the majority of restaurants fall into the Asian category. 

 

Chinese restaurants are aplenty, with Crystal Jade Golden Palace dishing up some of the best dim sum in town and offering an elegant setting for a classy evening Cantonese meal. For a romantic al-fresco atmosphere then head up to One Rochester, to dine amongst the foliage at the converted black-and-white colonial bungalow of Min Jiang at One North, where the Peking Duck is not to be missed.

 

If it’s curry you’re hankering after, the Rang Mahal at the Pan Pacific hotel has long enjoyed the reputation as one of Singapore’s most spectacular Indian restaurants, while Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra at Marina Bay Sands is also a sure-fire winner. 

 

For something more distinctly Southeast Asian, the Indochine chain rules the roost, specialising in fusion Southeast Asian/French cuisine. Indochine Waterfront is their most stunning property, where you can dine alongside the river with the CBD skyscrapers towering above you.

 

For more dining with a view, look no further than Singapore’s own celebrity chef Justin Quek’s restaurant Sky on 57 atop the skypark of the Marina Bay Sands hotel complex, which showcases a delectable array of Modern Asian Cuisine. Also within the Marina Bay Sands complex, those with cash to burn can be wowed by Sydney’s most famous chef Tetsuya Wakuda, and his buzzworthy restaurant, Waku Ghin, which dishes up innovative Japanese/European creations. 


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Din Tai Fung


Din Tai Fung is the place to head to for heart-warming noodle soups and delicious dumplings. Started in Taiwan more than 40 years ago, Din Tai Fung has since gained a worldwide reputation, with the New York Times rating it as one of the world's top ten restaurants and the Hong Kong branch earning a Michelin star. There is a wide range of soups, appetisers, dumplings and rice dishes to choose from, but the restaurant is renowned for its Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai meat dumplings), which are meticulously created with 18 intricate folds in each one. No reservations are accepted, so be prepared to queue for up to an hour in peak time. There are eleven further branches throughout Singapore including those in Wisma Atria, 313 Somerset, Marina Bay Sands and Raffles City shopping malls.


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Indochine Waterfront is a fabulous place for out-of-town guests to enjoy dinner with a view. Its al-fresco, fairy-lit dining area makes it a popular location for romantic dinners a deux, while its proximity to the CBD also makes it a popular choice with the business entertaining crowd. Across the river from Boat Quay, its riverside setting allows you to dine while watching the lantern-lit river boats cruise past, watch the lights of the Boat Quay bars reflect in the water and marvel at the sky scrapers towering above you. But it's not all about the view - the menu boasts delicious and innovative dishes with influences from throughout Southeast Asian, particularly Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, many with a French twist. Choose from such delights as Khmer Style Tamarind Seafood Trio, Lemongrass Mussels, Black Pepper Beef with Garlic and Butter and Roast Duck with Lychees and Pineapple.




Helmed by Singapore's very own celebrity chef, Justin Quek, Sky on 57 offers guests a modern take on traditional Asian and local cuisine, with one of the best views in Singapore as a backdrop. Located on the Sands SkyPark on the roof of the Marina Bay Sands complex, Quek presents fine-dining interpretations of traditional favourites, resulting in innovative dishes such as Maine Lobster Hokkien Mee, Wagyu Beef Cheek Rendang and his signature Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao, where he infuses the favourite Asian dumpling with a silky-smooth goose liver. The most sought-after seats are on the outdoor terrace with its unparalleled views across the city.


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Rang Mahal is an upscale Indian restaurant located at the Pan Pacific hotel, and has long enjoyed the reputation as one of Singapore's most spectacular Indian restaurants. Its elegant ambience, attentive waiting staff, extensive wine list and menu of haute Indian cuisine all go to make this a perennial favourite with the well-heeled local community. This is certainly no standard curry house, with dishes such as hot-griddled Tava Scallops drizzled in a green chilli and coconut sauce; Samrkand Prawns, tandoor-roasted filled with crabmeat, young ginger and garlic; Truffle Oil Naan and Roquefort Kulcha all gracing the menu. A great-value buffet lunch features a lavish spread of regional Indian favourites, complete with live cooking stations, every day except Saturday.




