Singapore is unlike any other place in Asia. It’s a city with a lot of unusual rules: littering is illegal here, as is chewing gum, spitting, not flushing the toilet, singing in public, and feeding the pigeons. But as a result, it’s an extremely clean and very wealthy city, so well-maintained that it’s often compared to Disneyland. Singapore was recently featured in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” where the city was as much a character as the A-list actors. It’s a stunning and sparkling city, one that is extremely forward-thinking and sustainable.
But you’re here to find out where to eat! While Singapore has a plethora of fine-dining options, the most flavorful bites in town can be found in the hawker centers, where each stall typically specializes in one specific dish, such as Hainan chicken rice, or satay, or noodle soup, or dumplings. Anders first visited Singapore in 2016, and has returned two additional times to eat his way through the city. He was Kaitlin’s food guide on her first visit in June 2019, when Singapore hosted The World’s 50 Best restaurant ceremony. We ate at Anders’ old favorites, and tried a ton of new spots. Together we have compiled all our Singapore favorites in this foodie map. You’ll find coffee shops, natural wine bars, high-end restaurants, and, of course, the best hawker stalls in town. Navigate the map easily either by scrolling through the list on the right or by clicking the points on the map. Places are listed in geographical order.
Dave Pynt's chef's counter/modern Australian BBQ restaurant, Burnt Ends, is a carnivore's paradise! We started decadently with "steak frites" and "fish and chips," two small bites of crispy fat-fried potato topped with raw beef or fish, and a dollop of caviar. Those were easily two of our best bites in Singapore, and our meal at Burnt Ends was just getting started. We continued on with quail eggs, beef marmalade on toast, King crab topped with fresh truffles – amazing flavors packed in every dish! We finished our meal with a 64-day dry-aged beef rib and a pork tomahawk. Don't forget to order bone marrow buns on the side! And if you're feeling thirsty, they've got loads of natural wine to help you wash all that meat down. Burnt Ends is ranked no. 59 on The World’s 50 Best restaurants (2019).
Potato Head, the literal cornerstone of Chinatown, located on the corner of Keong Saik Road and Teck Lim Road, is the Singapore branch of the famous Bali beach club. Although they share a name, that's pretty much where the similarities end. Potato Head Singapore (PHS) stretches over three stories. 90s hip-hop is blasting over the speakers at the burger bar Three Buns downstairs. Elegance and decadence reigns at Studio 1939 – a colonial-style cocktail bar on the 2nd floor. Last but not least, PHS also has a rooftop tiki bar with a great view over Chinatown towards the People's Park Complex.
While in Singapore, you must pay a visit to this Ernest Hemingway-themed speakeasy – if you can find it! Each cocktail is named after one of Hemingway's novels – our favorites were "The Sun Also Rises," with coconut oil fat-washed applejack, curry leaf-infused gin, sweet vermouth sous-vide pandan leaves, and lime kaffir, and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," with marshmallow-flavored gin, lacto-fermented raspberry, citrus, and, get this – freshly shaved Gruyère cheese. Their original location The Old Man Hong Kong won no.1 on Asia's 50 Best Bars (2019).
When you travel as much as we do, it can be challenging to live out of a suitcase. Rarely have we felt as relaxed and at home as we felt at KēSa House. We stayed here an entire week, and really felt like we had enough time to settle in. We stayed in an Entertain room and loved having our own private terrace – this amenity truly made us feel at home, whether we were reading a book and taking in the sun, or having friends over for some natural wine. But it's the beautifully-designed common areas like the living room, the fully-equipped kitchen with an espresso machine and sparkling water on tap, and the self-service laundry room (free for guests!) that really make you feel like you can stay for a while. KēSa House is a string of old shophouses – the historic exterior has been preserved, while the inside has been beautifully renovated. It's conveniently located in the heart of Chinatown, right next to Burnt Ends and Potato Head Singapore. A great base to explore Singapore hawker centers as well as restaurants.
Our favorite pastries in Singapore can be found at a hole-in-the-wall bakery in Chinatown! The "Sor Hei" bun was our favorite: a beautiful butter and chocolate croissant swirl, studded with chocolate chips, and made to look like strands of hair swept into the shape of a hair bun. Their house-made kaya (coconut jam) is also amazing – the best we tasted in Singapore.
