EATING OUT IN SINGAPORE
Eating out is arguably Singapore’s great pleasure and bargain. There are lots of inexpensive restaurants and, the variety in style, quality, and price — everything from outdoor stalls to elegant restaurant with famous chefs — is breathtaking. Every type of Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Indonesian food is available in Singapore. For the most part you don’t have worry about unhygienic preparation, even at the cheapest hawker stall. The Singapore tourist office and major hotels often provide free lists of restaurants. Restaurant guides are sold at newsstands. Also check lists of restaurants in local entertainment magazines like Time Out Singapore, and travel guidebooks. Try to get a hold of brochure on dining in Singapore, which lists meals in both English and Chinese. K. F. Seetoh is the author of the widely-respected local food guidebook series, Makansutra.
The restaurant scene in Singapore is very fickle and changes fast. What is hot and trendy one is closed a couple years later. Some of the best restaurants are located in the first class hotels or around Orchard Road. Many local restaurants are run by Chinese and thus serve Chinese food. There are many good Chinese restaurants between Neil and Tanjong Pagar Roads in Chinatown; trendy restaurants can be found at Clark Quay and Boat Quay; good seafood restaurants are located along the East Coast Parkway. The best place to get Indian food not surprisingly is in Little India. There are good international restaurants on Club Street.
Many local people eat at the ubiquitous food courts. They are found in almost in every shopping mall and every block. The food there is tasty, cheap (generally less than S$10) and surprisingly filling. The traditional Singaporean food court is organized around a kopi tian, or café, and features hawkers selling one or several types of noodle, soup or rice dishes.
There are several hawkers food stall centers in Singapore. Many of them are open 24 hours a day. There is small, manageable hawker center called Stamford Food House on Stamford Road and Armenian Street south of the National Library. Among the offerings are Malay curries, barbecues meats, satay, chicken rice, and noodle soup. Sometimes food is served in a banana leaf.
One of the most interesting place to eat is the Lau Pa Sat Center (Telok Ayer Market), a large renovated Victorian building on Raffles Quay filled with a maze of hawkers serving up Chinese, Malay and Indian food from small stalls. It has a wild, free-for-all atmosphere—a nice change from squeaky clean sterility of downtown Singapore—and people from all walks of life eat here: office workers, tourists, executives and laborers. Meals are usually less than seven dollars.
The Singapore Seafood Republic at Resorts World Sentosa. is definitely worth a stop. Here customer walk by tanks with a dazzling array of living seafood, pick out what they want and then tell the chefs whether they want it prepared Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Singaporean, Malaysian or Vietnamese style. Some people recommend the lobster sashimi (so fresh the antennae are still twitching) and drunken prawns (plucked for a tank and cooked in front of you in Shaoxing rice wine) and Singapore chili crab.
Chicken and rice restaurants are common. They serve a variety of soups and chicken dishes. Indian restaurants are good. Some restaurants are famous for fish, prawns and other kinds of seafood. There are also numerous American-style fast food restaurants including McDonald's (there is even one at the airport), Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Burger King and others. There are also restaurants serving Japanese food, Korean food, Italian food, French food, and other kinds of international cuisine.
Many Malays eat with their hands and the tables of traditional Malay restaurants are water containers that patrons sue to wash their hands before they eat. At crowded, busy restaurants, sharing tables with strangers is common. Restaurants generally serve water or tea for free. Sometimes no napkins are available.
Many local restaurants have no menus.. The easiest way to get a good meal is find a restaurant with a lot of customers, look around at what people are eating and point out to the waitress a dish that looks good. Sometimes the dishes don't tastes like you think they will and sometimes other restaurant customers don't appreciate having their food stared at and pointed out, but all in all it is the best method for sampling a variety of good dishes. You can't have fried noodles, fried rice and sweet and sour pork every meal. In small restaurants you often get a ticket a ticket and pay before eating.
Tipping is not necessary. A seven percent consumption tax is levied. A service charge is usually not added to bills, except at some hotel restaurants and fancy restaurants, where 10 to 15 percent is surcharge (including the consumption tax) is added. It is a good idea to bring cash. Many restaurants except credits cards but sometimes they don't.
Street Food, Stores and Markets
Singapore is famous for its street hawkers. Popular snacks sold on the streets include curry puffs, Indian snacks, satay, rice balls served in banana leaves, fish balls, curries, dried squid, barbecued chicken, barbecued prawns, noodle soup, dumplings and steamed buns with barbecued meat inside. Street food is tasty and you less likely to have stomach or diarrhea problems in Singapore than you are in other places.
