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Jan 11, 2009 09:21 PM

Singapore Food Trip

going to singapore over chinese new year, and am looking for the best places for the following: 1) pepper crab; 2) chili crab; 3) italian; 4) fish head curry; 5) french bistro; 6) snails in black bean sauce cantonese style; 7) nasi lemak; 8) indian bone marrow; 9) anything else you think worth trying.

i am a big fan of makansutra, but am looking for suggestions from chow hound bloggers, as i have found this is to be the best and most informative foodie website thus far.

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  1. 1. not a fan of pepper crab;

    2. chilli crab-maybe Palm Beach at One Fullerton. But Chilli crab has become like another commodity item here. If you are more adventurous, you can try Crab Bee Hoon at Sin Huat Geylang. But the place has attitude problem + terrible ambiance.

    3. If you are just looking for pasta and pizza, try Cugini : They have the best pasta in Singapore, in my opinion. The appetizer and main dish were not as impressive as its pasta. For other options, you may want to consider Garibaidi, Forlino or Bonta.

    4. My favorite curry fish head is Our Makan Shop at Blk 34 Whampoa West #01-27 (near Boon Keng MRT). Tel: 6297-9729. I think it is only opened for lunch; operated by Chinese family, the fish head is more expensive but it is fresh as they source them in the early morning. The flavor is also more tasty than others.

    5. French bistro: Gunther's , Nicolas

    6. not sure what you mean.

    7. Nasi Lemak: According to a recent internet poll, Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak at stall 2 Adam Road Food Centre has been voted as the best nasi lemak in town. Personally, it is ok but nothing spectacular.

    8. not a fan of indian bone marrow.

    9. Your question is too broad. Where are you from? What are you exactly looking for? Locals, Indians, Japanese, Cantonese etc etc? What is the budget? And how many days will you stay in town? Chinese New Year...some places may not be opened at all.

    50 Replies
    1. re: FourSeasons

      hi fourseasons,

      thx for your thoughts. i am new to chow hound, and have been catching up on the blogs that have already been witten. i appreciate and enjoy your thoughts greatly, as well as those of peech, klyeoh, charles yu and others. i actually found alot of good info on other blogs that i printed out and started to read. i am a korean-american from new york who moved out to hk about 5 years ago. whenever i plan a trip, food is a very important aspect of the trip. i love all types of food, and i prefer goodfood over ambience any day. i will be in sing roughly a week. i have been to sing a number of times, but this time i'm going specifically for the food. as for your comments:

      1. thats ok. my favorite is first grade seafood at joo chiat place. it opens at 5pm but runs out of crabs at 6pm. need to get there by 4:30pm. best by far, so far.

      2. thx for hat, iwilltry palm beach at one fullerton. i'm not a huge fan of chili crab, but i had one in macau at the no signboad seafood there, and it was the first time i really appreciated it. i've beento the crab bee hoon at sin huat. it is addictive, but i'm not a huge fan of anythig else there. i was curious about ya kwang that you mentioned in the white rabbit thread.

      3. great! i love pasta, and i will definitely go to cugini.

      4. excellent! i will try our makan shop for fish head curry. my favorite so far has been samy's, followed by banana leaf. not a fan of muthu's. i was turned onto fish head curry by a singaporean friend in nyc. we used to go to this place on grand street which was very good. i can't recll the name, but its a malaysian restaurant ongrand street.

      5. 2 more i have to try! i love french bistro food, and the only one that really stands out around hk is actually at the mgm in macau.

      6. i was just throwing this out there. in nyc, there is a restaurant in chinatown mott street called wo hop. open 24-hours, with the best fried dumplings. the soy sauce is addictive. they also have the best snails with black bean sauce. but the lst 2 times i went there, they didn't have it because they couldn't get ahold of any snails. also, they have blue crab sauteed with a pork and egg sauce whic is very unique. great with rice. was just throwing it out there to see if anyone knew of a restaurant that serves snails in black bean sauce.

      7. nasi lemak is all about the sambal (and coconut rice), and i guess everyone has their own specific taste.

      8. no problem. my 12-year old son, a mini-foodie himself, wants to try this. he saw it on an episode of anthony bourdain.

      thx again for all your help.

      1. re: schung

        Hi schung:

        Now that I know some of your background, let me reply and perhaps provide more ideas:

        1. I have never tried the Joo Chiat place you mentioned; maybe I should try the black pepper crab myself.

        2. No Sign Board has 2 branches here; maybe you should try the original branch at Geylang then; the food is better there than the Esplanade branch, which has better ambiance, more convenient location with better view but not the food. Ya Kwang has a change of ownership so I am not sure what is the present standard...

        3. Ok, since you live in Hong Kong and originally from NYC, perhaps the best pasta in town may still not be good enough for you. It is certainly not as good as Da Domenica in HKG or Babbo's in NYC.

        4. Our Makan Shop used to be in the neighborhood of Race Course Rd (near Banana Leaf) until they moved out 1 year ago to present location. It targets a different niche than Samy's and Banana Leaf; most of the customers are Chinese Singaporeans rather than Indians or tourists so you know it caters more to local Chinese taste bud. I actually don't like its present location because it has no A/C so I usually pack the food back to eat at home in the evening. Beside the fish head, you may want to order its black squid, fried chicken, crab appetizer and mixed vegetables.

        5. I think HKG overall has better French restaurants: Latelier Robuchon, Amber, Gaddies. Maybe I should add one more to the Singapore list: Iggies at Regent Hotel, not exactly bistro atmosphere, more modern feel; it has been voted as the best restaurant in Asia by Meile Guide. I think it is good, perhaps best fine dining in Singapore but disagree strongly as "best" in Asia.