Cure means to "to take care of" and that is exactly what Chef Andrew Walsh aims to do with his flagship restaurant. We didn't expect to try modern, elevated Irish cuisine for the first time in Singapore, but Chef Walsh does a great job of balancing local flavors with his Irish roots. Our favorite dish was the white asparagus with burrata ice cream, caviar, and Parmesan custard. They have natural wine here – in fact, we had a bottle of Gut Oggau Winifred with our dinner. Save room for the "Basque cheesecake" with hay smoked ice cream.
Neon Pigeon is a cool cocktail bar and modern izakaya on Keong Saik Road in Chinatown. The restaurant is named after Tokyo, also known as the "Neon City," and pigeons, which are an urban phenomenon. Most drinks have Japanese flavors like wasabi, shiso, and sake. From the food menu, we tried Tokyo hummus made from edamame (delicious), soft shell crab bao (tasty, but the buns were a little dense), and crispy smoked potatoes with togarashi.
Bar Cicheti is the smaller and more centrally located little sister of Italian restaurant Cicheti. This place is all about pasta and natural wine. Hearty dishes with handmade pasta, like cacio e pepe or pappardelle with ragu, cooked by chef Lim Yew Aun and paired with wines selected by sommelier Ronald Kamiyama. On my first visit, I spotted both Gut Oggau and Frank Cornelissen on the menu, and a rosé I’d tried before, by the French/Danish producer Anders Frederik Steen called «An Artist Formerly Known as Peach". The rosé was even better than I remembered, so we had to come back a second time, and on this visit we ordered the pasta, too.
The name Esquina means corner in Spanish, and this little tapas restaurant is located on the corner of Teck Lim Road and Jiak Chuan Road in Chinatown. Think modern and playful tapas dishes with influences from molecular gastronomy. You can go à la carte or sit back and let the chefs spoil you with their tasting menu. Signatures include the chorizo croquetas with piquillo mayo and the Spanish nigiri – a Bacalao brandade (salted cod) topped with roasted bell pepper disguised like a Japanese piece of sushi. We enjoyed the snacks more than the big plates, but the meal ended on a high note with two signature desserts – sangria sorbet and BBC (beer, banana, and caramel).
Passionate beans-to-bar chocolatier and ice cream maker Travis Goh makes some of the best ice cream flavors we've tasted. Perfect scoops with natural flavors of pure ingredients. We tried lavender, coconut, blue milk (butterfly pea), black sesame, and caramelized strawberry. Another flavor that was still in the test kitchen was one of Anders' all-time favorites ice creams – milk ice cream with chocolate chips & orange zest. We can't even imagine how good the seasonal black truffle ice cream is – sadly, we missed it by a few weeks. Seriously, don't miss this place when in Singapore.
A piece of Scandinavia has made its way to Southeast Asia at Björn Frantzén's Zén. Much like its sister restaurant in Stockholm, your experience at Zén is a multi-leveled experience – here it takes place in a three-story colonial-style mansion, the iconic all-white building that used to house restaurant André. You start and end with bites in a lounge, but instead of sitting at a counter in an open kitchen, here you're seated at tables on the second floor of the house. Signatures from Frantzén like the decadent Truffle French Toast and the caviar-topped chawanmushi are on the menu here, too, but Zén has a signature style that's all it's own, incorporating lots of Asian produce.
Nylon Coffee Roasters is the best coffee shop we've come across in Singapore. The name NY-LON comes from combining the words New York and London, which is where owners Dennis Tang and Jia Min Lee previously lived and worked. These guys source their beans directly from farmers, visiting their suppliers regularly, and work to improve fair trade and sustainable farming. Located on the ground floor of one of the public housing blocks in Everton Park near Chinatown, you should go here when you crave that lighter roasted, Nordic style of coffee prepared either using Aeropress or V60. A lighter roast means less bitter and burnt flavor, which makes it great to enjoy as an iced coffee as well. Perfect when the humidity is getting to your head, which, let's face it, it does most of the time in Singapore.