For an evening of spectacular fine-dining Indian cuisine, look no further than Punjab Grill by celebrity chef Jiggs Kalra in the Marina Bay Sands complex. His restaurant by the same name has won numerous awards in his native India for its gourmet versions of Punjabi cuisine. Favourites include Tandoori Lobster, Tandoori Duck, Salmon Tikka and four different types of Kebab. The restaurant takes its inspiration from the splendour of India's Maharajas, with abundant glass and high-polish metal combined with plush rich upholstery to give a modern slant on the glamour of Indian royalty. Choose a la carte or indulge in a five course avant-garde degustation menu.




Japanese restaurants are hugely popular in Singapore, and Aoki has managed to stake its claim as one of the best, through its reputation for outstanding Japanese cuisine. The unassuming street entrance makes way to cozy and authentic Japanese surroundings, complete with kimono-clad waitresses who greet you from behind the sliding door, and a sushi counter from which you can watch the chefs in action. Secluded booths allow for a more intimate space in which to enjoy your fine-dining Japanese fare, from sushi and sashimi to sukiyaki, shabu shabu and tempura. Great value set sushi and sashimi lunches are a hit with the local business and lunching-lady crowds.




Tamarind Hill is set within a restored colonial bungalow and exudes a nostalgic and cozy ambience in which to enjoy fine-dining Thai cuisine. Stone steps lead guests through the lush rainforest of Labrador Nature Reserve to reach which enjoys a contemporary setting, while still managing to retain the old charm of the original house. High ceilings are decorated with 4-meter long chandeliers, candle-lit wall lamps and exquisite antiques give the restaurant a rustic-luxe Asian feel. A unique feature is the colonial-style long bar at which to enjoy pre- and post-meal cocktails, such as the signature Pad Thai or King of the Hill. Executive chef Thiti Thammanatr hails from Bangkok, but trained in Canada, and brings a unique Western twist to traditional Siamese specialties. Western techniques and Western ingredients are injected into Thai classics to create dishes such as Grilled Wagyu Sirloin and Foie Gras topped with Green Curry Reduction.


Min Jiang at One North


Housed in a colonial black and white bungalow, this stylish restaurant dishes up high-quality fine dining Chinese cuisine. The modern Chinese interior provides a stylish and refined dining ambience, but it is the timber decked al-fresco garden setting that really sets this restaurant apart from its peers. The restaurant has garnered much of its reputation from its highly acclaimed version of Peking Duck. Prepared according to an ancient Chinese recipe, these 'Legendary Wood Fired Crispy and Juicy Beijing Ducks' are roasted in a custom-made wood-fired oven. Other must-try dishes include Wasabi Prawns, Beef Tenderloin in Black Pepper Sauce, and their famous Durian desserts.




Crystal Jade Golden Palace is the flagship restaurant of the Crystal Jade restaurant group, a Singapore success story that now boasts multiple outlets across Asia. Despite its location in a shopping mall, this fine dining Cantonese restaurant provides a sophisticated setting for a high-quality Chinese meal. The red, black and gold décor with sympathetic lighting oozes class, service is attentive and a lengthy wine list accompanies a comprehensive menu. There's always a buzz at Crystal Jade, as it is hugely popular with families for dim sum lunches at the weekends, but is also a great choice for a business dinner or romantic meal at any time.




Considered by many to be Australia's finest chef, Tetsuya Wakuda's Singapore restaurant Waku Ghin, follows in the footsteps of his famous Sydney establishment Tetsuya's, which has earned him his stalwart reputation. Fine-dining doesn't get much more intimate than this - seating just 25 diners in an evening sitting, the 10-course degustation-only menu features Modern European and Japanese fusion dishes to tempt the most jaded of taste buds. Innovative creations such as Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietre Caviar, or Abalone with Fregola and Tomato are whipped up on the stainless steel teppanyaki grills, while hungry diners look on from their counter-style seating. A sake bar, caviar lounge and an impressive arcing display of the 3,000 bottle wine collection should ensure that an evening at Waku Ghin's is one to remember.


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Meet Marianne Rogerson

Marianne is a freelance travel writer, who has lived in Singapore for six years. She is the author of a travel guidebook to Singapore and has written about Singapore for a range of...  More About Marianne

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