        6. Unfortunately, still not sure what you mean. But since you live in HKG, I am not sure you want to try anything Cantonese here. But some Hong Kong visitors do visit local Cantonese places, such as trying Fish head noodle & Prawn paste fried chicken at Ka Soh at Amoy Street branch ( ), or Ipoh Hor Fun at Lee Tong Kee ( , there is also a review by another NYer of LTK at Chowhound before ( ), and by a blogger ( ), or local Singapore Chiu Chow comfort food Bak Kut Teh ( ), the one I like is Ya Hua at 593 Havelock Road #01-01/02, closed on Monday, only open in evening but terrible ambiance, just beware of that.

        7. You are absolutely correct.

        One problem if you visit for Chinese New Year is that many places may close on Jan 26th and maybe even 27th, especially Chinese restaurants (that may include many hawker stalls too). And don't expect to get a table in a Chinese restaurant for dinner on Jan 25th (many are already fully booked now), perhaps you should go for other cuisine on those 2 days.

        Singapore is, of course, famous for its hawker scene. SInce you are not a first time visitor, I am sure you maybe already familiar with that scene. Let me know if you need help for specifically any local dish.

        If you are looking for Korean food, my favorite is Jang Shou at Esplanade ( ). Rain went there when he visited Singapore; the best BBQ Galbi in town (I think it is as good as the ones I had in NYC); my only complain is perhaps lack of varieties there and the service tends to be too fast. If you are interested in Japanese, Indian or Indonesian cuisine etc, let me know; SIngapore is quite cosmopolitan so there are many varieties to fit into your 1 week schedule.

        1. re: FourSeasons

          hi fourseasons,

          your answers are so precise. excellent for a food lover like myself. really appreciate it.

          1. you definitely must try the black pepper crab at joo chiat place. it is clearly the best. just make sure that you get there by 4:30pm to get a table when it opens by 5pm. the crabs are gone after the first seating. and there remains a line regardless. i've made that mistake tiwce already of getting there after 5pm, and having to leave as they had run out of crabs.

          2. i will definitely try the geylang no signboard seafood.

          3. personally, i don't think there are any spectacular italian restaurants in hk. i do agree that da domenico is probably the best. i also like the pasta at va bene. they will make a any simple pasta dish you request. the hotel italian restaurants are all a bit too much. italian shuld be all about th ingredients, and cooking it simply and well. i also tried domani for the first time the other day. i actually liked the appetizers, but the mains were so-so, and it was ridiculously overpriced. babbo's. mmmmm. i remember having a white truffle tasting menu and meeting mario batali back in he day. also, for solid home style italian, try umberto' clam house in little italy. note they've moved from the original location. the linguini in clam sauce is amazing.

          4. ok. i'll try karu's this time. i've heard good things about it.

          5. i actually didn't like amber. latelier robuchon is good. and i've heard good things about gaddi's as well, but for some reason i haven't been yet. and pierre's is just no good. i had the tasting menu when he was in town, and i was underwhelmed. i thought robuchon in macau was the best french i've had in asia. of the 3 (gunther's, nicolas, iggie's), i will try one.

          6. i just wanted to know if there is anywhere in sing or hk that serves snails in black bean sauce. thats all. i like the sound of the prawn paste chicken. i love prawn paste on almost everything. i will also try ya hua bak kut teh. sounds fantastic. thx for that. i will also check the other blogs.

          7. noted. i will figure something out. western food is ok by me. maybe i'll try the italian and french on those 2 days. or whatever the hotel offers. in fact, i thought the fish head curry at the ritz was quite acceptable.

          thanks again for your help and all your other blogs as well. i will probably pass on the korean, indonesian and japanese. i might try song of india which was recommended by klyeoh. i know you weren't impressed though. maybe i'll try yantra instead.

          thx again for all your help.

          1. re: schung

            3. I really like the pasta and the seafood at Da Domenica. Many complained about its service but I thought it was acceptable during my two visits there. Yes, agree it is really expensive!!! I like Babbo's but it was certainly below my "great" expectation because I was expecting the best Italian in my life after reading so many great reviews at NYC Board. And it does not help that the service from the Maitre's was quite poor.

            5. Agree Robuchon Macau was excellent. Pre-Michelin 3 stars era, the place was virtually empty, but when I tried to book it on Dec 30th, it was fully booked for the following 2 weeks. The Michelin Guide sure has an impact.

            6. Well, if you like prawn paste, let me recommend two local dishes with prawn paste on their soup to enhance the flavor. One is Prawn Mee, basically some noodle with prawns and pork ribs on soup. My favorite is the one at Jalan Sultan Praw Mee at Geylang Lorong 1 area; two bloggers reviewed them, you can read them here:
            You may also want to try Mee Siam, another local dish with rice vermicelli on prawn paste soup. I will recommend Famous Road Trishaw Laksa at Hong Lim Food Centre #02-67, served by very friendly couple. You may want to try its other local dish Laksa at the same stall. Review here by the same 2 bloggers:
            Sorry, don't think I can help you on the snails with black bean sauce. Maybe klyeoh can help you when he read this post.

            7. I tried the fish head at Ritz Carlton once. Sorry, it is not good, at least the one I had a few years back. You will definitely prefer the one at Our Makan Shop.

            For Yantra, avoid the lunch buffet, it was not that good when I tried it a month ago. Dinner is much better. I think I will go back for dinner at Song of India since I think I had it for lunch as well.

            1. re: FourSeasons

              Re nasi lemak: while I was surfing on the blogger's website, I finally remember my favorite nasi lemak stall, though it was no where close to the "best" one in ranking based on internet poll I wrote above: Golden Shoe Nasi Lemak at Golden Shoe food centre, which is in the CBD area, so only open on weekdays and I think just for lunch only. I have not eaten there for years though since my office moved out of the CBD area. If you stay at Ritz, it is just one subway station away.

              1. re: FourSeasons

                perfect. so hungry already. also another good website. thx so much fourseasons!

              2. re: FourSeasons

                hi fourseasons, i overlooked this.