The Chinatown Complex Food Centre on Smith Street is an essential hawker center in Singapore and the largest in terms of the sheer number of stalls (260). Head upstairs to the second floor to find the food stalls. You'll notice that the place is divided into different color codes for ease of navigation. We've mostly explored the green and red areas.
It doesn't get much simpler than a fried dough stick (youtiao), but we just love these deep-fried Chinese crullers from #02-163 Chinatown Fried Dough Stick as well as their slightly sweeter butterfly-shaped doughnuts. Although not the traditional way to enjoy them, we like to use them to soak up all the sauce from the dumplings from stall #02-135.
Michelin Guide-recommended hawker stall #02-135 Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao in the Chinatown Complex Food Centre has some of the best dumplings ever. Apart from the Xiao Long Bao (no. 1), you want no. 2 Pan-fried Dumplings and no. 9 Szechuan Spicy Wonton. Remember extra chili sauce for the first one!
Another must-try at the Chinatown Complex Food Centre is hawker stall #02-079 Shi Xiang Satay. Probably the best pork and chicken satay we've ever had. The secret lies in the peanut sauce, which has an addition of pineapple purée. Amazingly delicious!
Smack in the middle of Chinatown, you find the well-known Maxwell Food Centre. Without a doubt, most famous for stall #01-10/11 Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, but the neighbor is almost as good (#01-07 Ah Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice). We've also heard good things about #01-05 Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake, which is a dish you don't see often, but have unfortunately yet to try it ourselves. Head over to Hum Jin Pang for a chance to fry your own Chinese dough fritters (youtiao)! Most stalls here are very cheap, and thus popular with the locals, but that also means they sell out of the good stuff early.
1 Kadayanallur Street, #01-10/11 Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore
Look for the longest line at Maxwell Food Centre. It may go around the corner and outside. That's stall #01-10/11 Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice – perhaps the most famous chicken rice vendor in the world. Recognized by locals for years, its fame got elevated to the next level when Anthony Bourdain recommended it; it has also been helped by a Bib Gourmand rating in the Michelin Guide. This dish is extremely simple – fragrant rice, tender chicken, and a mild, aromatic sauce – but that also makes it dependent on each element being perfect. Pro tip: ask for the chicken without the skin.
Centrally located on Maxwell Road, near Chinatown in CBD (the Central Business District), Amoy Street Food Centre is one of Singapore's busiest hawker stall centers. Since opening in 1983, the lunch crowd here has consisted mostly of workers from nearby offices, and the majority of the food stalls are only open for lunch to cater to this group. Famous stalls include #01-42 Hong Kee Beef Noodle, #01-39 A Noodle Story, and #01-21 J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff. Go early to secure the favorites!
7 Maxwell Road, Amoy Street, #01-21 Food Centre, Singapore
Most hawker stalls make one thing only, but make it very good, and that can certainly be said about stall #01-21 at Amoy Street Food Centre – J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff. A multi-layered, light, and flaky pastry filled with various fillings. We tried the spicy potato puff, which was the only one left, but we also heard that the sardine puff is supposed to be great. J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff has been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide.
Amoy Street Food Centre 7 Maxwell Road Stall #01-39, Singapore
Our favorite hawker stall, A Noodle Story, can be found at the Amoy Street Food Centre. If you see a long line, you're in the right place. The signature dish is a Singapore-style ramen with less broth than a typical Japanese ramen, topped with steamed and fried wontons, a soy marinated egg, pork rib (char siew style), and a tornado shrimp (a fried shrimp wrapped in potato). Pro tip: arrive close to when they open (11:30am) to snag a bowl before they sell out. A Noodle Story has been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide.
Shin Gi Tai is a next level speakeasy cocktail bar. In true Japanese style, you need to be recommended by a friend and get the bartender's private number to secure a booking. At least, that's how head barman Anthony Zhong started out, but today it's a little easier to get in (hint: the number is listed on their Instagram page). Still, Shin Gi Tai is mostly an industry hangout. There is no menu – you have to explain what you want. Cocktails are classical and precise and without any fuss.
