Singapore food tour
Tasting your way through Singapore
A ‘fine’ city, the Lion City, Singapore has been known by many monikers and clichés; sometimes justified, often exaggerated. It can't be denied, however, that for a small country, Singapore punches well above its weight and this is certainly the case when it comes to cuisine.
More than a meal, more than sustenance; food is a mindset in Singapore. Always on the brain, not to mention the tongue, of everyone in the city. In fact, conversations pivot around meals; so much so that it's often used as an icebreaker or a greeting. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked on a semi-regular basis, not - “how are you”- but “eaten yet, or not?” Even by strangers. And, if you’ve got some time to kill, ask your taxi driver for recommendations on the best Nasi Lemak, Laksa or Char Kway Teow in the city. The subsequent conversation is sure to be impassioned, and rightly so; Singaporean’s can be proud of their culinary prowess.
In fact, individual dishes have as much weight and gravitas as any of the city’s more permanent landmarks. Afterall, Singaporeans and Malays were debating the origins of Laksa long before Marina Bay Sands took shape, and fishermen were tucking into their Hokkien Mee when much of Singapore was still an uninhabitable swamp.
To coin another cliché, Singapore is a real melting pot; and one that fuses its varied cultural elements as elegantly as any uncle in a food court might mix ingredients. Bringing together nuances of Chinese, Malay and Indian heritage has created unions of textures and tastes you might never have expected.
Food has a unique way of mirroring the diversity of society, and so it's hardly surprising that Singapore has such a plethora of flavours. To peel back the city’s layers of heritage and culture, all you really need is a knife and fork.
With that being said, here’s a handy itinerary to guide you through Singapore’s culinary charm.
Breakfast - Soft Boiled Eggs & Toast
A staple breakfast in Singapore, half boiled eggs are undoubtedly more appetising than they might sound. This protein-filled pick me up is best paired with a cup of Teh Tarik (pulled tea) or Kopi - the strong local coffee that is sure to fight even the harshest jet lag. Paired with the eggs, you’ll usually enjoy two slices of toast sandwiching a thick lashing of butter. If you’re lucky, this might be Kaya, the sweet coconut jam and another local delicacy.
Accor Plus Tip
From your hotel it won’t be hard to find your nearest Kopitiam (coffee shop); however, if you’re staying at the Swissotel The Stamford then you need only walk downstairs to their restaurant of the same name. You’ll also be able to enjoy up to 50% off your breakfast with your Accor Plus membership.
Lunch - Chicken Rice
Never to be underestimated, this humble meal is the national dish for a reason. The battle for the ultimate chicken rice is won or lost in a few subtle aspects. The rice, cooked in chicken stock; the chilli - a crucial element that adds a sour, spicy and altogether delicious tang to the meal; and finally, the chicken, plump and cooked to perfection. You’ll find this dish all over the city but many regard ‘Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice’ at Maxwell Food Centre to be the creme de la creme.
Accor Plus Tip
Rather than jostling for a table in the food court you can head around the corner to the Sofitel City Centre to sample their take on this classic. Executive Chef Jean Charles has produced an elegant variation on the Singapore staple. Available all day, tuck into their delicious a la carte choices of Asian delights or French favourites. Enjoy your regular Accor Plus dining discount on a la carte dishes for an even more satisfying experience.
Dinner - Laksa
Baba and Nyonya culture come together in a steaming bowl of spicy seafood broth. Sometimes a point of contention between Singapore and Malaysia but whichever you prefer, you’re in for a treat. Stocked with rice noodles, bean sprouts, fish cake, egg, and prawns in a rich coconut broth, this is one dish a foodie cannot miss.
328 Katong Laksa on East Coast Road has been serving hungry mouths for many years and even beat Gordon Ramsey in a cook-off, solidifying their title as one of the best Laksa destinations in the city.
Accor Plus Tip
For a more luxurious and relaxing Laksa experience you can instead head to the famous Feast@East Buffet Restaurant at the Grand Mercure Roxy which is just a stone's throw from 328 Katong Laska. What’s more, you don’t have to stop at Laksa, enjoy any of their many local delights, all for up to 50% your food bill.
Breakfast - Roti Prata
Somehow, it’s difficult to find a more satisfying, filling morning meal than Roti Prata. A hearty curry and soft yet robust flatbread are the perfect pairing. Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy as you tuck into this Indian staple; it’s all part of the experience. Singapore Zam Zam is one of the most famous Indian-Muslim restaurants in the city, and a must visit. Step up your breakfast game by ordering Murtabak, a large Roti Prata, stuff with your choice of meat, egg and onions and served with a mouth-watering curry.
Lunch - Chilli Crab
Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, bursting with flavour, this is a must try when you’re visiting the city. A whole crab cooked to perfection in the rich tomato-based sauce that will leave you fighting over the claws and mopping up everything else with the deliciously soft buns or Mantous that are integral to any good Chilli Crab dish.
Accor Plus Tip
There are many places around the city to get your Chilli Crab fix; however, Kwee Zeen at the Sofitel Sentosa Resort and Spa prides itself on authenticity and a sophisticated atmosphere. When combined with your dining benefit this is one dish you will not forget in a hurry.
Dinner - Satay
Often simple is best and that's certainly the case when comes to Satay. Skewers of chicken, beef or mutton grilled to perfection over open coals and paired with a moreish peanut sauce are the ultimate comfort food.
The end of Boon Tat Street, also known as Satay Street, lies in the heart of the city, next to the famous Lau Pa Sat Food Court. Come evening, the street is closed to traffic and the hawkers set up their BBQs. The rich aroma of grilled meats and coal smoke entice tourists and locals alike so don’t be surprised if you have to look carefully for a spare table.
Accor Plus Tip
The So Sofitel Singapore is ideally located to enjoy many of the city’s finest food offerings, but also it sits on the corner of Boon Tat Street, meaning your satay craving will always be sated. Plus, once you’ve enjoyed your dinner, head upstairs to the So Sofitel pool bar to enjoy a cocktail or two while taking in the city lights and savour the 15% off drinks with your Accor Plus membership.
Optional - Durian
The colloquially named ‘King of Fruit’ is both loved and loathed in equal measure. As its banned from all public transport, don’t expect to find the ‘world’s smelliest fruit’ in your hotel. The closest you might get, if you’re so inclined, is the Durian Ice Cream that available at Ellenborough Market Café’s extensive buffet at the Swissotel Merchant Court; or, for an even more unique dessert, try the Fried Durian Ice Cream from the Jia Wei Chinese Restaurant at the Grand Mercure Roxy.
Singapore Food Tour
Join The Food Ranger in discovering the Lion City's favourite dishes