Before taking my first trip to Singapore, most of the recommendations friends gave were food related. Surprised? Alright I admit, that may in part be due to my known love of food but I’d like to think it’s got more to do with Singapore being heaven for those who are into good food.
For dinner on the night I arrived my friend took me to Newton Food Centre in Newton Circus which is a large hawker market. There are plenty of markets around and some are more expensive than others. The dishes we had were around $4 each which seemed pretty cheap.
We had crisp and flakey vegetable samosas and a dish called carrot cake which is interestingly made with radish – not carrot – and cooked with egg, and an ice kachang for dessert which you need to eat quickly as they melt very fast in the humidity!
Each stand at the hawker market displayed a rating sign for cleanliness and there were plenty of A and B signs. Not sure what C means – maybe those ones aren’t in business anymore!
I really liked an area called Dempsey Hill which was formerly a British Army barracks site and has been transformed into a hub of restaurants, bars and furniture stores. Singapore seems to light up at night so this is the best time to visit.
My friends took me to House for dinner, because “you need to try the fries”. Well they weren’t just fries, they were ‘Fries-tastic’ and come in four flavours – truffle taro fries, pumpkin hazelnut fries, curry mustard fries and carrot fennel fries. WOAH.
If you sat on the balcony you’d think you were bordering a forest – lush green plants and a few squirrels darting up and down tree branches. We shared the pumpkin hazelnut fries and truffle tarot fries (oh so good!), a few fruity cocktails and I had a light mushroom salad for main. For dessert we shared a piece of fudgey chocolate cake and slice of key lime tart.
The service here was really great. In Singapore eateries when you order a bunch of meals they generally come out as they are ready and not in any specific order. Our server at House kept checking on us to see when we wanted the kitchen to start on the next course which I didn’t think much of but my friends said is quite rare. Needless to say this man was tipped accordingly!
TWG has the largest collection of tea in the world and let me tell you – that certainly made it tough picking out one to try. We had the fruit scones tea deal and I ended up with an almond iced tea which tasted much like marzipan.
A few people suggested I try a Singaporean-style fruit and vegetable salad called rojak and I found it at a stall in the food court of ION Orchard.
From what I could see, this version had sliced cucumber and apple, pieces of fried bread (the same long, light bread sticks you get with congee), chilli and a sticky sweet sauce, covered in crushed peanuts. So many different flavours and textures – this was a really interesting dish and I’m so glad I tried it.
Takashimaya is a big Japanese shopping centre on Orchard Road with a fascinating food hall that’s worth checking out. One of my favourite things was watching these cutesy fish-shaped red bean pancakes being made. Kawaii!
From all accounts a mandatory visit is the iconic, beautiful and expensive Raffles Hotel Singapore, home of the Singapore Sling. We visited the outdoor bar after dinner one night for a drink. As nice as these fruity cocktails are they aren’t cheap so you’ll probably only want to do this once to tick off your list – three will set you back just under AUD$100.
Coming up: Part two of my Singapore eats.
Friends, have you been to Singapore? What are your favourite local dishes or places to eat?
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