Eats not to be missed in Singapore!
I'm going to be moving to Singapore in January for the next 4 months, and I'm looking to compile a list of places (restaurants, hawker stalls, etc) that I absolutely need to make sure I check out before leaving. Given that I plan on eating out on an almost nightly basis, the more suggestions the better.
To give you some frame of reference, I love the staple flavors of Singapore: Chinese, Indian and Malay, so I imagine these types of places would have the best food, but I am open to any and all ethnic varieties.
Thanks for the wisdom!
My personal favorite Hainanese chicken rice restaurant is Yet Con on Purvis Street - nearly 70-years-old and still going strong. The roast pork, drizzled with molasses, and served with pickled vegies are good. So are other Hainanese staples like the Hainan pork chop; the pan-fried glass noodles with cuttlefish, pork & chives; and pan-fried fish maw with seafood, eggs & Napa cabbage.
Singapore's best-known nasi Padang place is Rendezvous in Bras Basah. Generations of Singaporeans grew up on their curries. Of course, their cooking style is very Singaporean (Garuda, as recommended by FourSeasons, is more authentically Indonesian).
The best Thai place I've had (in terms of food, not ambience/service) is A-Roy - one outlet in Funan IT Mall, the other in East Coast Road. Bangkok relatives/friends swore that A-Roy's the only place which cooks food exactly the way it should be done as in Thailand. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also venture down to Golden Mile Complex on Beach Road (Singapore's own Little Thailand), where the smell of fish sauce permeats the air, and lethal made-for-Thais "som tam" and "tom yum" can scald your tongue off.
My fave Indian places are: Song of India (Mumbai-style fine-dining); Madras New Woodlands (Indian breakfasts: idli, upma, dosa, prata, appam); Jaggi's (tandooris .. period); Raj of Kolkata (Calcutta's finest: the Raj Kachori is divine); Murugan's (great steamed idlis - in Chennai, you have to queue for 30 minutes just to get in, the Singapore branch is more diner-friendly); Sagar's (one of Delhi's best-known vegetarian restaurants: their uttapam & aviyal are some of the best in town); that coffeeshop at the corner of Norris Rd and Serangoon Rd which serves killer chappati; Chat Masala in Siglap for their pani puris, pav bhajis and belpooris; Thoriyah (Jln Kayu) for roti prata.
Fave Chinese places to dine: Crystal Jade Palace (Ngee Ann City) for the roast goose, crackling-skinned roast pork, seafood soup served in a whole winter melon, stir-fried geoduck with spring onions/ginger (S$300 per shellfish though); Mitzis for Buddha Jumps over the Wall soup;
For Eurasian (S'pore-Portuguese) food: Mary Gomez in Waterloo St - Beef Smore, Curry Debal, etc;
For Mexican, Viva Mexico in Cuppage Plaza has tamales and Chiles en Nogada (the whole year round!). 3 Mexican chefs, I know one from Jalisco.
For Nigerian, CLE African Restaurant in Verdun Rd, near Sam Leong Rd;
For Burmese/Myanmarese, Inle Restaurant - one outlet in Peninsula Plaza, the other in Marina Square. Fabulous mohinga, and fried noodles.
For hawker fare, check out http://ieatishootipost.sg. This bloke goes around singapore for the best hawker stuff and he include address, contact number and opening hours as well. Also, I'd recommend buying the Makansutra when you are here. Between the 2, you cant really go wrong.
Wonderful suggestion, Kiedis, I quite liked Makansutra myself.