                3. i agree that babbo's is overrated. it is very good, but not superior as one would expect. i will try da domenica again. good italian is so rare in hk.

                5. i think robuchon macau and caprice hk are the 2 outstanding french restaurants in asia. unfortunately, the last 2 times i went to caprice, they ran out of the bresse chicken. actually, they had 2 left, i ordered 1, then i was later told that it was unavailable b/c it wasn't fresh. i actually think someone else ordered it, and there just wasn't enough. anywhay, it is excellent if you can get it. they split the white meat and the dark meat, and cook it 2 different ways.

                6. i will print and take the reviews on the prawn mee and read them later. sounds very good.

                7. yeah definitely not the best, but i thought not bad for a hotel.

                thx for the rec on yantra. sounds like a winner. dinner it is!

                thx again for your help!

                1. re: FourSeasons

                  HELP!!! Stuck at Changi airport for 6 hours. Are there any good food options at all? I am fearing not but would love toknow for sure. The lounge food is ok but would love a real meal.



                  1. re: midgee

                    The fod i nthe food court was edible, not Maxwell street but better than 99% of airport food. Doesn the mRT take you downtown real quick?

              3. re: FourSeasons

                hi fourseasons,

                excellent links! thx!

                i will check out both tian tian, and lee tong kee ipoh hor fun. sounds fantastic. also, a friend took me for bak kut teh one late night and it had seaweed in the soup. it was so good and refreshing after the drinks we had that night. but i can't remember the name or place. maybe few drinks too many. sound familiar?

                anyway, let me know if you need any suggesions in nyc. i'll give you one. try the burger at peter luger. the best and best value. the only thing is the trip out to brooklyn. last i checked, it was served only at lunch on weekdays. US$5 for a 1/2 pound burger ground from aged porterhouse. with fries and a glass of red, just a great lunch.

                1. re: schung

                  Tian Tian is voted as the "best" chicken rice stall by the internet poll too!!! And also featured at Bourdain before. It is in Maxwell Food Centre, which is just right opposite Lee Tong Kee. Again, it is not my favorite; my current favorite is not convenient for tourists so you may as well try Tian Tian since it is one of the most popular one.

                  Too many Bak Kut Teh stalls in idea at all the one you went to.

                  I have no plan to revisit NYC in near future. I went to Keen's for the NYC style dry aged steak (the adults had the porterhouse while the kids had prime rib) on the last trip since Peter Luger sounds so far away. I really don't think I had the East Coast taste bud since I did not enjoy the steaks so much at Keens even though it was raved at NYC Board. I thought I prefer the steaks at popular chain such as Morton's, Ruth Chris and Lawry's that I had in LA. Obviously those chains are not popular at all in NYC Board.

                  1. re: FourSeasons

                    tian tian sounds like the one i want to try. chicken rice is also very personal, and i've tried so many already. this one sounds definitely worth a visit.

                    re the bak kuh teh, no probs. ya hua sounds great.

                    what a coincidence. keen's is my favorite steakhouse in manhattan. it is the place where my friends and i meet up when i go back to ny. i always order 1 or 2 porterhouse for three (the thickest in manhattan) depending on how many of us there are. also, we order the mutton chop. no other steakhouse has it. i guess you prefer a more tender and milder steak as evidenced by your preference for wet aged steaks. dry aged has more of a metallic taste. but steakhouses are hit or miss some times. not all steaks are equal, and you my have just received a bad cut. oh well. the best steak that i've had personally was a ny strip at the river palm in edgewater nj.

                    thx again for all the recommendations!

                    1. re: schung

                      Hi schung, my all-time fave fish-head curry is:

                      Ocean Curry Fish Head Restaurant
                      181 Telok Ayer Street
                      Singapore 068629

                      It's near Amoy St food centre, and its version is slightly sourish. Absolutely delicious. The fish head curry also contains aubergines, okra, tomatoes & slivered onions. The cook's Chinese, and his style is more akin to Nyonya-Chinese or Indonesian-Peranakan style cooking - i.e. doesn't have the heavy fenugreek flavor reminiscent of Indian-style fish head curries.

                      As to your other queries, I can only share my personal preferences (other CH's may have their own opinion of which are the best):

                      1. Black pepper crab - too spicy-hot for me, but the last few times my friends dine out, it's Eng Seng at Still Road;
                      2. Chilli crab - I only liked one place: Hua Zhu at Farrer Road;
                      3. Italian - quite a few good ones: Il Lido at Sentosa Island, Forlino's at One Fullerton, San Marco at the Fullerton Hotel and Garibaldi at Purvis Street;
                      4. French bistro - sorry to say that my fave bistro Sebastien's Bistro in Greenwood Ave's closed. But Sebastien Reullier himself has moved to Picotin, 100 Turf Club (Tel: 6877 1191). Foie gras' pretty good, but I miss Sebatien's duck confit and beef daube. Another place that's going to remind you of a typical French-style bistro is Brasserie Wolf, #01-13 The Pier @ Robertson, 80 Mohamed Sultan Rd, Tel: 6835-7818.

                      Another interesting French bistro that's been around for a while, and serves really good boudin sausages & deep-fried intestines, is L'Angelus, 85 Club Street, Tel: 622506897. It's so successful, it's sprouted a sister bistro: Les Bouchons, 7 Ann Siang Rd, Tel: 6423-0737.

                      6) Don't think any Chinese restaurant in S'pore serves escargot in black beans. The closest you may get will be shellfish in black beans - that, you can get almost anywhere that serves Chinese seafood.

                      7) Nasi lemak - I've never been able to find any really good ones, or one that I like. Best you stick to Makansutra's recs. The only place I'd eat nasi lemak at the moment would be Grandma's Kitchen at Orchard Parade Hotel, since the chef is purportedly from Kuala Lumpur's famous Madam Kwan's/Sakura chain;

                      8) Sorry, I've never been able to get myself to eat Indian bone marrow (sop tulang), but the one which is always on everyone's lips is the stall at Adam Road Food Centre.