Native is one of the most sustainable bars in the world, using only regional ingredients, foraged by head bartender Vijay Mudaliar and his team around Singapore. Expect local produce like jackfruit, cinnamon, and turmeric leaf. They also work hard on reducing waste in highly creative ways, including the creation of wall art. Our favorite cocktail on the menu was the Pineapple Arrack, made from the Sri Lankan coconut distill Ceylon Arrack and pineapple. Native is currently no. 12 on the World's 50 Best Bars list (2019).
You may have heard of Chef Rishi Naleendra and his restaurant Cheek Bistro (formerly Cheek by Jowl), but have you been to his latest venture? At Cloudstreet, the centerpiece of the restaurant is the U-shaped counter where you can watch all the action in the open kitchen. Sri Lankan food is in the spotlight, and meal highlights included the charred venison with pickled cashew, umeboshi, and zucchini, as well as the local stout and licorice bread which was glazed with molasses, and served with whipped butter. One of our favorite meals from our most recent trip!
Look for the logo – it resembles an upside down crown joined with a rectangle. You'll see it on the walls of Ann Siang Hill and know you're on the right path. The logo is also visible above the entrance to Operation Dagger – a speakeasy cocktail bar hidden underground. This cool bunker-like venue with a lightbulb cloud in the ceiling and bar walls covered in medicinal jars would almost be worth a visit just to see the site. But the drinks are also great. You can even order an omakase tasting menu here if you’re hungry. It’s no wonder that Operation Dagger is currently no. 30 on the World's 50 Best Bars-list (2019).
If you like the funk, head to Le Bon Funk, home of the good kind of wines in Singapore. Located on the busy and bustling Club Street, this natural wine bar and restaurant stand out from the crowd of loud and rowdy bars further up the road. Here, the playlist is as meticulously crafted as the wine and food menu, guaranteeing a great vibe. Canadian chef-owner Keirin Buck used to work as sous chef at Burnt Ends. His cooking style is reminiscent, but has its own signature style. Don't miss the cedar jelly and foie gras toast, the beef tongue and gribiche sammy, or the birch syrup tart, if available.
A little ding for your dong! That's what the soap says in the toilets of restaurant Ding Dong in Singapore. This eclectic dining room offers a playful take on traditional Asian cuisine with inspiration from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, and Korea, in an eclectic dining room setting. Signature dishes include the Ding Dong Scotch eggs with pickled cucumber and nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce) and rice noodle roll with pork sausage and bean sprout salad. We recommended starting with one of the house cocktails – all crafted with Southeast Asian flavors.
A common breakfast snack in Singapore and Malaysia is "kaya" – a jam made of coconut milk, sugar, and egg. The coconut jam is generously lathered on top of toast with butter. We tried the steamed and the regular kaya toast at Ya Kun, one of the original vendors of this Southeast Asian specialty. Singaporeans like it with an egg on the side, but we can do without it.
Climb high above the treetops at the Supertree Skyway, where you can see sweeping views of the city and the iconic Marina Bay Sands. Stop to smell the flowers at the Flower Dome, the world's largest greenhouse where plants are always in bloom. And explore the enchanting Cloud Forest, where a huge glass dome encapsulates a giant green mountain covered in flowers. You can walk on the bridges that encircle the tall structure, allowing you to see the greenery up close while the waterfalls trickle down around you. Gardens by the Bay is an oasis hidden in plain sight in the bustling city of Singapore. One of the most breathtaking tourist attractions we've ever seen, and a definite highlight of our trip.
Parts of Singapore's city center (like the area around Chinatown where a lot of the best restaurants are located) are definitely walkable. But if you want to get around faster and travel further without getting into a car on a nice sunny day, grab a scooter from Telepod like we did. The steps could not be easier, just download an app, register an account and bank card, scan your scooter and start scootin'. Telepod has parking spots all over the city.
The epitome of "farm to table" – Chef Han Liguang of Labyrinth took us to see exactly where he gets the ingredients for his restaurant. From floating fish farm ("kelong") to a hydroponic farm growing corn, smaller herbs, and flowers, we got to taste most of the produce fresh on the farm and then again on our plate hours later at the restaurant. Singapore is only 1% farm land, so Chef Han is really leading the way in the industry in terms of locally sourcing ingredients.
