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Need advice! Singapore 3 day trip!

Alright, so I'm going to Singapore for a wedding at the end of July. Will be staying at the Regent (on Cuscaden Road near the Forum Galleria). Need some suggestions for places/food I MUST go/eat if I am ever in Singapore. I'm talking 'final supper' good. Not looking for pricey food this time around. Please take into account I will be staying at the Regent and won't have a car so if the place is too far away it might be a minor issue. Meals can be breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Obviously my #1 want is to grab some good Hainan chicken rice. Was thinking about hitting up Tien Tiens in Maxwell Hawker Center but I've heard there are other chicken rice restaurants that are just as good (if not better).

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  1. Tian Tian at Maxwell is like 15 minutes taxi drive from Regent so that maybe an issue to you.

    If you don't mind to pay a bit more, I will recommend the Hainan chicken rice at Chatterbox in Meritus Mandarin. 10-15 minutes walk from Regent. Another option close by is Hainanese Delicacy at Far East Plaza (5th floor), about 5-10 minutes walk. Big Bird at Balmoral Plaza is another option for 5 min taxi ride, not as well known but I thought the rice and chilli is the best.

    Not sure what you meant by 'final supper' and "meals can be breakfast...dinner". Seem that covers everything. Please be more specific; what type of food, budget, solo or group, spicy/non-spicy, nice ambiance etc.

    For late night supper, I would recommend you to try Bar Kut Teh at Yah Hua @ 593 Havelock Road. It is 5-10 minutes taxi ride. Another option is go to Newton Hawker Centre, which many consider tourists-trapped: try white carrot cake at Heng (stall 28), best carrot cake in Singapore, in my opinion. Hokkien mie at stall 15 Kwang Huat is good too.

    Notice you are new to CH. There is a search function above; many past threads on Singapore food scene, so just type "Singapore" and you can get some clues. Another option is look at my profile and click my twitter site where I gave some ratings on the local food scene.

    Iggy's at Regent Hotel has been voted as the best restaurant in Asia by Meile Guide (whatever that is worth..). It is a fine dining place.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FourSeasons

      I wrote an email to an American visitor sometime ago who ask similar question like yours. I just "copy and paste" below for your reference:

      This will be my recommendation for you:

      1. Morning: for breakfast, go for bar kut teh http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bak_kut_teh . And the one I will recommend to you is Ng Ah Siou http://www.hungrygowhere.com/restaura... . I think they close on Monday and open as early as 6am from Tue-Sun but do double check again. I would recommend you to request for the long rib (instead of the one in menu which is just short rib), which they will request additional $2 or $3. If you don't mind offal, order the pork kidney as well. Make sure you get youtiao (it maybe included) and you can perhaps add one more vegetable. If you are a big eater, you can ask for the pork leg (or knuckle) in dark soya sauce.

      2. Lunch: for two days, I will give you 3 options:
      A. Hainan Chicken Rice: I will just recommend the most expensive one, that is in Chatterbox in Meritus Mandarin Hotel: http://www.meritus-hotels.com/index.p... . It still has a legendary name on chicken rice though much more expensive than compared to the hawker stalls. My two favorites are actually not very well known and they are located in residential neighborhood which may not be convenient for you. So I think this is the right one for you.
      B. Curry Fish head: Unfortunately, the boss of my favorite restaurant for Curry Fish Head decided to take a rest and close his shop just a month ago, so it won't be available when you are in town. I seldom try other places so I am at a loss which to recommend to you. So instead, I will recommend an Indian shop called Lucky Prata located at an old shopping mall called Lucky Plaza: http://www.asiaone.com/Wine%252CDine+... . This place is famous for Nasi Bryani (Indian rice with chicken, mutton depend on your selection). They also serve very good Roti Prata, a type of Indian dough with curry sauce. Less well known is its Curry Fish head, but I think you get to try all three in this place!!! Most Singaporeans will tell you to head to race course road (such as muttu curry etc) for Curry Fish head but I am not a fan of those places.
      C. Peranakan cuisine: I will recommend House of Peranakan at Meritus Negara Hotel: http://www.hungrygowhere.com/singapor... . I will recommend dishes such as Ngo Hiong, Ayam Buah Kelak, ikan otak otak, pan fried pomfred with chilli sauce on top.