                      9) If you want a true taste of Singapore, try Peranakan-Nyonya food at Guan Hoe Soon, 214 Joo Chiat Road. Serves the best fish assam pedas, bakwan kepiting soup and ngoh hiang rolls in Singapore. Guan Hoe Soon, foodwise, also puts all its main competitors: True Blue, Peranakan Inn, Baba Inn, House of Peranakan, Blue Ginger and Ivins, in the shade. P.S. - the second-best Peranakan-Nyonya restaurant would be Ivins at 19/21 Binjai Park, Bukit Timah. Tel: 6468-3060..

                      1. re: klyeoh

                        "...there is a restaurant in chinatown mott street [NY, NY] called wo hop. open 24-hours"

                        I sure do miss that place. I don't know where to get duck chow fun like that since I moved away from NYC. (Tucson, AZ)

                        1. re: werewolf

                          my 12-yr old son wants to go to nyc just for the wo hop fried dumplings. he can eat 3 orders by himself!

                        2. re: klyeoh

                          schung was actually referring to the Eng Seng black pepper crab. Since its at the junction off Still Rd and Joo Chiat place, I suppose both of your locations are correct :)

                          1. re: Kiedis

                            hi kiedis, they are one and the same i believe. absolutely the best IMHO.

                          2. re: klyeoh

                            hi klyeah,

                            thx for your excellent recommendations. the fish head curry at ocean curry fish head restaurant sounds very much like the first one i had at nyonya on grand street in manhattan! i will definitely give that a try!

                            1. thats the one and only.

                            2. Hua Zhu at Farrer Road sounds like a winner as well. i'm generally not a fan of chili crabs as most i've tried in sing was overwhelmed by tomatoes, but i am now a buyer. i went to the no signboard seafood restaurant at the venetian with several friends and liked it there. it was a bit too fancy and pricey for that type of food, and we ordered virtually the entire menu, but i was underwhelmed with most everything (the white pepper crab was especially disappointing), BUT the chili crab was superb. the tomatoes didn't overwhelm the rest of the sauce.

                            3. i've heard good things about il lido. will try that one. which of the other 3 do you prefer?

                            4. l'angelus sounds perfect. a good boudin sausage and andouillette? sausage are 2 things i was specifically targeting. i also love belon oysters, but i have yet to find a good belon outside of france.

                            6. no problem. was just throwing it out there.

                            7. another one that sounds like a winner. will try the nasi lemak at grandma's kitchen.

                            8. haha. i may have a tough time trying it myself. but i heard the one at adam road was the one to try.

                            9. now this is what i was hoping for - a recommendation for something that i wouldn't have thought of. guan hoe soon it is!

                            thx again klyeah. i enjoy your blogs btw. my restaurant list has formed very nicely indeed.

                            1. re: schung

                              3. Each of the other 3 Italian restos have their strong selling point. I would choose Forlino's over the other two though. Reason:

                              Forlino - headed by Osvaldo Forlino, the original chef who put Il Lido on the culinary map. His restaurant's run by 3 generations of his own family, i.e. Grandma Forlino bakes the breads & desserts, his wife's also sous chef, etc. Very refined cooking. The view looks out to the Singapore Merlion, and the Esplanade/Marina Bay area - absolutely gorgeous.Forlino's also partly-owned by Il Lido's Beppe de Vito.

                              San Marco, atop the Fullerton Hotel, has the best views of the Singapore River & Bay area. Best service amongst the 3 restaurants. Great food as well - it's partly owned by Singapore-Belgian TV celebrity chef Emmanuel Stroobant (who cooks at Saint Pierre, and also owns Brussels Sprouts at Robertson Walk).

                              Garibaldi - perhaps Singapore's best-known Italian fine-dining restaurant (Beppe de Vito was also a chef/partner before he left to open Il Lido). I thought Garibaldi's owner-chef Roberto Galletti is perhaps the best Italian chef in Singapore. Only snag is that it doesn't have much of a view looking out to Purvis Street. Service is also not as polished as San Marco.

                              If you do have time to do an Italian lunch, check out Valentino's at 11 Jalan Bingka off Rifle Range Road, Bukit Timah (Tel: 6462 0555). Valentino Valtulina is a popular chef (ex-Cantina) with his own legion of fans who followed him to his own restaurant, another 3-generation Italian family-run place. The reason I recommend that you go for lunch there is because the famous Valentino's mama Alma cooks (the famous chef himself only cooks at dinnertime). Amazingly, most of my friends (& myself included) thought his mum's pastas are waaay better than his. I guess there's no beating an Italian mama when it comes to churning out honest-to-goodness, genuine, authentic Italian homecooking. Call ahead - the place is almost always fully-booked.

                              1. re: klyeoh

                                schung, if you are going to Ocean Curry Fish Head Restaurant - please note that they only do lunch, and the place gets crazy at 12 noon. It's in a coffee shop & can be extremely packed/hot/noisy. Try and go by 11am, and choose a table far away from the service counter as the queues do build up.

                                1. re: klyeoh

                                  haha thx klyeoh. forlino, garibaldi, and especially valentino's for lunch on my ever expanding list! i may actually have to come back soon to try everything!

                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                    Very nice pasta dishes. Best Italian in Singapore IMHO. Pity it's so far away from where I work

                                  2. re: schung

                                    4. L'Angelus. Perhaps you want to try Petit au Salut at Dempseys or Gunthar's or Les Amis over this one. Sorry, been there twice and did not have good experiences. In fact I went back there after the 1st trip to see if my bad experience was one-off but sad to say it wasnt. Food wasnt bad per se but it didnt elicit a 'wow' from my guests or me. And a friend of mine was also subjected to thuggish behaviour from one of their waiters too, but that is another story.