1 St Andrew's Road, #01-04 National Gallery, Singapore
We had to check out the new “best restaurant in Asia” while in Singapore! Chef Julien Royer's restaurant might be a tribute to his grandmother Odette, but his cooking is anything but old school French. One of our favorite dishes at Odette was the rosemary-smoked organic egg. This dish has quite the presentation – a smoking carton of eggs arrives at your table, then one of the eggs is poured into the smoked potato syphon in front of you, and finally you get to mix it all together. Yolk porn! Odette got its third Michelin star shortly after our visit and is ranked no. 1 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants (2019).
2 Stamford Road Swissôtel, Level 70 The Stamford, Singapore
British cuisine is redefined at Kirk Westaway's JAAN, ranked no. 32 on Asia's 50 Best restaurants (2019). The food here is just as beautiful as the setting, at the top floor of Swissôtel The Stamford, the dining room overlooks the breathtaking Marina Bay. JAAN by Kirk Westaway is the Krug ambassador in town, so all the snacks are paired with Krug champagne, naturally. Many of the dishes give a playful nod to Chef Kirk's British roots, including the "English Garden" and "Pimms in the Park."
Wine RVLT, short for wine revolution, is the number one spot for natural wines in Singapore. The selection is impressive, with a lot of our favorites like Gut Oggau, Partida Creus, Jean-Pierre Robinot, and Claus Preisinger. In addition to great drinks, Wine RVLT offers simple dishes like beef tartare with sourdough croutons, white asparagus with smoked egg yolk and truffle, pappardelle pasta with crab, or the off-menu "Big Mac" patty melt.
Red Star is one of the last surviving pushcart dim sum restaurants in Singapore, where the old aunties still walk around the restaurant with their food trolleys filled with different classics like siew mai, char siew bao, fried wontons, BBQ pork pies, and crab and mango rolls. The latter is our favorite. Grab the best ones before they are gone! You can also order specific items to the table by filling out a small yellow paper menu. Remember, apart from around-the-clock restaurants like Swee Choon, dim sum is mostly enjoyed at breakfast and lunch. If you go here in the evening, it's a completely different menu.
Tiong Bahru Market is one of the most famous hawker centers in Singapore and caters to a large breakfast and lunch crowd. The food hall was built in 1955 and is located in a residential area slightly outside the city center. Try one of the center's many sugar cane juice and coffee (kopi) stalls. We prefer to order Kopi C Siu Tai, which is coffee with milk and sugar, but less sweet than they normally serve it. Classic dishes at Tiong Bahru include the hokkien mee from #02-01 Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee, the chwee kueh from from #02-05 Jian Bo Shui Kueh, lor mee from #02-23 178 Lor Mee, and kaya bun from #02-58 Mr Bakery. Better go early before they sell out!
Dating back to 1958, stall #02-05 Jian Bo Shui Kueh is one of the most well-known and unique hawker food stalls in Singapore. The dish they specialize in is called shui kueh (also known as chwee kueh) and is a steamed rice cake with a watery and glutinous texture, topped with oily preserved radish (chye poh) and served with chili sauce. While the dish is not much to look at, it's oh-so-delicious.
Restaurant Bincho is a contemporary Japanese yakitori restaurant located in the back of the 70-year-old kopitiam (traditional coffee shop) Hua Bee (featured in the 1995 movie Mee Pok Man). The entrance to this hole-in-the-wall speakeasy is through a lit up back door, next to the trash cans, under an array of air conditioning vents, in the dark alley behind the mee pok shop. Through a small hatch in the door, we could get a glimpse of the industrial-looking restaurant on the other side. Inside, we were seated at the counter right in front of the action (highly recommended if you can book it). We selected the omakase menu, and chef Asai Masashi whipped up one amazing chicken dish after the other, using every part of the animal. Flames from the binchō-tan grill, using traditional Japanese white charcoal, often reached all the way to the ceiling.
Our favorite part about staying at the Mandarin Orchard was the club lounge on the 39th floor of the hotel. It used to be a revolving restaurant, and while it no longer spins, it still boasts a 360 degree view of Singapore. While staring at the skyline, you can enjoy food all day, from the breakfast buffet in the morning to the afternoon tea to the cocktail hour in the evening. Endless food with the best view in town. We also escaped the Singapore humidity by diving into the Mandarin Orchard's outdoor pool.