By the way, Keith, here are some of my favourite casual places to eat in Singapore:
1) Hainanese chicken rice - Nam Kee (Upper Thomson Road), Boon Tong Kee (River Valley Road), Wee Nam Kee (Thomson Road, opposite Novena Church), Tian Tian food stall (Maxwell Road Food Centre), and a very popular stall in Margaret Drive;
2) Fried carrot cake - stall at Tanglin Halt; another one at 7th Mile Bukit Timah Rd Food Centre;
3) Fried koay teow - Zion Road Food Centre - not exactly to everyone's taste, but there's a permanent queue so they must be popular - plus (most importantly) it's only 5 minutes' walk from my house;
4) Duck noodles - Newton Food Centre (stall faces the carpark). My girlfriends from Hong Kong raved over this. Even bought whole braised ducks to bring home;
5) Indian vegetarian thali and breakfast food - Madras New Woodlands (Upper Dickson Road); Komala Vilas (Serangoon Road); Sagar (Syed Alwi Road);
6) Indian tandooris - Jaggi's (Race Course Road);
7) Indian chappati breads with mutton curry - Norris Road, off Serangoon Road
8) Malay nasi padang - Hajjah Maimunah (Pisang Street, near Arab Street), Sabar Menanti (Kandahar Street, also near Arab Street);
9) Hong Kong-style food - Old Hong Kong Cafe in Square 2, Novena Square; Crystal Jade restaurant chain - branches everywhere, but the best ones are in Takashimaya, Orchard Road;
10) Singapore-Cantonese food - Mitzis, Tanjong Pagar Road. It's noisy, cluttered & drives you mad. But the food is as good as any you'll find in Singapore;
11) Ka-Soh Swee Kee, Amoy Street. Nice Cantonese fish & noodles soup. When we were children (back in the early 1950s), it used to be a small cart. Now, it's an ari-conditioned but still very casual sort of eatery.
Singapore is a very large city (4.8 million) and its choice of cuisine (and number of restaurants) is vast & varied. Perhaps when you are in Singapore, you may wish to seek more specific advice from CHs on where to find the type of food you want to have (e.g. where to find Mexican tamales or Chiles en Nogada in Singapore when you're hankering for them, or where to find the best French-style pan-fried foie gras, Vietnamese banh mi, Shanghainese dumplings or Italian pasta/pizza in Singapore). Welcome to Singapore!
Just to add further comments on Gomez's post:
1. The one at Margaret Drive is known as Sin Kee at Queenstown #2-548 Commonwealth Ave Food Centre. Those listed above are all well known Hainan Chicken Rice stalls, but they tend to serve those fatty hormone-injected ala KFC chicken types. I personally prefer what we here called kampung chicken (meaning organic), skinny in comparison with yellow skin, firmer meat but more tasty. And my favorite is Chicken House at 255 Upper Thomson Road. The other option for chicken rice is Hainan Delicacy at #05-116 Far East Plaza, not as well known as above, but in my opinion, is as good and more convenient.
2. For carrot cake, if you are going to Newton Food Centre to try the duck noodles like Gomez recommended, which is a very popular place for tourists, you may want to try stall no.28 Heng. It is my personal favorite for carrot cake.
3. 10. & 11. Yes, Zion Road's Fried Kawy Teo is well known and favorite for many. The stall number is no.18. Mitzis and Ka-Soh are local Cantonese favorites; I will recommend another one known as Sin Lee, already reviewed here, so just type at the above search function.
I am surprised you like Padang food. Few HongKongers like this cuisine; seem to be too much spice for them. Yes, Nasi Padang on Zion Road is well known if you like Singapore style Padang food. I personally prefer the Indonesian style Padang food, so I opt for Garuda at Cairnhill Place #02-01.
My dear Peech, I used to like Zion Road Nasi Padang so much. It's only around the corner from where I live, and they make such lovely curries. But I have reservations about their hygiene standards ever since the Environment Ministry ordered it to close down for a period of time some years ago. I haven't been back since, which may be a bit unfair on my part.
FourSeasons' recommendation on Garuda is perfect! It's not cheap (for nasi padang) but is well worth it.
As for Roti Prata, Peech, have you tried the one in a corner coffee shop near the junction of Bukit Timah Road and Sixth Avenue? I was brought there a while back by an old friend (a former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia) who wouldn't have Roti Prata anywhere else in Singapore. Their version was crisp & flaky: absolutely delicious.
I still go back to Thasevi Prata shop in Jalan Kayu - more for the nostalgia, I've been their regular customer since the 1970s. Thoriyah, also along Jalan Kayu, also serves very good prata.