                                    1. re: Kiedis

                                      hi kiedis,

                                      oh thats a shame. was looking forward to some good sausages. oh well. the mgm in macau has a very good andouillette, so no matter. and i can wait until i get back to nyc and get the boudin at les halles. i've been to les amis, so maybe i'll try either petit au salut or gunthar's.

                                      thx for the heads up.

                                      1. re: schung

                                        Au Petit Salut
                                        40C Harding Road
                                        Dempsey Hill
                                        Tel: 6475-1976

                                        or its sister outlet

                                        Bistro Petit Salut
                                        44 Jalan Merah Saga
                                        #01-54 Chip Bee Garden
                                        Tel: 6474-9788

                                        P.S. - Gunther's not exactly a bistro, more like a really upscale French fine-dining spot. Its chef, Gunther Hubrechsen, formerly headed Les Amis's kitchens before Garibaldi's Roberto Galletti gave him the financial backing to start Gunther's. They are now business partners and the 2 restaurants - one French, one Italian - are just a couple of doors away from each other on Purvis Street.

                                    2. re: schung

                                      Hello schung: Ever thought of trying Eurasian food? It's somewhat peculiar to this part of the world. Singapore's Eurasian food is Malaccan-Portuguese in origin, but with subtle differences, eg the fiery curry Debal or Devil's curry where Singapore-Eurasians add cabbage leaves, but Malacca-Eurasians don't.
                                      Some other dishes to try include beef Semur stew, feng - a finely chopped offal in spicy mix dish, Eurasian chicken pot pies or cottage pies, sugee/semolina cakes...
                                      Despite its Portuguese origins, our Eurasian food is different from Macau's (my favourite dining destination, besides the casinos).
                                      There are 2 very good Eurasian restaurants in Singapore - one at the Eurasian Association called Quentin, and Mary's Kafe in Waterloo Street - no, I'm not related to Mary Gomez despite our similar surnames.

                                      1. re: M_Gomez

                                        hi m_gomez, thx for your post. very interesting. i generally am not a fan of fusion, but i'm a big fan of macanese food, which should be considered eurasian. and your description of malaccan-portuguese sounds different & unique, especially feng & debal. which of the 2 do u prefer? i'm much more a savory person vs sweet.

                                        1. re: schung

                                          Curry Debal is a definite must then.

                                          You also must give Nasi Padang (rice with a selection of curries) a try. One of the best-known ones: Zion Road Nasi Padang is quite near where I live. You can also walk down to Zion Road Food Centre afterwards where you'll find a very famous ch'ng tng (sweet dessert soup with lotus seeds, lychee & seaweed) stall. There's also a very popular fried koay teow stall there, run by a deaf-mute but very talented chef, you only need to look out for the long queue.

                                          1. re: M_Gomez

                                            I think the fred kway teo that Gomez refers to is stall no.18; it has been rank by an internet poll as one of the top 3 kawy teo stalls in Singapore. Here is the review from a blogger: ; I don't think the chef is deaf muted; I suspect Gomez is referring to the carrot cake stall in the middle of the row behind the main road, and I would recommend the Singapore style carrot cake there as well. There is also another pretty decent Bar Kut Teh stall at the corner end that only opens in the morning till noontime.

                                            I am not a fan of Zion Road Nasi Padang; it is Singapore style Padang food and I prefer the more authentic Indonesia style Padang food; so my choice would be Garuda at Cairhill ( ) or Warung M. Nasir at 69 Kelliney Road, some photos from another blogger:

                                            If you want to try some resonable priced Indoensian homey dishes, you may want to go to Lucky Plaza at Orchard Road, a few small authentice Indonesian restaurants there:

                                            1. re: FourSeasons

                                              I'd second Four Season's recs for good Indonesian at Lucky Plaza. BTW, I thought Resto Surabaya's the best among the lot! Seems like a hangout for Indonesia celebrities, too, when they are in Singapore - they have photos of 80s diva Rima Melati side-by-side with last year's Indonesian Idol, the very foodie-sized Mike Mohede.

                                              But Ayam Penyet Ria's very good as well. Not too enamoured with Java Kitchen, but they have a large selection of dishes to choose from, including the elaborate nasi tumpeng - the size of a mini-Mount Bromo and enough to feed 15 people!

                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                thx klyeoh and fourseasons. lucky plaza is now on my itinerary as well. resto surabaya sounds fantastic.

                                              2. re: FourSeasons

                                                Oh, silly me, thanks for pointing out my mistake, FourSeasons. You are right, the deaf-mute couple sells panfried carrot cake. Must forgive me - I'm pushing 60s & sometimes I think my mind is going.

                                                BTW, I am so sad to hear of thepassing of 86-year-old Ka-Soh, that feisty old lady who use to serve at Swee Kee fish noodles restaurant. It's now at Amoy Street but I remember the time when I was in my late teens, and Ka-Soh was in her 30s, Swee Kee used to be a small hawker street stall at Chin Chew Street in Chinatown. My dad would buy their famous fishhead soup and keep it overnight for the flavours to develop, then we'd have it the next day - so shiok!

                                                I'm glad Swee Kee restaurant is still around after all these years, very few eating establishments stay open for more than 50 years in Singapore.

                                                1. re: M_Gomez

                                                  Yes, I read about the passing of Ka Soh at Strait Times a few days ago. It is really amazing that it is still open and still so popular after all these years. It has always been a favorite for the local Cantonese.

                                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                                    Ka Soh is gone? Oh no... Swee Kee is one of my favorite places in Singapore.

                                                    I agree that you should give Forlino's a try for Italian. For bak kut teh, do Ng Ah Sio on Rangoon Road during the day (now forever imfamous among Hongkies for turning away Donald Tsang) or Ya Hwa at night (with air-con!)

                                                    I like the Zion Road Nasi Padang...may not be the most authentic, but still tastes good to me.

