Join Fiona Xie and our expat friends from Australia and New Zealand, as they explore Singapore’s hidden gems.
Follow Singaporean actress Fiona Xie across the island, as she uncovers our island’s hidden gems in the three-part video series, SingapoRevealed.
Famous for her role as Kitty Pong in Hollywood hit Crazy Rich Asians, Fiona is joined by expat friends from Australia and New Zealand, who shed light on the delicious food, vibrant culture and verdant nature of our Lion City.
The dynamic personalities in this series include:
- Dr. Donna Brunero – Senior Lecturer at the National University of Singapore
- Rebecca Assice – Founder of the Virtual Room Asia Pacific
- Kirstie Gannaway – Professional MMA fighter and Fitness/Martial Arts Instructor
- Wade Pearce – Marine and Yachting Consultant, and Founder of SG Marine Guide
- Shaun McEwan – MC and Charity Auctioneer
Fiona’s Top Tips For Exploring Singapore
1. National Gallery Singapore
For culture vultures out there, the National Gallery Singapore is a must-visit. The gallery is home to Southeast Asia’s largest art collection and is actually housed in the former City Hall and Supreme Court — two of Singapore’s most iconic buildings that link to Singapore’s colonial past. One of Singapore’s most famous restaurants, Violet Oon’s National Kitchen is located within the Gallery and delivers food that pays homage to our Peranakan roots. Another ‘must try’ restaurant is three Michelin-starred Odette. The French fine dining restaurant is inspired by head chef Julien Royer's (surprise, surprise) grandmother's recipes and love of seasonal ingredients.
2. Dempsey Hill
Dempsey Hill is an exciting cluster of restaurants, bars and shops, and a fun place to visit. Newly renovated Culina is my favourite culinary haven and the Grandiflora florist there is sublime. There are amazing restaurants like Candlenut, White Rabbit, Samy’s Curry, and so much more. And for all fashionistas, the super cool multi-label store Dover Street Market is not to be missed!
3. Haji Lane
There are plenty of places to shop in Singapore, but one of my favourite spots for local designers is Haji Lane. It’s a little quirky street lined with shophouses and colourful graffiti walls in the bustling Kampong Gelam area. You can easily spend the whole day window shopping (or actually shopping!), visiting cafes for some teh tarik (local pulled tea), and people watching.
4. New Ubin Seafood CHIJMES
New Ubin Seafood in the iconic CHJIMES is located in the heart of the city, and is well-known for its zi char (meaning to “cook and fry”) style of dining. I love this restaurant for its casual vibe, and for its menu which is overflowing with delicious dishes loaded with home-cooked flavours. Be sure to taste a couple of my zi char favourites including Chilli Crab and Fish Head Curry, as well as New Ubin’s exciting signature dishes, such as the Rib Eye with Heart Attack Fried Rice and Brinjal Delight.
5. Cloudstreet Restaurant
Helmed by Michelin-starred and Australian-trained Chef Rishi Naleendra alongside Gareth Burnett, Cloudstreet is an innovative fusion restaurant which takes you on a journey of diverse cultures and flavours through spectacular dishes, progressive wines and wonderful service. What I love most is that the cuisine can’t be pigeonholed. It manages to combine Rishi’s Sri Lankan heritage and his home-base of Singapore with Australian flavours. Must-try dishes that bring Australian and Singapore tastes together are the Stout and Licorice Bread or the Grilled Lamb with Young Jackfruit and Mint.
6. Raffles Hotel
Raffles Hotel is Singapore’s “Grand Dame” built in 1887 and recently restored to her former colonial beauty, complete with new amenities. It was also featured in Crazy Rich Asians. The hotel’s Long Bar is where the famous cocktail “Singapore Sling” was first created, and don’t forget their equally famous and amazing afternoon tea set!
7. Gardens by the Bay
Crazy Rich Asians has put futuristic Gardens by the Bay on the wish list of millions of fans around the world. As a proud Singaporean watching my beautiful country unfurl onto the big screen for the world to see, I was elated that the wedding of the century was held at the Gardens. Many people around the world thought it was computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the movie and didn’t really exist! While many would know the well-known attractions like the spectacular Flower Dome and the breathtaking Garden Rhapsody light and sound show under the Supertree Grove, a spot that even seasoned visitors may not be as familiar with is Floral Fantasy - an incredible floral attraction with over 3,000 plants on display, inspired by fairy tales and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
8. Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is an iconic hotel and casino with sweeping views of the city and a breath-taking rooftop infinity pool! Immerse yourself with a cocktail at CE LA VI where the closing scene of Crazy Rich Asians was filmed with the impeccable synchronised swim team and the cast celebrating with technicolour fireworks. MBS is Singapore’s luxury shopping haven with almost every designer brand housed under one roof. Recently, Apple launched the world’s first floating glass dome Apple store in front of MBS. Designed by Norman Foster, the dome appears ephemeral and the changing intensity and colour of the light is mesmerising.
9. Royal Albatross Sunset Sail
I know how much Aussies and Kiwis love the water so the Royal Albatross Sunset Sail cruise is a perfect way to explore Singapore. Rain or shine, you are able to take to the high seas and experience an unparalleled view of the Singapore cityscape, all while enjoying a delicious 3 course dinner. For the pop culture fans out there, you may also recognise the Royal Albatross superyacht from Hollywood blockbuster, The Dark Knight!