The supermarkets are large and well-stocked, offering many of the items that you would find at a grocery store in the U.S. or Europe. Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant. Local, tropical varieties, as well as those imported from either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, depending on the season, are available. Many families utilize a grocer who takes daily telephone orders and delivers goods to the home. These items cost more than in the supermarket but, for many, the service is timesaving and convenient.
Local markets are a good place sample street food and shop for fruit and vegetables.Among the locally consumed fruits are lychees (red, wiry-skinned fruit), rambutans (lychee-like fruit) lychees, custard apple (zurzat), bread fruit, passion fruit, jerek (pomelo), jackfruit, mangosteens, longans, starfruit, durians (smelly but delicious), pineapples, oranges, bananas, tangerines, coconuts, mangos, papaya, watermelons, cantaloupes and wide variety of local fruits and vegetables. Food spoils quickly in this hot, humid climate. Airtight containers (which are available here) prolong freshness and keep ants and weevils out of flour, sugar, crackers, and cookies.
Singapore’s Food Hawkers Help Keep Inflation in Check
During the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, Seah Chiang Nee wrote in The Star, “I believe it is the simple food hawkers who keep their prices low in adverse conditions, something that exerts a major, repeated impact on every family. Recently, I was attracted by a queue in front of a suburban hawker stall that was selling breakfast at a price I thought had long been extinct in Singapore. An overhead sign reads “Economic Beehoon (rice vermicelli) @ S$1.60”, a simple, nutritious dish that included a fair portion of vegetable and an egg. During these harsh times, with the cost of living at a 26-year high, vendors who sell food at this price are few and far between. [Source: Seah Chiang Nee, The Star, December 20, 2008 //\]
“They have become Singapore’s new unsung heroes. The majority of their peers have followed the trend and raised prices to as high as possible. During these trying times, hawkers who go that extra mile to help their regulars keep costs down are a heaven-sent to Singapore’s middle class. Their biggest fans are, of course, the lowest 25 percent of the nation’s poor, who earn less than S$1200 (RM2900) a month. Half of them make no more than S$900 (RM2180). The people who queued up for a simple, cheap breakfast that morning – avoiding other costlier dishes – were mostly low-income earners. A few, however, were white-collar workers. //\
“I can’t raise the price. Many of my customers can’t cope with an increase,” said the vendor. Because the prices were kept low, he had to sell more to maintain profits. Hawker food is what is making life more tolerable for the Singaporean family struggling with the high costs of electricity, food and public transport. Official statistics show that despite spiralling costs, the majority, or 65 percent, of hawkers had kept to their prices. Almost every worker, businessman or student eats at a food centre or a coffee shop every day. It’s become the culture. His income is affected by what he is charged for food. This makes the hawker, and the average S$2.50 (RM6) working meal he charges, a central figure and a decisive factor in the fight against inflation. //\
“Thanks to these vendors, a thrifty Singaporean who eats out twice a day needs to spend no more than S$8-S$10 or RM19.40-RM24.20 (plus drinks), among the lowest of all the global cities. And those who can keep a meal down to S$2 (RM4.85) are gaining recognition these days as the new heroes. A local reporter who made a study of Singapore’s hawker scene wrote: “I just don’t know how they can still afford to do so in this age of inflation and uncertainty. “But there are some kind-hearted heroes out there who can still dish out a mean bowl of prawn noodles at S$2.” //\
Food Poisoning from a Food Stall Kills Two Singapore Women, Sickens 137
In April 2009, food poisoning killed two Singaporean women and sickened 137 others. News agencies reported: “A Singapore woman has died, another is in a coma and 111 people have received medical treatment from food poisoning linked to a single street food stall, health officials said. A 57-year-old woman died after eating last week at the street stand selling Indian rojak, which is usually a combination of fried seafood and egg with gravy, the Health Ministry said in a statement late Monday. [Source: Agencies, April 7, 2009]
Another woman, aged 59, is in a coma and 27 people have been hospitalized with severe abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea after eating at the same food stall, the ministry said. A woman who was two-months pregnant suffered a miscarriage after falling sick from the contaminated food, the Straits Times reported. Customers who fell sick said the gravy tasted strange, the Straits Times reported. [Ibid]
The next day Associated Press reported: “A second woman has died this week in Singapore in a mass food poisoning case linked to a single street food stall. The country's Health Ministry said the 59-year-old woman died Wednesday, a day after the death of a 57-year-old woman who had eaten at the same food stall. Some 137 people who ate at the stall last week have been treated for severe abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, and 37 of them have been hospitalized. The ministry said two of the cases have tested positive for a bacteria found in raw or partially cooked seafood. The food stall has been shut down. [Source: AP, April 8, 2009]
The most common alcoholic drink is beer. Tiger and Anchor are two locally produced beers. Tiger is a refreshing, gold-colored lager with a 5.1 percent alcohol content. Anchor is a dry, hoppy Pilsner. ABC Stout is a strong (8.1 percent alcohol), creamy bottom-fermenting stout. San Miguel, Singha, and Tsingtao are popular brands of beer. People often put ice in their beer.
