First off, we promise that we’re not going to mention Marina Bay Sands. Or the Zoo. Or Tiong Bahru. If you want to show off a place that exemplifies the energised atmosphere and mishmash culture of the Little Red Dot, it’s always best to think left field.

A Taste of Kopi


Can you get more local than this? Not when even an article in the New York Times on Singapore espouses “that the most authentic view of the city is always at a kopitiam”. Amongst other recommendations, the article plumps for Heap Seng Leong, a joint on North Bridge Road praised for its “heavenly contrasting flavours and textures” of their kaya toast breakfast.

Why it’s good local flavour: You can talk your visiting friend through the myriad ways to order your kopi-o, kopi kosong, yuan yang…

Lingo with the Locals

Any way you look at it, Singapore is international. Though small, we punch way above our weight in terms of how many nationalities mingle on any square mile. So to get a dose of globalisation, head down to Tête-à-Tête. Locals and foreigners alike gather at this monthly meet-up to practice a mix of languages—from Japanese to Mandarin, Spanish, French and German. Plus, each meet is held at a cool new venue each month. You can find them on Facebook.

Why it’s good local flavour: Now more than ever, younger Singaporeans are displaying their hunger for new languages and cultures. Plus, it’s a great way to chat with students, travellers and young professionals (who can start teaching your buddy Singlish).

Chow Down in Chinatown


Sure, we said we wouldn’t mention anything obvious, but could you imagine leaving a first-time visit to the country and not going to a hawker centre? The very idea is downright unthinkable. So take your buddy to one of the largest hawkers in Singapore, the Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre. Start with the wet market (to ‘whet’ their appetite); then, sample anything from ice jelly to popiah at the stalls.

Why it’s good local flavour: In this case, it’s literally local flavour. And with its Chinatown setting and mix of stalls and sundry goods stores, this area is a delicious walk through Singapore history.

The Rush Hour Experience


Don’t scoff—what better way to get to know a city than during its peak subway hours? While you’re riding, you can peek at commuters playing smartphone games, harping on about their boss or squabbling over seats. And don’t forget that MRT stations are places too. Lorong Chuan, for example, features funky cartoons that poke fun at local life.

Why it’s good local flavour: Nothing shows off Singapore’s awesome buzz like rush hour. Plus, you have nearly 100 stations to choose from, each with their own story. Like Bishan, which is built over four cemetery grounds and said to be haunted…

Veg Out


Even Singaporeans tend to forget that we do have a rural countryside (small as it is). So visitors to Kranji will be pleasantly surprised by Bollywood Veggies, an organic farm where everything is organic, laid-back and friendly. You can take a guided 20-minute tour to brush up on your flora and fauna, then reward yourself with stir-fried vegetables and curry chicken in the open-air bistro.

Why it’s good local flavour: Kranji is proof that urban Singapore can always surprise you with a change of scenery.


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