      3. Dinner: 4 options to you. The first two are really popular with tourists as location is convenient. But if you are more adventurous, you can go for C or/and D.
      A. Palm Beach at One Fullerton: it is quite close to your hotel. You can order Chilli Crab here and other local seafood dishes. One thing about Chilli Crab, in my opinion, is that the standard has declined over the years due to influx of tourists for this dish. Everyone wants Chilli crab, so what happened is that the few famous seafood restaurants (Palm Beach, No Sign Board, Little Red House) has expanded aggressively with chains, but yet not able to maintain the quality. To me, it is like a commodity now, but to tourists and others, they still love it. This place is a good option, the food is still decent, nice ambiance with good view.
      B. Newton Hawker Centre. This is the most famous hawker place in Singapore, some called it a "tourist trap", which i partially agreed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton_F... This is where most tourist go to in the evening. You can select whatever dishes you like from the stalls but the one I will recommend is the Singapore style white carrot cake (don't confuse with Hong kong Dim Sum's carrot cake) at stall no 28 Heng and perhaps Hokkien mee at stall no 15 Kwang Huat (for whatever reasons, I always prefer to order to pack away as it taste better eating at home than there; I suspect it is because the broth soaked longer in the noodle which provides better flavor). You can also select a seafood stall there to order local favorites like cockles and chilli stingray. There have been a few cases that tourists complained of being overcharged for ordering jumbo prawns so it is better to confirm the price of seafood before the order.
      C. Now if you are more adventurous, I will suggest you to head down to Geylang district, http://www.makansutra.com/Makanzine/m... which is kind of notorious as it is also a red light district and perhaps the HQ of gangsters, so it does not have the "clean" image that is always associate with Singapore. One that is made well known by Anthony Bordain is Sin Huat where the dish Crab Bee Hoon was declared the best dish he ever had. You probably can check out in youtube. Now incredibly for a lousy ambiance, bad service and not very good location, this place is not cheap. People just go there for the food and nothing else. Beside the Crab Bee Hoon, I will recommend the Gong Gong, a type of conch, and steamed garlic squid.
      http://www.foodgps.com/sin-huat-seafo...
      D. Beside Chilli Crab and Crab Bee Hoon, another well know crab dish in Singapore is called Black Pepper Crab, and the best, I think, is Eng Seng Restaurant at 247 Joo Chiat Place, not exactly a convenient place for tourists. Now the thing about this place is that you have to queue at 5pm, and the other dishes (you can try the mee goreng here) are not as good as the Black Pepper Crab. So one option is to go for early dinner at 5pm and another place for late dinner at 8 or 9pm. There is a blogger who review it, you can read here:
      http://ieatishootipost.sg/2008/09/eng...

      4. Late night option:
      A. Now if you have a bottomless pit on your stomach and crave for late night dining, I will recommend Sin Lee at 47 Neil Road. This is a local style Cantonese restauarant that caters for late night guests, so I think it opened at 6pm and close at 4am. There is some write up on this place in Chowhound; I contributed some comments there. Just use the Search function on Greater Asia Board in Chowhound. Some signature dishes include braised shark fin soup (maybe politically incorrect for Westerners or New Yorkers???), stamed garlic bamboo clams, beef hor fun, ( I think they are very good with these 3 dishes).
      B. Another option for late night is Ka Soh at 96 Amoy Street, but last order is at 10:45pm. They have been in business for 70 years, may not sound that long in NYC, but that is a long time in Singapore, considering the history of this country is so short. Famous dishes are the Fish head/ (or Fish slices) noodle and Prawn paste chicken: http://www.ka-soh.com.sg/menu.php

    2. Hawker food is the way to go, if you can stand the heat and humidity in Singapore. Maxwell Hawker Centre, besides Tian Tian chicken rice is also good for its Hainanese curry rice, Thai cooked food stall, porridge stall, and many other options.

      If you want airconditioned comfort, cross over to Mitzis on Tanjung Pagar Road for some real Old Singapore-style Cantonese food. You'll love the boneless chicken spread with minced prawns.

      I never fail to recommend people to try Eurasian and Nyonya food in Singapore. For Eurasian food, go to Quentins at the Eurasian Community House, Ceylon Lane (near Joo Chiat) for frikadelle, Curry Debal, and a slice of delicious sugee cake. It's very Portuguese-Eurasian, in a very Singapore way.

      For Nyonya food, try Baba Inn (Frankl Ave), or its other sister branches in East Coast Rd and Pan Pacific Orchard (quite near your Regent Hotel). Or you may want to try Singapore Indian, Malay & Chinese street foods all in one place: aircon comfort in Grand Hyatt's beautiful Straits Kitchen. Book ahead - tell you concierge to help you get a table: very, very, very popular!!

      If you want good Alaskan king crab or lobster, try Ting Heng steamboat in Tiong Bahru. It's a culinary scret spot amongst us locals, ha ha! Your hotel concierge should also be able to find you the address & do booking.