Imported wines, whiskeys and liquor are widely available—and they aren't too expensive. Singapore Slings served at the Raffles Hotel are world famous. Many other restaurants and bars serve there own exotic and potent tropical cocktails. Singapore Slings are made from sweet gin, grenadine and orange juice and were invented in 1915 by a bartender at the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel and described in the prose of both Conrad and Maugham.
Describing her Singapore Sling experience, Rosemary McClure wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Yes, it's a tourist trap. Yes, I had to queue up in a long, steamy line to reach the bar. And yes, I paid $50 for a couple of drinks. But I'm a traditionalist. And skipping a Singapore Sling here would be akin to snubbing scotch in Scotland, Cognac in France or vodka in Russia. So I waited my turn, took a seat in the storied Long Bar at Raffles Hotel and ordered the pretty pink drink that bartender Ngiam Tong Boon concoted 101 years ago. As the tale is told, the Raffles' mixologist created the fruit-juicy cocktail for ladies, mixing gin with pineapple and lime juices, grenadine, Benedictine, cherry brandy and Cointreau. It still looks — and tastes — like spiked fruit juice, and the Long Bar, a clubby-looking dark mahogany space, adds just the right amount of colonial-cool atmosphere to complete the illusion. I was transported to another place and time. Surprisingly, it was well worth the wait and hassle.[Source: Rosemary McClure, Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2016]
Fruit drinks are plentiful and delicious. They are sometimes served in plastic bags with a straw. Try ones mixed with milk. Fruit drinks severed on the streets are often mixed with salt and served in plastic bags. Fresh coconuts are refreshing and hygienic. Drink the water with a straw straight from the coconut.
Singaporeans have traditionally been tea drinkers. Local tea specialties included ice lemon tea (poured hot over ice and given a generous portion of sugar), and “the tarik” (hot tea mixed with super sweet condensed milk). The Tarik, or “pulled tea”, is made by “tossing” tea with condensed milk. Many fancy hotels and cafeterias in department stores offer high tea around 3:00pm. Unlike English-style afternoon tea, which is traditionally served with scones and cakes, Singaporean-style high tea is served with a variety fo foods, including cakes, noodles, dim sung and chicken. The Tiffin Room at Raffles Hotel is famous for its high tea.
Singaporeans consume more coffee per capita than any other Asians. Traditional coffee, or kopi, is strong coffee sweetened with gooey sweetened condensed milk. It is prepared by pouring pitchers of hot water through a sock-like filter filled with powdered grounds of coffee. It is served in small plastic bag and sucked with a straw and sold at local food courts, hawker stalls or local coffee shops, called kopi thiams, with rickety plastic tables and plastic stools. These days Starbuck style coffee shops, offering espressos and cappuccinos, are becoming increasingly popular.
Soft drinks such as Coke, Pepsi, Orange Crush and Fanta are widely available and cheap. My favorite bottled drink is sweet soy milk. People often drink warm water on a hot day. Many Chinese believe cold drinks are bad for digestion.
Recommended Restaurants in Singapore
Four Seasons Durian Restaurant at Jewel Changi Airport is an establishment that specialized in durians. It is popular with adventurous tourists and local businessmen and government officials. If offers pudding, pancakes, desserts and pantries all made with durians. The management installed a special ventilation system to keep the smell from re-circulating.
ION Sky is located at an impressive height of 218 meters above ground level at the ION Orchard shopping mall on Orchard Road. Home to Salt grill & Sky bar, the elegant 6,000 square feet contemporary restaurant is run by the Australian celebrity chef-restaurateur, Luke Mangan. Offering Australian cuisine with a touch of Asian flare, Salt Grill on the 55th floor is the casual version of his award-winning Salt Grill in Sydney. Besides mouthwatering cuisine, food connoisseurs will get to enjoy an unrivalled 360-degree view from the observatory, the highest point on Orchard Road.