                                                    1. re: Peech

                                                      Don't worry, Peech, the restaurant is still there. Only the old lady herself has passed away.

                                                      1. re: Peech

                                                        Hi Peech:

                                                        Gomez is correct; you misunderstood my statement. The restaurant Ka Soh, is named after its long serving waitress, who retired a few years ago and passed away a few days ago. The restaurant is still there....

                                                        1. re: Peech

                                                          i think i've been to ya hwa. it was late at night, and i couldn't remember too much other than it had some seaweed in it and was very good. i have to try ng ah sio! haha! and i will also visit zion road nasi padang. i actually like the singaporean twist.

                                                    2. re: FourSeasons

                                                      the photos of warung m. nasir did the trick. i'm there. i'll also visit the zion road food center and try a variety of ifferent things.

                                                    3. re: M_Gomez

                                                      curry debal and zion road nasi padang it is. omg i am hungry now. i haven't had breakfast yet, and this blog has me salivating.

                                                      btw, yesterday, i dropped by wing hop sing for the clay pot beef and egg rice and it was so good. and for dinner, went to da ping huo. the dumplings at the end are absolutely as good as it gets.

                                                2. re: schung

                                                  Hi schung:

                                                  I just went to Hua Zhu last night. Sorry klyeoh, I would not recommend this place to schung. It is a Tze Char place; in Singapore, Tze Char is term to describe neighborhood Chinese restaurant that specialize more on Cantonese homey dishes; it is located on the 2nd floor of a HDB complex with the famous Westlake (another Tze Char place) just around the corner too, and somehow, seem to attract mostly Western expatriates who live close by to that neighborhood. The food is ok, nothing spectacular; Chilli crab is ok too but I think the one at Palm Beach at One Fullerton is better. But the main reason I am not recommending is you live in Hong Kong, where the standard of Cantonese food is so much better; I don't see any reason why you would want to take a 15 minutes taxi ride (no MRT station yet in that area) for common Cantonese food. I think it is more of a restaurant for the residents who live around that area for comfort food and cozy environment rather than for tourists or serious foodies.

                                                  Yes, Da Ping Huo is one of my favorites in HKG but my Honkie friends seem to think it is way over too spicy for them. I have been visiting this place for so many years that I notice they have toned down the level of spiciness. But the dumplings at the end is actually my least favorite dish there. I think the skin were too thick for me, and the fillings to heavy at the end of the meal. By the time they serve this dish, I was already way over-stuffed.

                                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                                    haha. duly noted re hua zhu fourseasons. makes sense to me.

                                                    as for da ping huo, i know what you mean about being stuffed by the time the dumplings roll around. but my 12-yr old son had 6 of them! he thinks they are as good as the ones in wo hop in nyc.

                                                    i normally like a thinner skin on the dumpling myself, but the ones at da ping huo are more reminiscent of an italian pasta al dente.

                                                    today i was thinking about the poached chicken in chili oil. and i think it may now be my favorite.

                                                    and regarding the spice, i think they toned it down for some dishes, but others, they left it alone. like the glass noodle appetizer. blew my head off, but i couldn't stop eating.

                                                    1. re: FourSeasons

                                                      Hua Zhu is a love-it-or-hate-it place, FourSeasons. I have a rather sweet tooth, which explains why I liked their chilli crab, which tends to be milder/sweeter than those you get in other chilli crab places (Long Beach, Palm Beach, No Signboard). I liked 2 other dishes there: the pomfret done two-ways, i.e. braised fishmeat slices and deep-fried crispy fish bones (with more sweet-sour dipping sauce); plus the fried beef koay-teow which comes topped with a raw egg, which you'll have to quickly stir into the steaming hot fried noodles to cook it. It is rather "retro" food, much like those served at Westlake, an old family hangout of ours back in the 1970s. Back then, they were some of the best restaurants in town, together with the old Majestic restaurant in Chinatown, Hillman & Capital restaurants in Cantonment Road, Mitzis (now in Tanjong Pagar Rd), etc. How times have changed - nowadays, we go to Crystal Jade Palace or Lei Garden for refined HK-style Cantonese food, and only go to Mitzis for a taste of the more rustic Singapore-style Cantonese.

                                                      1. re: klyeoh

                                                        I don't consider Hua Zhua as "love or hate" place. I am quite neutral to its food; and yes, the chilli crab is to the sweet side. I just consider it more like a neighborhood restaurant that I will consider when I am after reasonable priced Cantonese comfort food or when I just want to remain informal with my T shirt and bermuda pants, this is the type that I will look for within a short distance. I think most Singapore Chinese have their own favorite Tza Char place, where they are already familiar with the owner and waitresses, and their favorite comfort dishes. I usually go to Arcadia Restaurant, a simple and relaxing place, or when I want to splurge, I go to Sin Lee. But I just don't think I will recommend these places to visitors from Hong Kong.

                                                        1. re: FourSeasons

                                                          I love Arcadia Restaurant - I can't believe it's still there after all these years! My favourite things there are the fried long beans with minced pork, the hot and sour Sichuan soup, and doufu on hot plate with eggs. And amidst such beautiful setting as well, the canopy of graceful green arcadia trees on the road leading to the restaurant. I feel a thousand miles away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore city life although I'm just minutes away Orchard area.

                                                          1. re: M_Gomez

                                                            i actually like rustic homestyle chinese. and quite frankly, i think singapore has some of the best cantonese in the world. i actually think lei garden in singapore is better than any of the lei gardens in hk. and lei garden ifc2 is one of my favorite restaurants!

                                                            in fact, my theory about hk is that restaurants in hotels and independents who own their bldgs tend to be more consistent, b/c whenever a restaurant does well, the landlord jacks up the rents forcing it to compromise to remain profitable.

                                                            anyway, i will keep both arcadia and hua zhua on my list.