      Singapore also has the best Indian food in Southeast Asia. Go to Little India for breakfast at Komala Vilas or one of the many wonderful south Indian breakfast spots - great thosais, pratas, idlis. Near your hotel is Tanglin Mall, try Yantra Indian restaurant there, very good tandooris and northern Indian food.

      Or go to Arab Street for nasi lemak breakfast.

      2 Replies
      1. re: M_Gomez

        Sad! Sad! Sad! One of Singapore's oldest Cantonese restaurants, Mitzis, has closed down. Sob!!

        1. re: M_Gomez

          Very sad indeed. I heard that the landlord wanted to raise the rent (Singapore's commercial rent levels have been booming ever since the casinos opened), and Mitzis' owners threw in the towel. I'm going to miss those old waitresses, some of whom I'd known for over 3 decades!

      2. If you look at the Greater Asia Board Discussion threads listed on the right side of this page, you'll see several similar queries which will satisfy your curiousity about what to eat and where to find them.

        But if you need any more specific information, then do let us know and we can point you in the right direction.

        1. Check out Indian Samy's Curry Restaurant on Dempsey Road. Go casual.

          1. i actually quite like boon tong kee chicken rice. its just different from the rest. this chicken rice is for u if u like gelatinous chicken skin.

            1. Similar request - my wife and I will be in Singapore for 4 days next month. i'm working my way through the recs on this board. We're staying at the Four Seasons. any additions/changes you'd recommend to this or any other chowhound string based on that location? Thanks!!

              25 Replies
              1. re: Geoff

                Four Seasons Hotel is about 500 yards from the Regent, pretty much the same locale.

                1. re: klyeoh

                  ah, ok thanks

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    and, any thoughts about:
                    - Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant
                    - Fullerton Hotel's Town Restaurant
                    - Club Street - Bar SaVanh
                    - Da Dong in Chinatown
                    - My Humble House
                    - Straits Kitchen in the Grand Hyatt
                    - Crystal Jade Golden Palace in Paragon Shopping Center
                    - The Blue Ginger

                    1. re: Geoff

                      - I like Palm Beach seafood restaurant. The outlet in One Fullerton's got a great view over the Singapore River mouth & bay area. Great chilli crabs;

                      - Fullerton's Town restaurant - much like any other good hotel outlet. It's got a good but not outstanding Japanese sushi/sashimi section. At lunch-time, the Indian buffet held in the airy hotel atrium's worth checking out;

                      - Club St Bar Savanh, good place to chill out, but you should try Indochine Waterfront which is more lively (same owners & pretty same concept, I think);

                      - Da Dong - never been.

                      - My Humble House: Chinese fusion food. Not cheap. Service is erratic. Great views from the Esplanade Waterfront towards the business district;

                      - Straits Kitchen (Grand Hyatt): a good place to try all 3 main types of Singapore street cuisine: Chinese, Malay & Indian. The Indian section is particularly good, with the best tandooris, naan breads & dhal curries you'd ever find in Singapore. The Malay section has good satays & grilled seafoods. The Chinese section has good chicken rice but suffers from the restaurant's halal/kosher environment: Chinese food without pork/lard is just not the same. Book ahead - the place is full every night;

                      - Crystal Jade Golden Palace: very high-quality Teochew/Chaozhou-style Chinese food. If you want good Cantonese, try its sister restaurant Crystal Jade Palace in Ngee Ann City just across the road from Paragon;

                      - The Blue Ginger. Good but over-priced Peranakan/Nyonya food. You get better food at Guan Hoe Soon (Joo Chiat Rd) or similar standards of cooking at House of Peranakan (Pan Pacific Orchard Hotel) or Plaza Market Cafe (Swissotel Singapore).

                      1. re: klyeoh

                        Thanks! and now our plans have changed - staying at the Mandarin Oriental, not the Four Seasons (lucky us either way!) so any comments that might be altered by that , let me know. we'll be out and exploring, by public transport unless a cab is absolutely necessary.

                        1. re: Geoff

                          Mandarin Oriental puts you within walking distance of One Fullerton & Palm Beach Seafood. You may also want to check out the dining options at the Esplanade theatre complex across the road from your hotel. In the evenings, the hawker stalls there offer some of the best local street foods:
                          http://www.makansutra.com/eateries.html

                          Other restaurants to explore in the Esplanade include No Signboard Seafood (which offers pretty much the same fare as Palm Beach) or Simply Peranakan Cuisine restaurant which offers very Singaporean Straits cooking.

                          http://www.esplanade.com/eat_drink_sh...

                          BTW, Mandarin Oriental is linked to the large Marina Square mall - you may want to check out Inle Myanmar restaurant in there - the Burmese food is some of the best I've tasted.

