Singapore is a vibrant island which has, over time, become a melting pot of food culture from all around Asia. The cuisines found here show us how Singapore’s ethnic diversity influences the food people eat.
This is probably one of the few places not just in Asia, but in the world, that’s influenced by so many cultures and ethnicities at the same time. There are flavors of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, and various other cultures in the food, with differentiating qualities and tastes.
Apart from visiting the beautiful landscapes and museums, there are two things which you cannot miss when you are in Singapore–shopping and food. To make the second bit a little easier for you, we’ve listed out some of the best food experiences you should try when you visit Singapore. Happy travels.
1. Take Insta-worthy food photos at Boat Quay.
Connecting Singapore’s party hub Clarke Quay to the Central Business District, Boat Quay offers everyone a wide selection of restaurants, from French Absinthe or the North Indian Kinara, the choices are endless. Once you’ve decided where you want to dine, you can sit back and enjoy your meal by the Singapore River, a great opportunity for all the enthusiastic foodstagrammers with beautiful backdrops for some great #foodintheair.
During the day, this place is swarmed with tourists and businessmen alike, then at night it lights up with Singapore’s lively nightlife.
2. Dine in the sky in the Singapore Cable Car.
Singapore Cable Car is one of Singapore’s biggest tourist attractions for all cable car enthusiasts.
The most interesting thing about this cable car ride is that it comes with an additional package–a romantic dinner for 2. The special treatment begins right after you board, with a 90-minute food journey while the cable car makes 3 round trips between Mount Faber and Sentosa.
Enjoy looking down on Singapore while you enjoy a dinner most people only dream of.
3. Drink coffee or tea at a kopi tiam.
A kopi tiam (or kopitiam) is a traditional coffee shop native to Southeast Asia. The term kopi is a Malay term for “coffee” and tiam is a Hokkien term for “shop” – get it?
Kopitiams can be found in almost all residential areas in Singapore. Some of the most famous kopi tiams are Kim San Leng, Tong Ah Eating House, and Killiney. Along with coffee and tea, the shops generally serve breakfast items like kaya toasts, various egg dishes and other snacks as well.
4. Enhance your sense of taste at NOX – Dining in the Dark.
Imagine eating an entire meal with your eyes closed. Don’t you think you’d have an enhanced sense of taste, creating an even better food experience?
Well, that’s what the founders of NOX – Dine in the Dark felt, too. Apart from giving you a tantalizing food experience, the restaurant works to raise awareness for the dining struggles blind people deal with.
Make sure to go in a group if you’re afraid of the dark…
5. Dine at the Singapore Flyer.
The Singapore Flyer has been a defining part of the Singapore skyline for a very long time now. Claimed to be the world’s first full butler sky dining experience, the Flyer will let you see Singapore and its stunning views from inside Asia’s largest Giant Observation Wheel.
6. Have drinks with your friends while admiring Peranakan architecture at Emerald Hill.
Emerald Hill is a conservation area in Singapore and the restored Peranakan shophouses here have become a very important part of the city’s nightlife. Located right next to the glitzy Orchard Gateway, Emerald Hill offers a completely contrasting environment with its small, old-world, charming shophouses-come-bars.
This place starts buzzing when the bars open at 5 pm, so head here for a night out with friends.
7. Dine at the top of a “supertree” at IndoChine Supertree.
IndoChine SuperTree is a restaurant at the top of the central and tallest Supertree at Gardens by the Bay. The best time to head here would be for dinner since all the trees light up, creating a truly dining view.
8. Eat at a hawker center like the locals.
You can’t truly experience Singapore’s food scene unless you’ve had a meal at a small hawker centre. Hawker centers are nothing but Singaporean food courts that kind of look like kopitiams, but bigger.
Hawker centers are the go-to spot for locals’ daily meals, with some of the cheapest food you’ll find in Singapore.
If you’re someone who loves to experience a place’s food and culture like its natives, then this is one Singapore food experience you just cannot afford to miss. Read about the best hawker centres in Singapore here.
9. Taste Indian spices in Little India.
If you’re travelling to Singapore but want to experience a little bit of the Indian food and culture, then head to Little India.
Hawker centers in Little India serve food cooked with the best Indian spices, so you get to experience the most authentic Indian flavors in Singapore.
10. Eat candies at Sentosa and feel like a kid again.
Okay, there is no way you will not be planning a day’s trip to Sentosa – the whole idea behind it is to let loose. Everything you do here is going to be crazy fun, extremely adventurous and sure to give you an adrenaline rush.
Have some candies at Candylicious to get a sugar rush and feel like a lil’ kid. After that go enjoy Skyline Luge, iFly Singapore, Megazip Adventure Park and everything else that Sentosa has to offer. Then later relax at the beach. Sounds like the perfect day.
11. Explore history at Lau Pa Sat.
This one is for all the history buffs. Lau Pa Sat (also known as the Telok Ayer Market) is a hawker center with rich history behind it.
The market’s unique octagonal, cast iron structure was designed by James MacRitchie and was shipped from Glasgow by P&W MacLellan.
It is close to the Central Business District, so many office employees drop by for lunch. The best thing about this place, apart from its history, is the number of options it offers.
12. Taste authentic Chinese food in Chinatown.
Chinatown is essentially a flea market where you can shop for souvenirs, but all that shopping can be draining…
So when you get tired, head to the Chinatown hawker center and grab some authentic Chinese grub – it’ll feel like you’re actually in China.
13. Experience food and luxury at the Marina Bay Sands Skypark.
Sometimes it feels like Marina Bay Sands is the second name for luxury.
Located on the 57th floor, the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark gives you a 360° view of Singapore. The main attractions of the SkyPark are the Sands SkyPark Observation Deck and the Infinity Pool.