                                                            1. re: schung

                                                              Good on you, schung! I spend much time in Hong Kong & Macau myself (as some of my family are Macanese-Eurasians). I love Cantonese food in HK which is peerless, but back in Singapore, I would bring my HK/Macau relatives and friends to Singapore-style Cantonese restaurants. They may not be as refined as HK ones, but our food just tastes different. I've not been to Hua Zhu (it always looks full of Caucasian customers, like Four Seasons said) but I love Westlake restaurant near Hua Zhu. It is also one of the oldest restaurants I remember loving, and was very famous for tea-smoked duck, popiah (fresh spring rolls), Penang rojak and braised pork in soya sauce served with steamed mantou buns. The customers are all very local, but since you are in Singapore, maybe you want to eat at a place where it's really local. It's a bit run-down though, not all parts of Singapore is as flashy as Orchard Road. Plus, there is quite a bit of construction work for the new underground train line going on along Farrer Road.

                                                              1. re: M_Gomez

                                                                m_gomez, i will choose taste over ambience any day of the week! so westlake goes on the list!

                                                3. re: schung

                                                  Tian Tian IS worth a detour. In the same center is a hawker selling amazing banana fritters. Many folks also overlook the fresh juce hawkers. Fresh sugar cane juice is really good as is watermelon juice. If you can get the makansutra, it's invaluable. I found people eating in the hawker centers very friendly and they give great pointers on how to eat a certain dish and where to getthe best _________ or __________.

                                                  1. re: MOREKASHA

                                                    thx moreka sha, tian tian is definitely on my list.

                                      2. thx to everyone for their suggestions. my plans have changed and i have to go to seoul for the chinese new year.

                                        i will now be visiting singapore from 12-15 feb on business. although i won't have as much time, i will compile a list from this blog and keep it with me. any restaurant i miss, i will try and visit next time i go.

                                        i will do another quick blog on seoul separately. if you have any suggestions for seoul, please let me know. i value your opinions and suggestions highly.

                                        i will also post a blog after critiquing all the restaurants i visited. i hope it will be useful to you all.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: schung

                                          If you come to Singapore a week later (19-22 Feb), you can join in a Singapore CH chowdown.

                                          Sorry I can't really recommend you Seoul eats as I'm sure there'll be many Seoul CH who'd do a better job. The two meals I enjoyed most during my last visit to Korea in 2007 are a seafood restaurant at Incheon beach called Cheong Do Jogae Gurigo Heoi. It serves a divine haemultang seafood stew which is out of this world!!

                                          The other is a meal at a Korean-style Chinese restaurant called Myung Gung in Samsung-dong. Terrific jajyangmyeong and gampunggi.

                                          1. re: klyeoh

                                            unfortunately i will miss the sing chowdown. hopefully, i can meet up with you guys at some later chowdown.

                                            haha.. u really do know your korean. if you like seafood, you should try noryangjin fish mkt nearby yeoido. you pick your fish, take it to a restaurant, they cut it up and serve you sashimi korean style, then they make a meh un tang (spicy stew) out of the carcass.

                                        2. Humble recommendations from a S'porean :
                                          1) pepper crab; 2) chili crab; I like East Coast Seafood Centre
                                          Blk 1206 East Coast Parkway #01-07/08, East Coast Seafood Centre, Singapore 449883 Tel: 6442-3435. Reservations recommended for dinner as there's usually a long Q at night.

                                          3) italian
                                          OSO Ristorante
                                          46 Bukit Pasoh Road Tel: 6327 8378
                                          Ristorante Da Valentino
                                          11 Jalan Bingka Singapore 588908. Tel: 64620555

                                          4) fish head curry
                                          Gayatri 122 Race Course Road 01-01 Tel 62911011

                                          5) french bistro
                                          Le Bistrot 2 Stadium Walk, #01-03, Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore 397691

                                          6) snails in black bean sauce cantonese style
                                          Not a common dish. For good cantonese food, you can try Lei Garden #03-00 Orchard Shopping Centre, 321 Orchard Road, Singapore 238866. Tel :(65) 6734 3988.

                                          7) nasi lemak
                                          Punggol Nasi Lemak Centre (for dinner only)
                                          965 Serangoon Road
                                          Golden Shoe Nasi Lemak (until 7 pm)
                                          2nd Floor Golden Shoe Hawker Centre, Raffles Place

                                          8) indian bone marrow
                                          also called sup (soup) tulang (bone)
                                          my fav is Deen Mee Stall
                                          505 Beach Road
                                          #B1-17, Golden Mile Food Centre
                                          I would usually order the satay a few doors away and use the satay stick to poke the bone for the marrow.

                                          16 Replies
                                          1. re: kynd

                                            thx kynd! now that is what i call getting to the point.

                                            i completely agree with u on 6-9. i think lei garden in sing is one of the best cantonese restaurants anywhere. also, i like ponggol nasi lemak and deen mee stall on beach road for soup tulang. i have not tried the others, so i think our tastes may be aligned.

                                            i just got back from sing, and unfortunately was able to try only a few restaurants. but here is a summary:

                                            1. valentino's: so far away! but the pizza was as good as i've had in asia. my linguine with seafood was a bit too tange. but my colleague's homemade fettucine in wild boar ragu was excellent. another colleague's linguine in clam sauce was good, but needed some red pepper flakes. a bit on the mild side.

                                            2. samarkand: i had no choice in the matter as i was taken here by clients, but this was a surprisingly good north indian restaurant in the middle of boat quay. we went to the top floor outdoor patio, which was a fantastic place to sit and dine. the naan was as good as i've had anywhere. and most of the curries were spectacular, especially the chicken tikka, lamb rogan josh, saag paneer and the daal kharni. but the butter chicken curry was almost tasteless. and the samosa's were nothing special.

