There’s only so much aeroplane food one person can handle. Luckily, if you break up your long-haul journey with a few days in Singapore, you’ll have the chance to taste some seriously epic food.
So where and what should you eat? We’ve got a few ideas…
10 places to eat during a Singapore stopover
Whether you prefer cheap on-the-go eats from street food stalls, leisurely meals at fine dining restaurants, or western favourites, you definitely won’t go hungry in the Lion City
Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong
The farm-to-table concept is alive and swimming at this restaurant. The exceptionally fresh seafood is sourced from local kelongs – offshore fishing platforms – and farms in Singapore’s waters. The restaurant is cosy, squeezed into a shophouse above Bar Stories. Pro tip: you can order cocktails from downstairs for the perfect drink pairing.
Classic Singapore street food gets a high-end makeover at this Michelin star restaurant, which celebrates local ingredients and flavours. Tasting menus are available at lunch and dinner, with each menu showing the chef’s unique spin on hawker market favourites.
Candlenut is the first Peranakan restaurant in the world to earn a Michelin star. Chef Malcolm Lee’s menu is packed with modern versions of Straits-Chinese classics, based on traditional recipes from his family and childhood. Innovative yet traditional, it’s an ideal introduction to flavoursome Baba-Nyonya cuisine.
Open Farm Community
Locovore cuisine is the order of the day at this restaurant which has its own kitchen garden. Passionate about sustainability, whatever they can’t grow they source from Singapore farmers. Healthy brunches and Mediterranean style food are the star of the menu, so fussy eaters will find something to enjoy. There’s also a sand-pit, lawn games and cheeky chickens to keep mini jet-setters entertained.
Open Farm Community is located in Demspey, a charming and rustic precinct replete with greenery and hipster cafes and restaurants, just minutes away from Orchard Road.
The Coconut Club
If you’re looking for a heaping plate of nasi lemak followed by a refreshing bowl of cendol, this is the place to go. The owners are passionate about these typical Singapore dishes and only use the best coconuts to make them. Crispy chicken, home-made sambal and perfectly fluffy rice have cemented this trendy joint’s reputation as the place to go for comfort food.
Violet Oon Singapore at Jewel
Celebrity chef Violent Oon’s opulent restaurant in Jewel Changi Airport shows off the best of Singapore cuisine. Each dish on her diverse menu is inspired by the likes of Peranakan, Malaysian and even colonial English influences. For a truly eclectic experience, visit the restaurant for a quintessential Singaporean high tea.
Kok Sen Restaurant
For three generations, the Wong family has been serving their Chinese home-cooking to hungry Singaporeans. As well as impressing locals, they’ve also earned themselves a spot on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list. There’s always a queue, so arrive bright and early if you want to sample the rich broths, stir fries and clay pot stews.
Newton Food Centre
Newton Circus replaced the iconic open-air Glutton Square, and a few of the original stalls still stand. Hup Kee Fried Oyster Omelette is one of them, serving some of the best oyster omelettes in the city, while Bee Heng is the place to go for popiah (like a crispy crepe) and satay chicken sticks. Newton Circus is most famous for its barbecued seafood – 30 of the 80 stalls specialise in it, so be sure to try some.
Makansutra Glutton’s Bay
Marina Bay is the backdrop for this perfectly curated hawker market. Each of the stalls at this open air food centre is hand-picked by the Makansutra Food Guide, a well-known local food guide. With space for up to 500 diners at the outdoor tables, it’s the perfect place to sample Singapore street food while soaking up the sights of the sparkling skyscrapers.
Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique
If the thought of freshly churned gelato has your mouth watering, wait until you try the unique flavours at this ice cream parlour. Inspired by Singapore’s lush natural scenery, you can expect exotic scoops like lychee and raspberry, white chrysanthemum and pandan. You can even have it served on a crispy thyme cone for added herbaceousness.
5 local dishes you must try in Singapore
The best part of visiting a new country is trying the food. Singapore has a one-of-a-kind cuisine which combines flavours from China, Indonesia, India and Malaysia – with a touch of Britain mixed in for good measure. While you’re in Singapore, look out for these iconic dishes.
Hainanese chicken rice
This dish is a real Singapore staple. Originally created by immigrants from China’s Hainan province, it’s a simple plate of poached chicken and rice cooked in the broth. Ginger, garlic and pandan leaf give it its fragrant flavour. It’s served with poached cucumber, chilli sauce, a mix of soy sauce and sesame oil for dipping.
If you’re into seafood, you’ll love Singapore’s national crab dish. Served in the shell, the tender stir-fried meat is drenched in a zingy tomato-based sauce flavoured with chilli and thickened with egg. It’s not too spicy, so don’t let the name put you off.
Fried carrot cake
Don’t worry – we’re not popping dessert in the deep fat fryer. This Singaporean special, chai tow kway, is strictly savoury. It’s made from white radish and rice flour with no cream cheese frosting in sight. It’s steamed, cubed and fried up with garlic, eggs and preserved radish. Try the ‘black’ version – fried with sweet soy sauce. Delicious.
Fish head curry
A combination of fragrant Indian spices and the Chinese fish head delicacy, this unique curry sums up Singapore perfectly. Every restaurant has its own version, but all feature a fleshy red snapper head floating among the vegetables and thick sauce. Get in there early and grab the cheeks – they’re the best bit.
Start the day like a true Singaporean with the local take on toast and jam. Two slices of toast are sandwiched together with kaya – a custardy coconut jam. It’s usually served with a couple of soft-boiled eggs and a steaming cup of coffee.