Things are heating up in Singapore at Shisen Hanten, the two Michelin-starred Szechuan restaurant inside the Mandarin Orchard hotel. We especially loved the Dan Dan noodles, the Szechuan popcorn chicken, and the mapodoufo.
Imperial Treasure is your go-to place for traditional whole-roasted suckling pig and Peking duck. The Paragon shopping center location is said to be the best. Remember to book a table and pre-order the Beijing-style roasted duck and roasted boneless suckling pig with more than 24 hours notice. You can order half the animal if you are not a big group to avoid both food and money waste. Next time, we want to try the version of suckling pig that is stuffed with glutinous rice!
Laksa is a must-eat when in Singapore, and the very best version is found at Sungei Road Laksa, a hawker stall inside Gourmet Street Coffeeshop. The shop is operated by rather grouchy uncles and aunties, and a big sign reads: “No photography. No video recording.” In your bowl, you’ll find a light and mild-tasting charcoal-cooked laksa broth topped with cockles, sliced fishcakes, chili paste, Laksa leaves, and bee hoon (rice vermicelli) noodles, cut short so that you can enjoy the whole thing with a spoon and without chopsticks (another sign reads: “No chopsticks”). Finally, a third sign reads: "Declaration. There is no other branch for Sungei Road Laksa." So make sure you are on Jalan Beseh, Block 27, which is the correct address.
Soothing our hunger is rarely an issue in Singapore. Swee Choon Tim Sum is our go-to spot for late-night dim sum – open almost 24/7! The place has been around since 1962 and is quite an institution in Singapore. Grab a table, check off your order on their paper sheet menu, and wait for the party to start. It doesn't take long before your table starts to fill up with plates. Among the many delicacies, don't miss their delectable salted egg yolk custard buns – steamy, soft buns with a hot, runny yolk sauce inside. Other favorites include the prawn and banana fritter (yes, the combo works!), the xiao long bao (soup dumpling), and fried wanton with mayo.
1 Cluny Road, E J H Corner House Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore
Restaurant Corner House is set in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, but maybe the most impressive "Botanica" is the dish Chef Jason Tan serves on his tasting menu – an impressive plate of over 40 vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Some are raw, some are cooked, all are painstakingly and beautifully placed on a plate that's shaped like a leaf. This dish highlights the local, in-season produce; it's a snapshot of what is currently blooming in the city. Many restaurants have a similar dish, but we found this version at Corner House to be the best one we've tried! We also loved the signature "Ode to the Onion" – Chef Jason's tribute to the Cévennes onion that made him fall in love with vegetables again. Onion purée, sous-vide egg & black truffle – what's not to love? Corner House is ranked no. 49 on Asia’s 50 Best restaurants (2019).
Long before it was made famous on Netflix's Street Food, Keng Eng Kee (KEK) was the go-to spot to get your chili crab fix in Singapore. This open-air restaurant isn't much for looks (you're practically sitting on the street in plastic chairs), but don't let that fool you. Put on a bib and plastic gloves, and get cracking. Crabs must be pre-ordered in advance (they will sell out), and while you must try a chili crab, be sure to order a black pepper crab, too. Whereas the chili crab is sweeter (it's served in a sauce based on tomato and egg), the black pepper crab is spicier thanks to its peppery seasoning. Make sure to ask for plenty of the steam buns to soak up the sauce! And be sure to get an order of the coffee-glazed pork ribs – they were our favorites.
We adventured outside of the city for lunch at a local farm, Bollywood Veggies, and its restaurant Poison Ivy (named after Ivy, the activist who runs the farm). We watched a rainstorm while drinking fresh coconuts, and eating Malaysian nasi lemak, jackfruit curry, and banana bread.
Even the airport is stunning in Singapore – the new Jewel terminal at Changi Airport was designed by the creators of Gardens by the Bay. The Jewel has the largest indoor waterfall (the "Rain Vortex"), gardens, a butterfly dome, and all kinds of activities like hedge mazes, canopy climbing in nets above the trees, and a ton of great food vendors. The Rain Vortex also has a show with light effects and music every hour starting at 7:30pm until 12:30am each night.