                                            3. forlino's: very upscale, but the lunch special is reasonably priced. i had the scallop special, which was solid, but not spectacular. the butter/garlic sauce was a bit on the bland side. but the 3-way pork (pork rib, pork sausage, boned, breaded and fried trotters) was unique and tasty - especially the sausage. the trotter was lacking something. needed a lemon squeeze, mustard, or something. the macaroons with a white chocolate cream included in the petits four sec were amazing. and i generally am not a dessert guy.

                                            4. picotin: another one far far away. the pizza was not nearly as good as valentino's, but they had a couple of visiting chefs (friends of the owner's) who had some specials on the board. i tried the stuffed pied au cochon. was not expecting much, but this was as good as i've ever had. it was a largely deboned trotter, stuffed with an interesting combination of mushrooms, breadcrumbs, etc, placed on a bed of mashed, with a brown gravy drizzled over. the stuffing and the mash nicely cut the gooiness of the trotter. also had a reasonable priced 1997 chateauneuf de pape to wash it down.

                                            5. sami's: tried to go to karu's, but too far and i was running out of time. so we doubled back to sami's. the fish head curry seemed a bit more watery and less spicy, but the flavors qwere still spot on.

                                            1. re: schung

                                              Hi schung:

                                              You sure try quite a bit of Italian in Singapore this time. I have been to all of them. I have the same agreement with you on Valentino: the pizza was good but the pasta fell short when I ordered the squid ink linguini with crab sauce recently. I actually don't understand why many raved about its pasta, that was my second visit and I was not that impressed. The squid ink liguini at Bonta (in UE Square) is much better, and I still rate the best pasta in Singapore (and perhaps pizza too) at Cugini (though the starter and main dish need to be improved). I also have mixed review on my only visit to Forlino's for dinner; the place is beautiful though. I don't really like Picotin, that is a thumb down for me. I used to go to OSO regularly, the one recommend by kynd, not because I like it but one of my foodie friends love to invite us to that place. The cold cut and rissotto are pretty good, but the rest just so so...It also depends whether the boss himself is in the kitchen. They used to be better when they started the operation, but once the business tunred great, the boss seemed to spend more time entertaining the customers. But I have not been back for last 2 years. THere is also a review of OSO by a NY hound about a year ago, you can read it here:

                                              On other note, Lei Garden at Orchard Shopping Centre is good, but certainly not in the same class as the Lei Garden Wanchai branch or IFC branch in Hong Kong.

                                              Did not get any response from you on the message I left on your Korea trip thread about the "chow" meet on early March in Hong Kong. Sher.eats will attend too!!!

                                              1. re: FourSeasons

                                                hi fourseasons,

                                                i was there on business, so i didn't have much choice in restaurants. but having said that, i always like to look for good italian as it is so rare in hk. i will definitely try cugini next time.

                                                picotin i have to admit was not that great. i just got lucky with a dish that was not on the menu, and was made by a visiting chef. my colleagues steak and foie gras was average at best.

                                                i like the lei garden in chjimes. i haven't been to the one in orchard shopping center. i really think it is better than hk. especially the seafood.

                                                as for the "chow" meet in hk, let me go check the thread again. i can't believe i missed it! i thought it was in sing? let me check now

                                                1. re: schung

                                                  Your Picotin entree sounded like Pied de Cochon aux Morilles a la Pierre Koffmann, one of the classic dishes to come out of Pierre Koffmann's then 3-Michelin starred Le Tante Claire restaurant in London back in the 1980s/90s.

                                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                                    is that right?! well it was spectacular. and i'm sure they are still serving it.

                                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                                      Any idea if Pierre Koffmann is still cooking? Have fond memories of Tante Claire, had a uni mate who loved the Pied de Cochon and would order that every time. I only had the budget for the set lunches but it was fab all the same.

                                                      1. re: KLfoodie

                                                        Sadly no. He hung up his kitchen toque after he sold La Tante Claire to Gordon Ramsay in 2002. Interestingly, Pierre Koffmann was the mentor to the fiery-tempered Marco Pierre White, whom Gordon Ramsay worked for much later on.

                                                        1. re: klyeoh

                                                          Miracles do happen. Pierre Koffmann's back cooking - at his new restaurant, Koffmann's in the Berkeley London:

                                                    2. re: schung

                                                      Hi schung:

                                                      Have you tried Da Domenico yet? Klyeoh, Peech, sher.eats and I gave high mark for this place. You have to worry more about your wallet for this place.

                                                      Re Picotin: yes, I ordered from the menu.

                                                      Re Lei Garden: Ok, I guess we have to disagree on this one. I love the ones at Wanchai and IFC, though I also give high mark to Chjimes or Orchard Center. I frequent less on Chjimes because of the traffic problem there on weekends. But whatever it is, it is amazing that Lei Garden can maintain such high standard with so many branches. I read from an article that the boss is very focus and hands-on and would never compromise on quality. His management style seem to work; I think it is incredible for a Cantonese restaurant.

                                                      1. re: FourSeasons

                                                        yes i have been to da domenico twice. i thought very good, basic, fresh, well prepared ingredients. just like italian should be. but very expensive.

                                                        having said that, almost any trattoria in rome is just as good or better. but alas, that is why we have to settle for less. rome is too far away.

                                                        agree re lei garden. very strong all around cantonese.

                                                2. re: kynd

                                                  Sorry. For 1), the restaurant is Jumbo.

                                                  1. re: kynd

                                                    hi kynd,

                                                    thx for that. what are your thoughts on no signboard?

                                                    1. re: schung

                                                      No Signboard is known for its white pepper crab. Personally, I prefer the black pepper crab.

                                                      1. re: kynd

                                                        yes i know. but i preferred the chili crab vs its white pepper crab. and i normally don't even like chili crab.

                                                        also, there is only one place for black crab. the one at joo chiat place!

                                                        1. re: schung

                                                          You must be referring to Eng Seng at Still Road, that's off Joo Chiat Place.

                                                3. The original comment has been removed