LUSH DINING AT DEMPSEY HILL
Who knew that a former British military camp could be reincarnated into a hip lifestyle hub? At Dempsey Hill, smart real estate developers have converted a collection of black-and-white barracks into trendy bars, restaurants and galleries to cater to Singaporeans’ increasingly metropolitan outlook. From chill-out garden cafes and lively seafood restaurants to modern fine dining restaurants and contemporary-chic bistros, one visit to the bucolic spot is often not enough. The best thing about dining in Dempsey Hill is that one is subject to the verdant surroundings of the hillock where the vibe is significantly more relaxed than the neighbouring urban districts, yet visitors need only take a leisurely stroll from the city to find a piece of respite.
Photo taken from Dempsy Hill website.
RIVERSIDE DINING AT THE QUAYS
Chock-a-block full of snazzy restaurants and bars, the Clarke and Boat Quay areas might seem overwhelming at first so familiarise yourself with the area by taking a river cruise. The standard 30-minute ride gives you a quick overview of the historic area, while the full day pass enables you to hop on and off the solar-powered, eco-friendly river taxi as many times as you want, at any of the 6 stops. Find points of interest and plot your exploratory route while you soak in the sights on the cruise. One of the most densely populated restaurant areas of Singapore, you can take your pick from all sorts of cuisine ranging from Indonesian to Mexican, Japanese to Spanish, Chinese to fusion and more. The two quays truly come alive as night falls and the restaurants and bars light up in an incandescent rainbow – definitely a sight not to be missed.
DELIGHTS IN LITTLE INDIA
With its rows upon rows of heritage shophouses occupying the crowded and convivial district, Little India is one of the must-see neighborhoods in Singapore. Here you will encounter stores hawking glittering jewellery, traditional Indian garb, spices and authentic Indian food. The narrow streets can be rather confusing, so start your visit at Tekka Market at the mouth of Serangoon Road. From here, head towards Mustafa Centre on Syed Alwi Road. Along the way, visit the kaleidoscopic Hindu temples and stop by various boutiques tucked away at Little India Arcade where you can purchase unique souvenirs and ethnic accessories. Various shops dotted along the way also offer traditional Indian sweets such as gulab jamun, jalebi and mithai. For a more substantial meal, head towards Race Course Road. Here, you can sample fish head curry, a local favourite, at established restaurants.
DINING WITH THE STARS AT INTEGRATED RESORTS
Singapore’s culinary scene has been glamorized with the establishment of Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. Complementing the opening of the Integrated Resorts are 13 celebrity chef restaurants headed by some of the world’s most renowned culinary masters. These include Joel Robuchon, Kunio Tokuoka, Susur Lee and Scott Webster, who are operating fine dining restaurants at Resorts World Sentosa. Acclaimed French chef, Robuchon, has brought three dining concepts to the entertainment hub. La Table de Joel Robuchon and The Pastry Shop & Lounge are more informal outfits. At Marina Bay Sands, the star-studded line up of chefs comprises Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, Guy Savoy and Tetsuya Wakuda.
DIGGING IN TO LOCAL FOODS
Singapore’s food fare has met with great acclaim overseas for good reason – the local hawker food is delicious, easily accessible and come at pocket-friendly prices. Despite the proliferation of stalls, however, there are some hawker centres that are particularly worth visiting.
CHINATOWN COMPLEX FOOD MARKET
The largest hawker centre in Singapore, Chinatown Complex is the place to stop by for breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack or dinner if you’re in the mood for local food in Chinatown. With over 200 cooked food stalls, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Prices are lower than those at Makansutra Gluttons Bay and Newton Food Centre, but the taste and popularity of the food here can easily hold its own. Apart from hawker staples such as chicken rice and bak chor mee (minced meat noodles), restaurant-style dishes like tender steamed fish cooked Hong Kong (with light soya sauce) or Teochew (with salted plums and salted vegetables) style are also available for prices far lower than anything you can get at a restaurant.
Address: 335 Smith Street, Singapore 050335
Opening Hours: Varies depending on the individual stores, but generally opens from breakfast to dinner time.
Nearest MRT Station: Chinatown
MAXWELL FOOD CENTRE
The moment you reach Maxwell Food Centre you’ll notice that most patrons are eating chicken rice, and for good reason – the chicken rice stalls at Maxwell Food Centre are reputed to serve the best chicken rice in Singapore. It is home to the famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall, which bested celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay in a hawker cook-off, but some contend that Ah-Tai Hainanese Chicken Rice which is just a few stalls down is better. Another stall you shouldn’t miss is Zhen Zhen Porridge, which serves Chinese rice porridge with a generous amount of ingredients and spring onions, shallots and chopped preserved vegetables. For desert, try the soya bean pudding from Lao Ban which is creamier than the traditional version and goes down a treat.
Address: 1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184
Opening Hours: Varies depending on the individual stores. Tian Tian and Ah-Tai open at 11am and close at 8pm or until they run out of ingredients, whichever is earlier.
Nearest MRT Station: Tanjong Pagar and Chinatown
NEWTON FOOD CENTRE
A stone’s throw from Newton MRT Station, Newton Food Centre is popularly known as Newton Circus to locals. It was the venue for the Hawker Heroes food challenge which saw Gordon Ramsay pit his skills against three local hawkers. Don’t miss the barbequed chicken wings and seafood – chilli or butter crab served with fried buns called mantou are hot favourites. Oyster omelettes are a popular dish here too. Some of the stall owners can be pushy, but don’t feel pressured into ordering from them if you wish to take a look before deciding.
Address: Clemenceau Ave North Singapore 229495
Opening Hours: Varies depending on the individual stores, but generally opens from breakfast to supper time.
Nearest MRT Station: Newton
MAKANSUTRA GLUTTONS BAY
Dig in to fragments of Singapore’s culture and history at the Makansutra Gluttons Bay, an open air hawker area next to the Esplanade. Here, you get a wide spectrum of dishes against the spectacular backdrop of the Marina Bay skyline and the glittering lights of Shenton Way across the water. To get the best out of Makansutra Gluttons Bay’s offerings, try different dishes from a variety of food stalls. Try some satay (skewered grilled meat), kaya toast (milky coconut jam with bread), roti john (egg and minced meat loaf), chicken wings, chai tow kway (savoury fried carrot cake), nasi lemak (fragrant rice cooked with coconut milk and served with side dishes), barbequed sting ray, chilli crab or anything that catches your fancy.
Address: 8 Raffles Ave, Singapore 039802
Opening Hours: From 5pm until past midnight
Nearest MRT Station: City Hall, Esplanade and Promenade
Tel No: +65 6438 4038 Website: www.makansutra.com