Rosemary McClure wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Sky on 57, Sands SkyPark,10 Bayfront Ave., Singapore; 6688-8857. Celebrity chef Justin Quek's restaurant, atop the eye-popping Marina Bay Sands hotel, is pricey, but the view and the fusion menu are worth it. (Or save money and just have cocktails, but the minimum bar charge is $21.) Best bet: Time your visit to arrive before sunset. Entrees start at $40 and top out at $130 for a sirloin. [Source: Rosemary McClure, Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2016]
“The Banana Leaf Apolo, 54 Race Course Road, Singapore; 6293-8682. Can't decide whether to have tapas, Thai, Indian or Mediterranean cuisine? This vintage Indian restaurant, founded in 1974, has it all and is one of the city's most popular diners. Entrees from $7....Brewerkz, 30 Merchant Road, Singapore; 6438-7438. For a taste of home, you'll find pizzas, burgers, fries, nachos, buffalo wings and dozens of brews to help you cool off on a hot Singaporean evening. Four locations. Burgers from $14.75.”
Restaurants at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands includes an eclectic mix of gourmet restaurants and bistros, making Marina Bay Sands the hangout du jour for visitors and locals alike. The 50 dining establishments, include six of the ten Celebrity Chef restaurants —Bread Street Kitchen (by Gordon Ramsay), Cut (by Wolfgang Puck), Waku Ghin (by Tetsuya Wakuda), Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza (by Mario Batali), Long Chim (by David Thompson) and DB Bistro & Oyster Bar (by Daniel Boulud). Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, Guy Savoy and Tetsuya Wakuda have all won Michelin-stars.
Kumi Matsumaru wrote in the Daily Yomiuri: “At Cut, Wolfgang Puck showed off his blocks of meat, telling me, "We are proud to serve only the finest cuts of beef here at our first venture into Asia." At Waku Ghin, a restaurant by chef Tetsuya Wakuda, a Japanese-born Australian chef based in Sydney, one of the assistant chefs boasted of the restaurant's menu of freshly caught seafood, made possible because of its location. The assistant chef, who is Japanese, said he came all the way to Singapore via Australia because he was fascinated by Wakuda's gastronomic skills and wanted to work and learn under him.” [Source: Kumi Matsumaru, Daily Yomiuri, April 17, 2011]
Among the restaurants at Resorts World Casino Sentosa are Feng Shui Inn at Resorts World Casino Sentosa, Forest, Joël Robuchon Restaurant at Resorts World Casino Sentosa, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon at Resorts World Casino Sentosa, Osia by Scott Webster (Modern Australian cuisine), Curate by Chef Benjamin Halat (Modern European creations), Forest by Sam Leong (Contemporary Chinese cuisine), Fratelli - Trattoria Pizzeria (Contemporary Italian cuisine), Feng Shui Inn (Contemporary Cantonese cuisine), Teppan by Chef Yonemura (French-Japanese teppanyaki fare cuisine), Table65 by Chef Richard van Oostenbrugge and Chef Thomas Groot (Modern European cuisine), Tunglok heen by Susur Lee (Chinese cuisine, Casual dining), Sessions at Hard Rock Hotel Singapore (Western & Asian Buffet), Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora, Tangerine, TungLok Heen (formerly known as Chinois), Asian Deli, Happy 9, Penang Curry Mee, Oh Chien, Char Koay Kak, Fish Head Curry, Bak Chor Mee, Penang Fruit Rojak, Fung Wong Confectionery, Mo Mo So, Red Bean Roll, Wife Biscuit, Penang Assam Laksa, Straits of Satay, KL Jalan Alor Hokkien Mee, Penang Ah Mei Hokkien Prawn Mee, and Penang Ah Long Lor Bak.
Michelin Star Restaurant in Singapore
In September 2018, Monica Burton wrote in Eater: The “red restaurant guidebook Michelin announced its 2019 starred restaurants in Singapore. For the first time in the Singapore guide’s four-year history, there are two restaurants with three Michelin stars, Michelin’s highest honor. Both of the newly crowned three-star restaurants are French. (Michelin is, after all, a French tire company with a notable preference for European fine dining.) Les Amis, led by chef Sébastien Lepinoy, opened in 1994 and bills itself as Singapore’s first independent fine dining restaurant. Michelin notes its wine list is “rightly considered one of the most dazzling in the Asian continent.” Odette, Singapore’s second three-star restaurant, combines French techniques with “International flavors,” according to Michelin. Its chef, Julien Royer, named the restaurant after his grandmother. Both restaurants were awarded two stars in the 2018 Michelin guide. [Source: Monica Burton, Eater, September 19, 2019]
“The Michelin Guides’ International Director Gwendal Poullennec says that with the new three-star restaurants, “Singapore enters a new dimension to the eyes and palate of food lovers.” However, this isn’t the first time a restaurant in Singapore has been awarded three stars. Singapore’s first three-Michelin-star restaurant, Joël Robuchon Restaurant, closed last June ahead of the 2018 guide.