After you’ve had your share of fun and exploration on the deck and the pool, you can head to the restaurants or bars at the SkyPark–namely Ku Dé Ta (which has recently been renamed Ce La Vi) and Sky On 57–for one of the finest views of Singapore and Marina Bay while in the lap of luxury.
14. Have Indian food at Kailash Parbat or Prata Wala.
Kailash Parbat’s outlets are famous for their chaat, chhole and pav bhaji.
Prata Wala is one of the biggest chain outlets for North and South Indian food in Singapore. The wide varieties of pratas offered are also a huge hit.
15. Eat, shop, and then eat some more at Holland Village.
Holland Village is a location in Singapore famous for its shopping and dining options.
You can find all the famous food chain outlets here, ranging from Subway to Häagen-Dazs, as well as a kopitiam and a food court. Within the same neighborhood, you can also find some of the most famous bars in Singapore, making Holland Village a one-stop-shop for all of your foodie needs.
16. Eat with the locals at Withlocals Singapore.
If you’re traveling to Singapore for the first time and are looking for a true local experience, you should check out Withlocals.
This one is totally worth a shot, especially for solo travelers. Bonus: you can make some friends for life.
17. Visit an Old Chang Kee Outlet.
Old Chang Kee is not just named that, it actually is very old.
It was established in 1956, making it older than free Singapore (Singapore is celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence this year). Old Chang Kee specializes in puffs, like the Curry’O and the Chilli Crab’O. And you’ll see plenty of kids munching on their OnStiks, which come in flavors such as the fish ball OnStik, the chicken wrap OnStik, the spicy squid OnStik, ad more.
This brand is a favorite among the locals.
18. Try out all the signature Singapore dishes.
Some of the most famous dishes of Singapore are Chilli Crab, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Lemak Laksa, Fried Carrot Cake, Kaya Toast and Ice Kacang.
Chilli Crab is a native Singaporean dish which is mostly popular in Singapore and Malaysia, and is an absolute must-try. You should try the traditional Chilli Crab curry at Roland Restaurant or go for the Chilli Crab’O puffs at any Old Chang Kee outlet.
Hainanese Chicken Rice is considered as one of Singapore’s national dishes. In Singapore, every place, from hawker stalls to the high-end restaurants, sells Hainanese Chicken Rice, so it’ll be easy for you to find it when you go food hunting.
Laksa Lemak is a variant of the dish Laksa, and is unique to Singapore. Laksa is essentially a Peranakan dish with noodles, prawns, and chopped vegetables, and is made with a creamy and rich coconut gravy. You should head to the Katong region for the best Laksa in Singapore.
Ice Kacang is the native ice cream sweet dish you should top it all off with.
19. Take a food tour if you’re too lazy to find places on your own.
If you think you’re too lazy to plan out anything except the hotel you’ll stay at, then these guys might be pretty damn helpful. Food Tour Singapore, as the name suggests, is an organization that arranges food walks through Singapore.
These food walks are perfect for all those impromptu travelers, and is a great way to make some local and foreign friends.
20. Go to the Singapore Food Festival.
The Singapore Food Festival is a month long extravaganza held from the end of June to the end of July, or from July to August, just in time for your summer vacation. The festival is organized by the Singapore Tourism Board and displays various food favorites that have contributed in making Singapore’s cuisine what it is today.
The other events part of this annual festival are weekly events, thematic celebrations, island-wide competitions and various culinary workshops.
21. Dine and relax at Satay by the Bay.
So you’ve planned to spend your day at Gardens by the Bay. You’re suddenly starving but do not want to spend too much money at the expensive restaurants nearby. Don’t you worry, Singapore’s always got you covered.
Satay by the Bay gives you a fine dining experience at a reasonable price, with a view that is pretty much priceless. Also, the Satay’s close proximity to Marina Barrage makes it the most suitable location for you to rejuvenate before heading over to the Barrage for a kite-flying session, or just sitting and relaxing as you watch the sun set on the Singapore skyline.
22. Eat a durian.
Durian is a fruit native to Southeast Asia and is considered the “king of fruits” by locals. Widely sold in Singapore, it is deeply loved and deeply hated by the Singaporeans: deeply loved because of its taste, and deeply hated because of its disgusting smell. The resentfulness goes all the way to the extent that durians are not even allowed inside the Singapore MRT (Mass Rapid Transit).
But if you manage to get over the smell, do give this fruit a try. Only then you’ll understand why some people love it so much, despite its odor.
23. Wait in a line outside Nakhon Kitchen.
Nakhon Kitchen is the one of the most loved Thai diners around.
You will always find this place jam-packed during peak hours, and there will always be a long line of people waiting for their turn. The long wait and the appetizing Thai food served after that is all worth it. The rates are pretty affordable, too.
Go where the local crowd is (hint: here), and you’ll always find yourself pleasantly surprised.
24. Explore Singapore’s street food scene.
Singapore street food consists of everything the country is about – kopitiams, hawker centers, food stalls, and small shops. These stalls present a different side of Singapore – the local, grounded, inexpensive, but still as charming Singapore. These are the places, apart from the cabs (which have really friendly and chatty drivers) where you can chat with the local people and have them treat you like a long lost friend.
There is also a growing cult of Thai street food lovers in Singapore right now, so make sure to try some when you visit Singapore.
25. Drink Tiger Beer at a beach or local pub.
You can top your food experience off with Tiger Beer. Why Tiger Beer? Well, because Tiger Beer is Singapore’s first locally brewed beer. Buy a few bottles or cans and go relax at a beach or a pub as your trip comes to a close. Cheers!