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Jul 7, 2006 09:49 AM

8 Hour Layover in Singapore: Suggestions?

I have an 8 hour layover from Los Angeles to Chennai, India in Singapore, and am excited to use this to contruct a major food foray! I've heard incredible things about food in Singapore, and up until now have only scheduled all my Asia stopovers through Bangkok so I can eat my way thru its streets, but I'm ready for something new!

After some research it looks like it takes around 30 minutes by train to get into the city, which should allow enough time for 1-2 full meals and multiple hawker stall stops.

Can anyone suggest easily accessible places (with relevant train stop info) for me? I'm into anything and everything (altho extremely expensive is not something I'm seeking this time).

Thanks in advance!

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  1. You can take the MRT Express from Changi Airport to Tanah Merah, and then from there take the EastWest line into town. A few stops down is the Bugis MRT station. They have a great food court and shopping center at the station. I like the mee goreng at the stand at the far back of the food court, and then the Ais Kachang (shaved ice) at the stall in the center. There is also a shop across from the food court that sells all sorts of dried Chinese plums and fruits that is great to try. I always stock up on my favorites from that shop. there is a small sweet shop next to that one that sells small cakes -- the selection is great and very fresh.

    You can also travel a few more stops down to the City Hall station and change to the North south line and head over to the Newton station, where you'll find the famous Newton's Circus hawker center. It's a little more expensive than "local" hawker centers since it's a bit of a tourist attraction. But it's a good place to experience if you've never been to Singapore and want to try a bit of everything.

    If you want to check out Little India, you can take the East West line to the Dhoby Gaut station, switch over to the NorthEast line, and head to the Little India station. You can walk around and sample some of the best South Indian food this side of India. My personal favorites in Little India are all on Serangoon Road -- Anandabhavans has wonderful dosas and vadas, and Komala Villas has great idli and vadas, as well as dry snacks like boondi and muruku. KV has two locations but both are equally good. Off Race Course Road you can find the famous Banana Leaf Apollo and Muthu's Curry, both known for their fish head curry, a must-try when you are in Singapore since it's a regional dish.

    Some dishes you should try while in Singapore are: mee goreng (indian mamak style fried noodles), murtabak (a meat, egg and onion stuffed paratha flatbread), chicken rice (steamed or roasted chicken with rice, soup and chilli sauce), roti prata (panfried flatbread served with curry or dal), popiah (a summer roll type thing stuffed with shrimp, veggies, peanuts and chillis) and wantan mee (a breakfast food: noodles with soup, wantans, veggies, charsiu, and chillis). These are all my favorites. My hubby has been traveling to Bangalore for work lately and has been scheduling all his flights through Singapore so he can visit my family for a couple hours and also eat. LOL He said he had a great Curry Mee at the Wisma Atria food court (on orchard Road if you're interested in doing some shopping).

    Keep in mind that if you have an 8 hour stop, you still have to get back to the airport a couple hours before your next flight, so figure you only have 6 hours to explore. If I had just 6 hours, I'd hit Newton's Circus and try some Chinese and Malay dishes, then take the NorthSouth line to Dhoby Gaut, switch to the NorthEast line and check out Little India and have some good South Indian food or some mee goreng, murtabak or roti prata (since you are headed to Chennai, I'd skip the South indian food and try the regional items). Also try the fish head curry. From there, you can take the NE line to the Outram Park station and switch to the EastWest line and head back to Tanah Merah and then onwards back to Changi.

    There is a lot to see and eat there!

    1. You could do a lot of damage just in the airport. There's a good hawker centre in Terminal 1, arrival hall, past the burger king, go outside turn left. I'm a fan of the vegetarian chinese food stall.

      I'd caution against Newton Circus - it's a hawker centre that primarily caters to tourists; it's expensive and quality will likely vary. If you plan to take the subwayMRT out, Bedok (a redsidential nabe) is a good stop. There's a nice hawker centre near the MRT stop, remember having good char kway teow there from one of the stalls where the;s a guy stir-frying only char kway teow on the right side of the stall. The dessert stall (get the ice jelly) in the corner is also good. There's another hawker centre close by, about 10 mins walk that has some of the best nasi lemak I've had. See

      2 Replies
      1. re: limster

        i'll second limster's recs.
        singapore is mighty interesting destination. lots more than food courts and hawker stalls.

        1. re: limster

          I also like the hawker center in Terminal 1 -- they had some great wantan mee last time I was there. The curry puffs and sausage buns in the airport snack shops are also pretty decent for a light snack.

        2. Thanks for all the suggestions, I'm salivating at the prospect of such good eats! I'm especially grateful for destination recs and dishes to try. Yeah, I'll probably skip the South Indian since I'll be based in Chennai for the next year, but everything else sounds like the kind of food I'd like to pack in before being relegated to mainly Indian eats.

          I'm glad I scheduled this essential eating stopover!