“The 2019 Michelin guide to Singapore also includes five two-star restaurants, including two new restaurants with two stars: French restaurant Saint Pierre moves up from one star, and Zén from Swedish chef Björn Frantzén makes its debut on the list with two stars after opening in November 2018. At the time, the Nordic-Japanese restaurant made headlines for possibly becoming the most expensive restaurant in Singapore at $450 per head.
“There are 37 restaurants with one star this year, seven of these appearing among the starred selections for the first time. This list includes five European restaurants and two restaurants with roots in Australia. Two more newly starred restaurants were bumped up after receiving the lesser Michelin plate distinction last year: Italian restaurant Buona Terra and the unrelated Terra, which describes itself as “Japanese food culture in Italian cuisine.”“
Three Michelin stars: Les Amis, Odette
Two Michelin stars: Saint Pierre, Shisen Hanten, Shoukouwa, Waku Ghin, Zen
One Michelin star: Alma, Basque Kitchen by Aitor, Beni, Braci, Buona Terra, Burnt Ends, Candlenut, Cheek Bistro, Chef Kang’s, Corner House, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Garibaldi, Hawker Chan, Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, Iggy’s, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine (Orchard), Jaan by Kirk Westaway, Jag, Jiang-Nan Chun, Labyrinth, Lei Garden, Lerouy, Ma Cuisine, Meta, Nouri, Putien (Kitchener Road), Rhubarb, Shinji (Bras Basah Road), Shinji (Tanglin Road), Summer Palace, Summer Pavilion, Sushi Ichi, Sushi Kimura, Table65, Terra, The Song Of India, Vianney Massot
Top Five Restaurants in Singapore According to the Miele Guide
On the selections for the top five Miele Guide Restaurants in Singapore in 2013, Min Yan wrote in Lifestyle Asia: “At the top are almost the exact five that made the list back in the 2011/2012 edition. And the year before that. Save for new entrant and now top spot-holder Waku Ghin, and the falling from grace of Gunther’s Modern French Cuisine, The Miele Guide’s pickings for the five Singapore-based restaurants clinching one of the coveted top 20 spots amongst their Asian counterparts remains largely the same. Are we that short on variety of choices (could this be the same country that reportedly had over 300 new restaurant openings in a year?), or are we just getting lackadaisical and perhaps, inherently biased towards the existing titleholders? The Miele Guide is now retailing at S$24 (USD 15) on www.mieleguide.com and all major bookstores in Singapore. [Source: Min Yan, January 23, 2103, Lifestyle Asia]
No. 1: Waku Ghin (No. 2 in Asia; unranked in last edition): Just 25 guests are admitted for each seating at Waku Ghin, and they are ushered from one dining room to the next where chefs prepare food for each group personally. It’s this unique intimate, bespoke dining concept that propelled Japan-born Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda’s European-Japanese fine-diner to this year’s Miele Guide top spot. Price range: S$400 for the 10-course degustation menu. Only two dinner seatings at 6pm and 8:30pm. Waku Ghin, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands, +65 6688 850
7Waku Ghin was recently ranked 39th on the coveted 'World's 50 Best Restaurants' list. The name 'Waku Ghin' is derived from two Japanese words: ‘Waku’ means to 'arise' (like water pouring forth from a hot spring) and 'Ghin' means 'silver', which is Chef Tetsuya's favorite color found throughout this stunning restaurant. That same personal imprint and attention to detail is also on exhibit in the main dining room which seats 25 guests per seating, for an exclusive view of the Singapore skyline.