                          1. re: Geoff

                            MO's got Morton's of Chicago which offers the best steaks in Singapore, though I don't imagine that's what you will look for if you're visiting Singapore from the US, you'd want something more "local".
                            MO's also got Wasabi Bistro which is one of my favourite places for, oh,wait a minute - American (by way of Hawaii)-style sushi.
                            Marina Square is linked to Suntec City where you can find a large food court at the big Fountain - all Singapore hawker foods can be found there: roti prata, prawn noodles, laksa, etc etc.

                          2. re: klyeoh

                            Klyeoh or anyone, thoughts about Lau Pa Sat at Boon Tat Street? thanks! Wow is it a (fun) challenge trying to wrap my brain around where we should try to eat during our time in the city!

                            1. re: Geoff

                              It's as good a place as any to find most Singapore street foods in one place. Check out their website:
                              http://www.laupasat.biz/

                              Lau Pa Sat opens throughout the day (lunch-time is VERY busy with the office crowd in the financial district) but the satay stalls at Boon Tat St start operating only in the evening. As for quality of cooking, Esplanade's Glutton square (near your hotel) would be better.

                              1. re: klyeoh

                                Thank you, AGAIN - reading all of your posts, plus your responses to me, has been invaluable.

                                So - I'll go to the well again. Re food, any opinions about Restaurant 1827 Thai at Old Parliament House? How about Angel's Share Restaurant at Dempsey Rd?

                                And, a food related question. Given Singapore's usual heat and humidity, we're considering structuring our days so that lunches are in "nice" places (i'm not sure yet if i mean upscale, or just airconditioned!) to be out of the heat of the day for awhile.......and dinners are wherever we choose to go, AC or not. Thoughts?

                                Thanks all again.

                                1. re: Geoff

                                  Restaurant 1827 @ Old Parliament House is really, and I do mean REALLY over-priced for so-so food. Try Jim Thompson in Harding Rd (Dempsey Hill area) instead if you're looking for posh Thai. Sorry, haven't been to Angel's.

                                  For me, the heat/humidity in S'pore has always been too oppressive, and I go for air-con places even for dinner. But if you're visiting from a temperate country, just try dining al fresco for once & see if you'd enjoy it.

                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                    Thanks. We live in Washington DC so while we're not on the equator, the summers here can be very hot and humid. Guess we'll try both.

                                    1. re: Geoff

                                      hah! right now we're having weather that's even hotter than SNG, though actually a little less humid tha usual D.C. weather. looking forward to our trip - thank everyone so much for your advice, will report back after we return.

                                    2. re: klyeoh

                                      And sorry! i left out one place we'd read about - Fifty-Three, the prix fixe molecular restaurant. thoughts anyone? thanks!

                                      1. re: Geoff

                                        I've not tried that place myself but you can read the Business Times review:
                                        http://www.soshiok.com/articles/11574

                                        1. re: Geoff

                                          Just went to Fifty Three this week, I am impressed with the food and overall presentation. Though it is new, I think it has the potential to be the best fine dining place in town.

                                          1. re: FourSeasons

                                            My dear Fourseasons, if you're heaping such high accolades on Fifty-Three, I'd love you to provide us with a more detailed description on why you think it is so. What dishes did you have, how did they impress you, the ambience and service compared to other like restaurants in town. Please, please share.

                                            1. re: M_Gomez

                                              Hi Gomez: Oh, I am going to disappoint you; I am not very good at giving detailed description, on top of that, it was a business meal so I did not write down any note; Klyeoh would have done a much better job; that is why I am not a food critic. But I enjoyed the meal thoroughly, the chef was innovative; started with an appetizer cheese with tomato/watermelon and a sauce that has a slight taste of wasabi, then proceed with a Boston lobster tail and I believe duck tongue (???, need to confirm again). Next is potato (can't remember where it is imported from) on a stone with coffee powder. Main dish was beef that was cooked on a low temperature for the whole day. Can't remember the two desserts. Service was good; ambiance was simple and minimalist in a two story shop house. At the end of the day, I thought it was perhaps the best fine dining experience I had in Singapore.

                                              1. re: FourSeasons

                                                Thank you so much, Fourseasons, I think you gave a pretty good write-up on your experience. I'm now very curious to try out Fifty-Three.

                                2. re: klyeoh

                                  Just uncovered a NYTimes clipping from October of 2006 (!). Johnny Apple (of revered foodie and chowhound memory) suggests the following Singapore restos:

                                  - Iggy's
                                  - Jade
                                  - My Humble House
                                  - Le Papillon
                                  - Majestic
                                  - Graze
                                  - Il Lido
                                  - Nogawa

                                  Some info in this thread and others on at least a couple of these. Would value anyone's additional thoughts.

