As one the world’s most vibrant culinary capitals, Singapore takes every meal seriously—including supper. A night-time meal here is not just a quick snack before hitting the sack. It is typically a feast with friends that involves hours of conversation and catching up. Experience this slice of local culture for yourself at these spots that most Singaporeans will want to keep a secret.
Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant
Late night dim sum
It is common to see a line snaking outside Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant—even when it is already four in the morning. The dim sum (bite-sized portions of food served in steamer baskets or on small plates) restaurant has been around for more than 50 years, occupying five shophouses to keep up with the never-ending demand for its signature dishes. Order the liu sha bao (S$3.60/three pieces), a steamed salted egg yolk custard bun that is both savoury and sweet, and mee sua kueh (S$1/two pieces), which are fried cubes of mee sua (thin wheat noodles). End the meal on a sweet note with Portuguese egg tarts (S$1.50/two pieces), a smooth egg custard in a crumbly, golden-brown pastry shell.
Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant. 183/185/187/189/191 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882. +65 6225 7788.
Mon & Wed-Sat 11am-2.30pm, 6pm-6am; Sun 10am-3pm, 6pm-6am.
Desserts after dark
Janice Wong is one of Singapore’s most prolific pastry and dessert chefs—and 2am:dessertbar is where she first made her mark. Known for her ingenious creations and elaborate sweets, Wong constantly pushes the boundaries with desserts like the cassis plum (S$24), a dish that has even been featured on MasterChef Australia. Each dessert also comes with a suggested drink pairing. So you might be recommended a crisp sake from Kyoto, Japan to pair with a rich chocolate tart, or a gin cocktail to accompany a pistachio sponge and orange ice cream. And, as its name suggests, this dessert bar stays open until 2am.
Holland Village. 21A Lorong Liput, Singapore 277733. +65 6291 9727.
Tue-Fri 3pm-2am; Sat-Sun 2pm-2am.
Ponggol Nasi Lemak
Breakfast food for supper
Venture out of the city centre and head to the heartlands for some authentic nasi lemak (a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf). Typically eaten as a hearty breakfast, nasi lemak is served with various toppings such as crispy fried chicken, ikan bilis (deep fried anchovies) and sweet sambal (chilli paste). What sets Ponggol Nasi Lemak apart from the rest is that it allows you to mix and match from a large array of over 20 side dishes. Customise your perfect supper plate with options like long beans fried in shrimp paste, otah (a spicy fish cake) and a runny sunny-side up, to name a few. Prices start at about S$4 for a plate with three sides.
Mee Sek Food Court. 965 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 534721. +65 6281 0020.
Korean fried chicken ’til late
If you’ve got a hankering for buckets of fried chicken in the middle of the night, Chicken Up is your answer. Situated in the sea of Korean restaurants along Tanjong Pagar Road, Chicken Up is always packed with people looking to get their fix of piping hot chicken wings, slathered in sauces like Spicy Up, a hot sauce that will leave you red in the face, soya ganjang, an umami-rich sauce that even the kids will enjoy, and sweet yangnyum chilli, which is sticky, sweet, spicy and tangy all in one. Wash it all down with watermelon soju (Korean rice wine, S$38), served in a cored-out melon, no less.
Chicken Up. 48 Tanjong Pagar Road #01-01, Singapore 088469. +65 6327 1203.
Mon-Thu 5.30pm-2am; Fri & Sat 5.30pm-3am; Sun 5.30pm-midnight.
Hai Di Lao Hot Pot
Upscale steamboat near Sentosa
Looking to refuel after a long day? Head to Hai Di Lao Hot Pot for nourishing soup bases in which you can dip quality meats and veggies. This chic restaurant prides itself in offering unbeatable service, providing diners in the queue with complimentary hot towels, snacks and even manicures to while away the time.
Once you’re seated, choose from soup bases like chicken, mushroom, tomato, seafood, laksa (a spicy coconut milk-based broth) and Hai Di Lao’s bestselling spicy Sichuan soup, then throw in an assortment of ingredients to the bubbling pot. For a show to accompany your meal, order the hand-pulled noodles. An acrobatic staff member will theatrically pull, stretch and twirl the noodles tableside before dunking them in your hot pot.
A basic set, which includes a soup base and a selection of meats and vegetables, goes for about S$50, but these do not include the more premium ingredients. You’ll need to shell out extra for items like wagyu beef and seafood.
VivoCity. 1 Harbourfront Walk #03-09, Singapore 098585.
Clarke Quay. 3D River Valley Road #02-04, Singapore 179023.
313@Somerset. 313 Orchard Road #04-23/24, Singapore 238895.
IMM. 2 Jurong East Street 21 #03-01, Singapore 609601.
The Ramen Stall
Halal ramen and Japanese food
While Japanese restaurants serving pork-based ramen (a Japanese noodle soup) are dime a dozen in Singapore, Halal options are considerably harder to find. The Ramen Stall re-creates the richness of pork-based broths by boiling chicken meat and bones for 30 hours, ensuring you get a robust, milky broth each time. Aside from its signature chicken ramen (S$11), there are options like the Volcano ramen (S$11) for those wanting a spicy kick and abalone seafood ramen (S$23.90), which is served with tempura (battered and deep fried) prawns and squid.
The Ramen Stall. 787 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198755. +65 6655 0800.
Mon-Fri 5pm-6am; Sat noon-5am; Sun noon-midnight.