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DAY 1: EAST END EPICURES

Ruqxana buys ingredients from a stall in Geylang Serai Market.
1 Geylang Serai

Start the day bright and early, with a visit to Geylang Serai Market. Originally an Orang Laut (sea nomads) settlement in the 1840s, Geylang Serai is the centre of Singapore’s Malay community, and home to one of the biggest and busiest wet markets in Singapore.

“I frequent Geylang Serai Market to buy freshly grated coconut and ingredients for Malay-Singaporean dishes,” Ruqxana says. “You can’t find some of the herbs [on sale here] anywhere else [in Singapore].”
 

A couple enjoying lunch at 328 Katong Laksa.
2 328 Katong Laksa

Make a pit stop for lunch at 328 Katong Laksa in the Katong/Joo Chiat neighbourhood. A Michelin Bib Gourmand eatery, this establishment has been serving up piping hot bowls of laksa (spicy coconut milk-based noodle soup) for the last two decades.

According to Ruqxana, this dish is sure to whet your appetite for Singapore’s local delicacies. It may even be emblematic of our multi-ethnic heritage. “You could say laksa would best represent Singapore,” she shares. “It’s a combination of Indian, Malay and Chinese [food elements]."
 

Peranakan antiques, furnishings and porcelain in Rumah Bebe
3 Joo Chiat/Katong

“I love the heritage and the beautiful shophouses [in Katong and Joo Chiat],” Ruqxana enthuses. Home to some of Singapore’s most iconic Peranakan* architecture, the Katong/Joo Chiat neighbourhood is a great place to explore.

If, like Ruqxana, you have a love for nostalgia and tradition, be sure to pay a visit to Rumah Bebe. This beautifully preserved shophouse showcases Peranakan antiques, furnishings and porcelain.

*The term is an Indonesian/Malay word that means “local born”, which generally refers to people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage.
 

A flatlay of pizzas and baking tools from The Coastal Settlement.
4 Changi Village

Break for tea at The Coastal Settlement, a café housed in lush greenery along Netheravon Road. The establishment wins praise from Ruqxana for its “brilliant, eclectic array of Western and Asian food,” and “vintage [ambience]”.

You’ll be able to spend the rest of the afternoon strolling along the Changi East Boardwalk, a scenic, 2.2-kilometre-long trail with six sections, stretching from Netheravon Road to Changi Creek.
 

A plate of chilli crab
5 Hua Yu Wee

End the day off with dinner at Hua Yu Wee at Upper East Coast Road. Housed in a colonial bungalow, the restaurant serves up a range of tantalizing seafood options for the discerning gourmand.

For Ruqxana, a meal consisting of delicious seafood and great conversation is a quintessentially Singaporean experience: “It’s an amazingly Singaporean thing to sit down with a group of friends and enjoy [iconic] local dishes like chilli crab.”

DAY 2: A FEAST FOR THE SENSES

A portrait shot of a vegetable stall owner in Little India
1 Little India

Start your morning with a late breakfast at Little India along Serangoon Road, where Ruqxana recommends that you “have your fill of dosa (savoury rice pancake) and appam (milk pancakes)”. Rich in South Asian culture, this vibrant district is filled with temples, traditional shops and markets.

There’s nothing like sensory experience to enhance one’s appreciation of the chef’s craft; be sure to take in the sights, sounds and smell of spices at Tekka Centre—Singapore’s largest indoor wet market—which sells an array of produce and rare ingredients.
 

Statues at the entrance of Peranakan Museum
2 Peranakan Museum

“Museums inspire me,” Ruqxana says. “They make me wish I was there [in that time period].” If you share her love for art, tradition and nostalgia, you’ll want to hunt for inspiration at the Peranakan Museum. One of her favourite museums, this heritage space is a proud showcase of Peranakan culture, with galleries displaying traditional embroidery, pages of poetry and religious artwork.
 

Music lovers enjoying an outdoor performance at the Esplanade.
3 Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay

Deepen your love for the arts by catching a performance at the Esplanade, a performing arts centre located near the mouth of the Singapore River. With programmes ranging from dance to philharmonic performances, the art centre plays host to both local and international shows.

“I love my country…it’s so easy to be proud of Singapore,” Ruqxana says. “I can go for a play, a musical, a concert. [The arts scene] is thriving and there are so many activities going on.” If you’re feeling peckish and want to partake in more local flavours, drop by Makansutra Gluttons Bay, located right next to the performing arts venue. We recommend sampling the satay (grilled skewered meat) for a savoury treat.
 

Collection of memorabilia and retro items at The Heritage Shop at Arab Street
4 Arab Street

Spend the late afternoon amidst the hustle and bustle of Arab Street, with its hip fashion boutiques and trendy lifestyle offerings. For lovers of memorabilia and retro items, Ruqxana recommends stopping by The Heritage Shop, a nostalgic trove of postcards, coins and old gramophones.

“I love fashion and shopping. The young people who started out [their businesses] here [are so] passionate about what they do, selling the things they love”, Ruqxana enthuses. “It’s all so organic. I love the energy of the place.”
 

Vegetable sashimi on ice with quail egg shooter glass from Joie by Dozo
5 Joie by Dozo

If you’ve never been served art on a plate, you should take Ruqxana up on her suggestion to visit Joie by Dozo. The restaurant exemplifies the rigours of cooking through dishes that are feasts for both sight and taste.

“You almost don’t want to eat the dishes here, they’re so beautiful,” she says, in praise of the culinary expertise on display at this restaurant, which specialises in Japanese-Western vegetarian fare.

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