In search of Singapore's best food

From superb street eats to gourmet dining, tuck into one of the world's top food destinations

7 mins
Route: Follow a culinary trail from hawker centres to high-end restaurants
Duration: 2 days

Singaporeans are downright obsessed with food. This fixation can seem disproportionate to outsiders – until you taste what’s on offer. The country’s historical location on key spice trade routes, not to mention its modern amalgamation of different cultures, has left it with a world-class array of eating options.

A fine place to begin whetting your appetite is at one of the main hawker centres – communal food courts where dozens of specialist outlets serve up anything from oyster omelettes to char siu pork noodles. Among the best is the Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown, while more-than-worthy alternatives include Lau Pa Sat and the Tekka Centre. Dishes are inexpensive and delicious, and all stalls are hygiene-rated. One tip: the bigger the queue, the better the meal.

Nightime street snacks at Lau Pa Sat
Nightime street snacks at Lau Pa Sat

There are reportedly more than 40,000 food outlets in Singapore, and some of the most innovative come courtesy of Asian chefs putting a fresh spin on regional cuisine. Now a staple on the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list, Restaurant André is a prime example, combining French influences with Asian ingredients.

Another superb option is Wild Rocket, where the house speciality is‘Mod Sin’ (Modern Singaporean) dishes such as chilli crab linguine.

A tempting fish-head curry
Feeling adventurous? Fish-head curry

International celebrity chefs have also made their presence felt on the island, with the likes of Joël Robuchon and Daniel Boulud opening restaurants. Options for serious foodies are therefore numerous, although be warned that booking well ahead is near-essential for the top places.

If it’s classic everyday Singaporean dishes you’re after, must-tries while you’re here include Hainanese chicken rice, char kway teow (a stir-fried noodle dish) and the iconic chilli crab – a messy but moreish feast.

Also, don't miss Dempsey Hill, an on-trend dining and lifestyle centre based in old British army barracks. There are more than 20 bars, cafés and restaurants on site.

A Tiong Bahru coffee shop
A Tiong Bahru coffee shop

Make it happen...

Fill your senses – and your stomach – by treating Singapore’s streets like a multi-cultural food buffet on Cox & Kings’ A Taste Of Singapore trip (four days & three nights from £795pp).

Start at one of Singapore’s best hawker centres at the Tiong Bahru Food Centre (make sure to try the chwee kueh [steamed rice cakes]). In Maxwell Food Centre pick up treats at Tian Tian Chicken Rice, then head to Joo Chiat in search of vintage desert eatery Sinpopo. Visit Chinatown for local pastries at the Tong Heng Bakery and traditional Singaporean coffee from the Old Nanyang Coffee, while taking in the old Chinese temples along the way.

Main Image: Kampong Glam Crawford Street

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