No. 2: Iggy’s (No. 4 in Asia; No. 1 in last edition): Title-holder for best restaurant the past two years takes a little tumble this year, falling to fourth place in Asia and runner-up locally. No matter — it still takes home the 26th place on the S Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2012, and retains plenty of fans of its interpretations of its modern European cuisine. Price range: S$85 for lunch to S$275 for the gastronomic menu. Iggy’s, The Hilton Hotel, 581 Orchard Road, Level 3, +65 6732 2234, www.iggys.com.sg
No. 3: Les Amis (No. 10 in Asia; No. 19 in last edition): Singapore’s favourite, and most recognizable French restaurant does itself proud this year, climbing nine spots to squeeze in with the cool kids in the top 10. In addition to its contemporary European menu, Les Amis is also well-known for its award-winning wine list and impressive wine cellar. Price range: From S$68 for a three-course lunch, to S$300 for a seven-course degustation menu. Les Amis, Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, No. 02-16, +65 6733 2225, www.lesamis.com.sg
No. 4: Restaurant Andre (No. 11 in Asia; No. 2 in last edition): Chef Andre’s self-coined Octaphilosophy works brilliantly (if a little austere) in concept and execution but leaves much to be desired if you’re looking for a meal that’s more food than edible art. But fans of Restaurant Andre know what they’re getting themselves into, after all. The eponymous restaurant falls from its No. 2 spot to No. 11 in Asia this year. Price range: From S$68 for a three-course lunch to S$288 for an eight-course dinner menu Restaurant Andre, 41 Bukit Pasoh Road, +65 6534 8880, www.restaurantandre.com
No. 5: Tippling Club (No. 12 in Asia; No. 10 in last edition): Reviews for Tippling Club have always been a bit of a mixed bag (some find their high prices a tad hard to swallow, while others liken it to Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in the UK), but whatever the case, the loyalty of their fans to its molecular cuisine – cocktail dining concept have enabled them to hold on to their mid-list position. Price range: From S$55 for a three-course lunch menu, to $415 for a gourmand menu with wine pairing, Tippling Club, 8D Dempsey Road, +65 6475 2217, www.tipplingclub.com
Celebrity Chefs in Singapore
Daniel Boulud: Despite being raised in France and trained by renowned French chefs, Daniel Boulud made his name as a culinary master in the New York dining scene instead. From chef to chef-restaurateur, Daniel is renowned for adding his signature touch of contemporary and seasonally inspired French cuisine to the restaurants bearing his name. And it will be no different with the opening of DB Bistro Moderne, his latest venture at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. db Bistro Moderne is Chef Daniel Boulud's renowned re-interpretation of the Parisian classic. Among his many achievements, Chef Boulud is credited with elevating the simple burger into an art form. This is what sets db Bistro Moderne apart, new takes on old classics, the perfect fusion of sophistication with pure and simple pleasures. You can look forward to a carefully tailored wine selection to compliment Chef Daniel Boulud's cuisine and philosophy. With over 400 labels spanning every major region from which to chose, you will find just the right wine for any occassion. Signature Dishes: 1) The db Burger; 2) Cape Grim Farm Tasmanian Cote de Boeuf; 3) Seafood Platter; 4) Assiette Lyonnaise; 5) Tarte Flambee. [Source: yoursingapore.com, Singapore Tourism Board]
Mario Batali: Lack of interest was the reason Mario Batali pulled out from culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in London. Yet today, he is the creative force behind one of America’s most successful restaurant empire. Author of eight cookbooks as well as host of Iron Chef America, Mario has his sights set on Asia. His popular LA-based Italian restaurants – Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza will be launched at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Located in Los Angeles and now Singapore, Osteria Mozza is the creation of Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Nancy Silverton. The heart of the restaurant is a free-standing fresh mozzarella bar, where a wide array of dishes— highlighting imported bufala mozzarella, burrata and burricotta cheese—is prepared nightly. The extensive menu features artisanal salumi, fresh homemade pastas, and seafood, meat and game dishes cooked on a wood-burning grill. Osteria Mozza's wine list boasts over 700 selections from across Italy, including offerings from Joe and Mario's wineries in Friuli and Tuscany. Signature Dishes: 1) Grilled Octopus with potatoes, celery & lemon; 2) Burrata with bacon, marinated escarole & caramelized shallots; 3) Orrechiette with sausage & Swiss Chard; 4) Grilled Quail wrapped in pancetta with sage.
Scott Webster: Creating culinary masterpieces is Scott Webster’s way of promoting the freshness of Australian produce. His keen understanding of Australian ingredients adds a touch of uniqueness to his signature dishes. Matched only by his extensive experience heading kitchens in prestigious restaurants and hotels around the world. The opening of Scott’s new restaurant, OSIA at Resorts World Sentosa, has been fondly described as a re-birth of his famous London outlet of the same name. Not to be missed is OSIA’s interactive open kitchen concept which displays a wide array of fresh ceviche, including perennial favourites like oysters and other crustaceans. If you’re feeling adventurous, request to be part of the exclusive Chef’s Table, where you’ll be constantly surprised by the Chef’s ingenuity and cutting-edge gastronomic expertise. To marry the exceptional cuisine, select your favourite label from the comprehensive list of New World wines found in Osia. You can also look forward to trying indigenous ingredients unique to Australia such as wattle seed, a type of seed from the acacia tree, quandongs, a tangy and refreshing desert peach, and lemon myrtle, a flowering plant commonly used for its healing properties. Head on down to Osia and enjoy indoor or alfresco dining, or simply unwind by the bar with drinks and tapas.
