Singapore may be small, but it sure packs a culinary punch. And when there are so many delicious things to be tried on this tiny island, it can be tough to know where to start, especially if you’re pressed for time.
If you’re only in town for a day, there are a couple of essential stops you should make. We’ve taken the liberty of covering every meal you need to eat in a 24-hour period. You can thank us later.[related_articles]57950,57174,59034[/related_articles]
Breakfast: Ya Kun Kaya Toast
From the hotel buffet to unassuming street-food stalls, you’ll find kaya toast all over Singapore. Kaya is a sweet coconut jam best enjoyed on wholemeal toast positively dripping in butter.
Start your day at Ya Kun Kaya Toast, which has franchises throughout Singapore. It’s famous for its cheap-as-chips breakfast deal, which includes kaya on either toasted wholemeal or steamed thick-cut white bread, Hainanese coffee, and half-cooked eggs. You’re supposed to season the eggs to your taste with soy sauce, salt and/or pepper, and the swallow the lot.
If you’re not sure how to approach it, ask one of the locals to show you the ropes. It’s a staple in Singapore, so they’ll be more than happy to oblige.
Where: Various locations around Singapore
Lunch: Open Farm Community
The first of its kind in the city, Open Farm Community is the rustic restaurant of a sprawling urban farm in Singapore’s Dempsey Hill district. Chefs here prepare simple, modern dishes inspired by traditional Singaporean cuisine, along with old favourites like burgers, fried fish, and vegetable soups.
Because of its serene setting, you’d hardly know you were smack-bang in the middle of one of the city’s humming central suburbs. For that reason, Open Farm Community is incredibly popular, so it pays to book ahead and show up early, otherwise you could be in for a long wait.
Alternatively, if you’d like to sample something a little more local, head over to 328 Katong Laksa in the colourful Joo Chait neighbourbood. You’ll find laksas all over Singapore, but this is one of the country’s most famous, owing to the fact that it triumphed over a dish made by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay in a cook-off back in 2013. Victory is delicious.
Where: 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819
In Singapore, Peranakan is the name given to the culture of descendants of Straits or Chinese-born immigrants. Candlenut is the world’s first Michelin-starred Penanakan restaurant, and it’s absolutely worth treating yourself to dinner here.
Chef Malcolm Lee serves up a contemporary take on traditional Straits-Chinese cuisine, including one of his mum’s beloved curry recipes, which ought to make spice fiends very hapy.
The menu changes seasonally, and the best part is you won’t need to shell out as much as you’d expect to at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The ahmakase dinner menu will only set you back around $115 (SGD118) per person – which is fairly reasonable when you consider the fact that you’ll be getting 12 dishes for your trouble.
Where: Block 17A, Dempsey Road, Singapore 249676
Dessert: 2am:Dessert Bar
The current darling of the Singapore cuisine scene, Janice Wong is famous for her inventive desserts, which earned her a guest spot on the last season of Australian MasterChef.
At her 2am: Dessert Bar in Holland Village, visitors can watch chefs prepare her insanely photogenic desserts – including the Cassis Plum that stumped MasterChef contestants in 2017 – in the open-plan kitchen before digging in themselves. Edible artworks adorn the walls, though it’s advisable that you stick to what’s on the menu.
If your sweet craving hasn’t been satisfied by the time you leave, it’s also worth purchasing a box of Wong’s Singapore series chocolates. With flavours like yellow curry and kaffir lime caramel, they’re unlike anything else you’ll try in Singapore.
Where: 21a Lorong Liput Singapore 277733
Drinking in Singapore can be expensive due to the high taxes imposed on alcohol, so if you’re gonna do it, you’ve gotta do it right.
At Native on lively Amoy Street, founder Vijay Mudaliar and his staff create flavour sensations exclusively from ingredients foraged in and around Singapore – the very stuff they grew up with, like mango, tapioca, and cinnamon – along with quirky additions like ants and Sri Lankan arrak.
Even better, everything from the furniture to the aprons they wear is locally sourced, and sustainability is always top-of-mind-for Mudaliar and his team.
If you’re the kind of person who rocks up to a bar and says, “Surprise me”, this is the place for you. The folks at Native know their stuff, so they’ll spend some time getting to know what kinds of flavours you’re into before serving up something delicious.
Where: 52A Amoy Street, Singapore
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Kristen Amiet is a previous AWOL editor, bona fide travel addict, sometimes whisky drinker and full-time breakfast food enthusiast.