Like a mirror to the city’s melting pot of ethnic groups, Singapore’s food scene serves up a unique fusion of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan influences in its ever-energetic cuisine. Visitors are just as likely to be satiated on the street as they are in the high-end restaurants, making food exploration a non-negotiable pastime for any visitor. Here are four unique food experiences that deserve a spot on your to-do list.
Almost every street corner in Singapore is brimming with examples of the lively, inviting culinary scene, with high-end eateries to simple street stalls alike drawing crowds of hungry visitors keen to sample the multifarious flavours. Its marketplaces, such as Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre (where Hawker Chan scored a Michelin star for his simply delicious chicken and rice dish), Maxwell Food Centre (a favourite haunt of the late Anthony Bourdain) and Chinatown Food Street offer a fun, al fresco feel to your food trawl.
Where do Singapore’s kitchen creatives pick up their produce? From one of the city’s various “wet markets” – a marketplace spruiking everything from fresh fish to flowers, named so for the constant floor-mopping required after the constant washing of fresh food and cleaning fish. Little India’s Tekka Wet Market is the city’s largest, known for its range of spices, poultry and veggies and Kuriya Japanese Market in Jurong Point Shopping Centre stocks a stunning array of fresh fish. The on-site meal options – sushi, sashimi and other Japanese classics – is another worthy drawcard.
Although recreating the vibrancy of food culture in Singapore could be tough in your own kitchen, the city has a handful of cooking schools to prepare you for the challenge. Palate Sensations has a long-running and extremely popular Tourist Cooking Class which covers the classics (how does whipping up your own chicken rice or Singapore laksa sound?) and social enterprise Food Playground puts knowledgeable seniors and stay-at-home mums in charge of your culturally enlightening classes, tackling Singaporean workforce issues as easily as satay recipes.
The era of dining at your hotel as a ‘last resort’ has well and truly passed. Thanks to the diverse dining scene in Singapore, the city boasts a number of topnotch eateries in the very same complex as premium accommodation. Case in point: at Bras Basah’s Carlton Hotel Singapore, on-site eatery Wah Lok offers the best of traditional Cantonese cuisine crafted from quality produce on its extensive menu. Make a booking for lunch to sample the range of temptingly tasty dim sum.