Celebrity Asian Chefs in Singapore
Justin Quek: Before Justin Quek was billed as one of Singapore’s most distinguished culinary exports, he started out as a kitchen apprentice in France. Life there was hard, but the gruelling training paid off. The illustrious chef went on to set up innovative French eateries around the world such as Justin’s Signatures in Taipei and the luxurious Le Platane Restaurant in Shanghai. In 2010, Justin marked his homecoming with Sky on 57, a new venture that sits majestically on the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark. Signature Dishes: 1) Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao; 2) Fresh mushroom cappuccino; 3) Roasted crackling suckling pig, yuzu pepper sauce. [Source: yoursingapore.com, Singapore Tourism Board]
Susur Lee: Regarded as one of the ‘Ten Chefs of the Millennium’ by Food & Wine magazine, Susur Lee rose to fame with his eclectic style of Asian-French fusion cuisine. During the late nineties, Susur took the gourmet scene in Singapore by storm as the Executive Culinary Consultant for the TungLok Group in Singapore. And he is set to do so again with his new restaurant Chinois by Susur Lee at Resorts World Sentosa's Hotel Michael, a joint venture with the TungLok Group. Amongst the 90 dishes in the menu are new and exciting offerings such as Braised Shredded Abalone stuffed in Crab Claw topped with Sea Urchin Sauce, Roast-marinated Baby Lamb Loin served with Sichuan Eggplant Stew and Oven-baked Fillet of Cod with Sautéed Egg White.
Tetsuya Wakuda: When Tetsuya Wakuda travelled to Sydney at the age of 22, he brought along with him an undying love for food. It was this passion that motivated him to hone his flair as a chef. And it was this culinary flair that inspired the establishment of one of the world’s most celebrated restaurants, Tetsuya’s. His new restaurant at Marina Bay Sands, Waku Ghin, will be the only outpost to the Sydney restaurant that is famous for requiring reservations months in advance. Chef Tetsuya is the first person appointed Sake Ambassador outside of Japan, making his selection the best in the world. Signature Dishes: 1) Marinated Botan shrimp with sea urchin and caviar; 2) Australian wagyu with wasabi and citrus soy.
Guy Savoy, Joël Robuchon and Wolfgang Puck in Singapore
Guy Savoy: As one of the legendary pioneers of “Nouvelle Cusine”, Guy Savoy is renowned for sparing no expenses to stir the human senses with his culinary creations. The revered chef expresses his pursuit of gastronomic perfection through his passion, keen selection of the finest ingredients and exquisite presentation. Today, he looks forward to creating exceptional dining experiences for patrons of his newly opened Guy Savoy restaurant at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Selecting only the finest ingredients, Chef Guy Savoy prepares and serves with an uncompromising awareness of what makes a dining experience truly exceptional. This is what earned the prestigious Guy Savoy restaurant in Paris three Michelin stars. Chef Savoy has profound respect for his carefully selected ingredients. Flavors are gently coaxed so that every bite of food makes a statement. His technique is best exemplified in his signature dishes, which create an exquisite mix of aromas and flavors that will tantalize the senses of guests at Guy Savoy. Signature Dishes: 1) Artichoke and black truffle soup, toasted mushroom brioche and black truffle butter; 2) Crispy seabass with delicate spices; 3) Chocolate fondant with layered praline and chicory cream. [Source: yoursingapore.com, Singapore Tourism Board]
Joël Robuchon: Bestowed the prestigious title of the ‘Chef of the Century’ by the Gault Millau guide, Joël Robuchon picked up 26 Michelin stars with restaurants he set up all over the world. Add to that, he also mentored distinguished chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Michael Caines. The revered chef made his debut in Singapore by opening three eateries at Resorts World Sentosa – Joël Robuchon Fine Dining, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and The Pastry Shop and Lounge. With 21 restaurants spanning 10 countries globally, Joël Robuchon, 65, is the world’s most decorated chef with 26 stars in the 2010 Michelin Guide.
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon will feature a convivial atmosphere, where chefs will cook in a central kitchen in full view everyone, and you will be able to watch the succession of dishes, and to compose your own meal according to your own desires. With attentive service, warm and casual ambience and impeccable cuisine directed by Joël Robuchon, you will get to enjoy high-quality cuisine in a friendly, elegant and cosy atmosphere.The menu offers all the great classics to taste in small, tapas-style portions and a large choice of carefully selected wines available by the glass. A combination of intense and delicate tastes, Robuchon is all about making food look and feel natural, turning simple ingredients into world-class dishes. The spirit of hospitality here, fostered by the interaction between you and the chefs, is also delightfully distinctive. Indulge yourself in this exquisite dining experience. One you’ll definitely fall in love with.