                                  Also, thoughts about Tiong Bahru hawker center? Compared to others? From what I've read so far it looks like we'll try to hit Maxwell, East Coast, Gluttons Bay, Lau Pa Sat, and perhaps Newton.

                                  Really appreciate everyone's continued chat!

                                  1. re: Geoff

                                    Iggy's - still good, despite constant change of chefs. Not cheap & you need to book ahead. Very polished service, and the food verges on the molecular, but in a good way;

                                    Jade - hoity-toity Chinese. Standards are usually high but, again, this is a business power lunch spot, and not cheap;

                                    - My Humble House, nouvelle Chinese, great views of the Bay area towards the business district;

                                    - Le Papillon: closed! Spot taken over by Otto Italian restaurant. The chef Giacomo Gallina is very good, one of the best in Singapore;

                                    - Majestic: Chef Yong Bing Ngen is extremely talented. In fact, if you can only eat in one fine-dining Chinese restaurant in Singapore, consider this one. Great food. There's a table in there which looks up to a glass-bottomed swimming pool right above the restaurant - strange;

                                    - Graze: modern-Australian. It was good but the original buzz has faded somewhat. Great location in Rochester Park, dine in a restored British colonial bungalow amidst tropical foliage;

                                    - Il Lido: still one of the premier Italian dining spots despite the departure of uber-chef Osvaldo Forlino from the group. The restaurant's on Sentosa resort-island & has nice sea views;

                                    - Nogawa: haven't been back there for a while. The sushi place is still de facto No. 1 in Singapore, although owner-chef Yoshio Nogawa has relocated back to Ginza early this year.

                                    Tiong Bahru hawker centre is a fave breakfast spot amongst many Singaporeans. Some must-not-miss food stalls:
                                    - fried carrot cake (it's a savory dish of polenta-like radish-pasta stir-fried with eggs, garlic, sweet-soy, salted radish);
                                    - steamed chwee kueh (soft rice cakes, topped with chopped salted radish), barbecued duck/pork (char siew) stall;
                                    - ter huang kiam chye (Chiuchow/Chaozhou Chinese soup with pork, intestines, offal, liver, kidneys, etc) - it's yummier than it sounds!
                                    - Tiong Bahru Pau: dim sum place with to-die-for char siew buns and the "large pork bun".

                                    Tiong Bahru food centre can be oppressively hot & humid even in the mornings. Packed with locals during lunch-time, and quieter in the evenings when most of the stalls (which cater to the lunch-time crowd) have closed down. Tiong Bahru is more staid & "local", compared to East Coast, Lau Pa Sat or Newton, which are more touristy but more colourful.

                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                      Incredibly helpful, thanks again! Question re "book ahead." From prior places I've mentioned in this string, I sent a question to Mandarin Oriental concierge desk, asking if we needed to book any of these possible places FAR ahead, especially for lunch. We'll probably have dinner in hawker/food markets, lunch (heat of the day) in A/C restaurants. M.O. claims that of the places mentioned, a day ahead of time would be fine. Do you agree? We care a lot about food but also don't want to schedule ourselves too, too much.

                                      1. re: Geoff

                                        Yes, usually a day ahead would be fine in Singapore, except for current hotspot Fifty-Three (try 3-4 days ahead), and Italian eatery Valentino for weekends. So far (touch wood), no Singapore eatery is as hot as Nomiya Paris or Momofuku NY which require online bookings a month ahead ;-)

                                        1. re: klyeoh

                                          In this string and elsewhere there are some places in Little India, and Tiong Bahru hawker center, mentioned for breakfast. Any worthwhile breakfast options near Mandarin Oriental?

                                          1. re: Geoff

                                            Mandarin Oriental's situated in the gigantic Marina Square mall, quite a swish area with a cluster of other hotels (Ritz-Carlton, Conrad, etc) around. Problem with such places, if you get out of the hotels, you end up with American fast food-style places only for breakfast, e.g. McDonalds, Burger King, etc - which I don't think is what you're looking for on a Singapore holiday.

                                            Try taking a short 10-15 minute walk to Seah St or Purvis St (next to Raffles Hotel) where there are local coffee shops which serve French toasts, kaya toast (I assume you've heard of kaya: a local egg-custard "jam"), and thick Hainanese coffee with enough caffeine to make you crawl up the wall afterwards. They also have soft-boiled eggs, and noodle (mee siam) or rice (nasi lemak)dishes, if you are looking for something more exotic to start your day.