Few countries are home to as many ethnicities and cuisines as Singapore. Utilising an array of indigenous spices that drove the spice trade, our global food capital serves hundreds of different traditional delicacies on a daily basis, some of which have evolved from within Singapore. Immerse yourself in the depth of culinary culture and enjoy the wide range of flavours that Singapore has to offer. Let your palate be educated by our local Michelin-starred chefs and veteran hawkers, by daring to experience Singapore’s diverse delicacies and eateries. Even millennials are getting in on the action. Our young rising chefs and new-generation hawkerpreneurs not only infuse traditional favourites with their personalities, but also continually enrich Singapore’s culinary landscape with their own creations. They are glad to share their knowledge and acquired insights with aspiring chefs.
Singaporean cuisine showcases a variety of worldwide influences
Taste the world when you tuck into Singaporean fare. From the spiced rice dishes of South Asia to the frying techniques of the Southern Chinese, Singapore’s countless dishes are a reminder of how our island once rested on the central axis of the silk road. Explore Singapore as an open-minded foodie and leave Singapore a more discerning culinary artisan.
We continue to produce uniquely Singaporean dishes
Witness cooking’s natural tendency to evolve and adapt. Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore, for example, is not a recipe from Hainan Island, but a Singaporean concoction that exhibits both Hainanese and Singaporean influences. You can learn about Singaporean cultures and palates by indulging in the dishes we love. Similarly, our unique dishes like laksa (spicy coconut milk-based noodle soup), Hokkien mee (stir-fried prawn noodle dish) and roti prata (South Indian flatbread) are prepared the way they are, only in Singapore. This inventive approach to food is commonplace to this day, as illustrated by hawkers like A Noodle Story in Amoy Street Food Centre and at French gourmet-style Peranakan (Straits-born people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage) establishment Candlenut by one-Michelin-starred chef Malcolm Lee.
Singapore offers the cheapest Michelin-starred food in the world
Try Hawker Chan’s delectable black sauce chicken noodles and Tai Hwa’s acclaimed minced pork noodles for around S$5. At Hawker Chan’s Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice Noodle on Smith Street, you can observe Hawker Chan and his team prepare his lauded recipe, while placing your order via an automated ordering system.
Indulge in local delights for only 50 cents each during the Singapore Food Festival
Singapore holds several food festivals yearly. During the Singapore Food Festival along Chinatown Food Street, a weekend soiree called the 50 Cents Fest allows one and all enjoy a variety of dishes for only 50 cents each. This throwback festival is also fitted with retro decorations, as it celebrates the early days of Singapore, when a meal could be bought for under a dollar. More food festivals like STREAT, Oktoberfest Asia, the Great Food Festival and Singapore Cocktail Festival offer chances to interact with Singapore’s globally ranked bartenders and chefs.
Celebrity chefs from around the world love Singapore and many have opened restaurants here
You don’t need to travel out of Singapore to sample world-class gastronomy. Singapore’s fare has been hailed by famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain, while celebrity chefs like Joël Robuchon, Cat Cora and Jamie Oliver have also set up restaurants in Singapore. Ramsay divulged that he first fell in love with Singapore when he used to fly here to participate in cook-offs alongside local hawkers (visit eateries like 328 Katong Laksa and Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice to see newspaper clippings that document this clash of the titans). Now, you can dine on this superstar chef’s creations at his restaurant, Bread Street Kitchen in Marina Bay Sands®. In celebrity chef restaurants in Sentosa, Orchard Road and Marina Bay Sands®, one can grasp why these TV chefs enjoy international acclaim.
Many dishes enjoyed in Singapore are highly symbolic
Come to understand our high-context cultures and courtesies by partaking in our cuisine. Just as huat kueh (an auspicious leaven cake) is baked to rise like its recipient’s luck, ponggal soru (sugared rice) is boiled out of the pot during the Indian harvest festival of Pongal as a blessing upon harvesters. Noodles served long and uncut to symbolise longevity, while Peking duck will be served bright red as a blessing of good luck.
Locals love a black nut that contains cyanide
Don’t be afraid to try buah keluak (a black nut indigenous to Southeast Asia), which is originally poisonous and the colour of ash. Often used in Peranakan cuisine, buah keluak has to be boiled, buried, fermented and soaked for days until it is pitch black and no longer containing cyanide. Only then can its unique and robust flavour be applied to dishes like Javanese nasi rawon (rice in beef and buah keluak), Malay nasi kebuli (spicy steamed rice in goat broth, milk and ghee) and Peranakan assam pedas keluak (hot and sour buah keluak).
Besides Tiger, Singapore also brews other kinds of beer
Asia Pacific Breweries brews India Pale Ales, Golden Ales and many other types of beer. Pick up these frosty refreshments from any supermarket, or join in the celebration of local brews along Holland Village, which is closed off to cars and turns into a street party at night Become a beer connoisseur in Singapore by sampling the many German-style beers brewed here by Starker, as well as the Czech-style lager of microbreweries here like Hospoda and Prague Microbrewery.