Wolfgang Puck: A legendary name in the world of fine dining, Wolfgang Puck redefined the culinary industry time and again with his innovative style of cooking. Wolfgang honed his skills in some of France’s most notable restaurants before striking out on his own to establish his very first restaurant, Spago, in California. To date, he has opened over 20 fine dining restaurants and will be bringing CUT, one of America’s top steakhouses, to Singapore – at Marina Bay Sands. CUT is Chef Wolfgang Puck’s modern take on the American steakhouse. Hailed as one of the top three in the United States, its signature menu features a smart, sophisticated selection of the finest cuts of beef. Signature Dishes: 1) Bone Marrow Flan, Mushroom Marmalade, Parsley Salad; 2) American Wagyu / Angus “Kobe Style” Beef From Snake River Farms, Idaho; 3) American Blue Crab & Shrimp “Louis,” Spicy Tomato-Horseradish; 4) Sautéed Dover Sole “À La Meunière”, Preserved Lemon, Parsley.
Eating in Singapore's Red-Light District
Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan wrote in the Washington Post: “In the dark, I wended my way through a thicket of hungry-eyed men, brushing off leering looks as I focused on reaching my goal: a fluorescent white beacon coming from a slender alley behind a scruffy-looking motel.
My family and I had come to Geylang, Singapore's best-known red-light district, in search of a good time, but probably of a different sort from what the men around us were after. In the alley, we perched on greasy plastic stools, taking in the smells of wok-fried seafood and tempura eggplant as we waited for our meal to surface at J.B. Ah Meng, a little hawker-stand-style restaurant with tables set up in a grimy passageway. [Source: Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, Washington Post, September 27, 2009]
“Soon enough, the sounds of hawkers' flip-flops signaled the arrivals: a bed of slightly crispy glass noodles tossed with bits of cuttlefish, egg and pork, stir-fried in a sweet dark soy sauce; and a platter of crispy, deep-fried fish skins topped with a tart fresh papaya salad. But the truly unusual star of the meal was a dish of shrimp and clusters of corn kernels slathered with a thick coating of salted egg and then deep-fried. The slightly grainy salted egg crust was an intriguing and delicious juxtaposition with the plump, juicy bits of shrimp and corn. Our entire meal of four big platters (including an order of tempura eggplant) cost just under $40. Not a bad price for a few well-conceived and perfectly executed dishes that we'd remember for some time to come.
“Along Keong Saik Road, in a neighborhood that has housed brothels for more than a century, narrow lanes are dotted with old Chinese coffee shops known as "tze char" places, which are basic stalls that offer a variety of stir-fried dishes such as crab noodles and har jeong gai, a dish of chicken coated with prawn paste and then deep-fried. Near the east coast, Joo Chiat Road is a growing hub of cheap Vietnamese eateries selling pho and shredded duck soup that have popped up to cater to the Vietnamese prostitutes who walk the streets after dark. And in downtown Singapore's Orchard Towers, a shopping center filled with seedy bars and massage parlors whose dank corridors are heavy even at noon with the scent of furtively smoked cigarettes, there is standout Thai food to be had at places that increasingly cater both to food lovers who can afford to order a lemon grass whole fish for $10 and to the young Thai girls in fishnets looking for cheaper sustenance.
“In Geylang, a neighborhood that has been a well-known red-light district for decades, Singaporeans have always known that the even-numbered lorongs (which means "small roads" in Malay) are where you'll find the red-lanterned houses, while the odd-numbered ones are for unrelated enterprises. Along those roads, there's been a boom since the 1990s of late-night eating stalls that serve up a variety of fare, from noodles topped with melt-in-your-mouth-tender beef to dishes not for the faint of heart: chopped duck's necks and pig's ears that are cheap, savory and meant to go well with an ice-cold beer sipped while watching the girls walk up and down the road.
“Not all stalls are cheap: Sin Huat Eating House, which Anthony Bourdain recently included on his list of "13 Places to Eat Before You Die" for Men's Health magazine, serves up heavenly crab noodles that come with massive claws and legs that will keep you busy for quite a while. But those crab noodles, a main dish that would probably serve a family of three at the most, will set you back nearly $80. The place also has an especially bare-bones setting, even by coffee-shop standards: On the night we went in June, the restaurant's lights would periodically flicker and go dark for several long seconds before coming back on. Our table by the grimy, greenish fish tanks also offered us front-row seats to the sweaty cooks reaching into the tanks up to their armpits to scoop out shellfish whenever a customer placed an order.”
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: Singapore tourism websites, Singapore government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
Updated in August 2020