Singapore (must try)
I hate these types of post as it makes a poster out to be too lazy to research. I have tried but I am a little overwhelmed with all the info and I have no time.
So we are here for a quick last minute business trip and need to hear about the Top 5 must try's and restaurants. We are booked into Waku Ghin on Saturday but need to quickly work out what else to try. Cheap and good is fine including great murtabak if possible.
Thanks in anticipation.
Thanks for all the suggestions. Like all these trips it is easier to plan than execute. I have no idea why my partner couldn't go to the Zoo's night safari during the day instead of prime evening dining time. At least I persuaded her to forgo a "Bongo Burger" and head out for a late curry.
We stayed near boat quay and found some Murtabak in a street around the back of the quay on the first night. Not certain if it was a good example but I enjoyed it a lot and would be addicted if I lived in Singapore. Does it usually have a "curry powder" taste? We followed this by heading to Little India and tried Muthu's Curry, a very good Mutter Paneer, Mutton Chukka (a very dry curry) and good breads with a very fine romali roti. Total bill S$39 a real bargain and good curry cafe food.
On two days I grabbed a coffee and croissant at "Da Paolo Gastronomia" which I believe is chain that does good italian influenced breakfast and very reasonable coffee.
For the Zoo night we headed to "Anjappar" again in Little India, this was a bit of a step up from Muttu's but still very cheap S$56, a good garlic kebab and very fine mutton massala with good roti and naan. Although the "Fish 65" wasn't anything to write about.
Friday night saw us head to East Coast Seafood Centre where we ate at "No-signboard". We tried the Chilli Crab and the White Pepper Crab. I preferred the white pepper as I thought their chilli crab was too sweet (I think others have said that on the board ). Both dishes were good and wonderfully messy. I last had chilli crab here 9 or 10 years ago and back then it was a cheap meal. Not now, careful ordering still saw us get a bill for S$141.
We didn't really make to any true hawker centers. During the week I didn't get a chance to get out of the office and on Saturday we indulged in the Fullerton breakfast buffet which set us up really until dinner. We did peruse the stalls in the basement of Marina Bay Sands and tried a few snacks but nothing to really write about, I believe they have brought together branches of some of the famed stalls here. My guess is we should have gone with empty stomachs and only chosen cook to order food.
Our big meal was Waku Ghin for which I will write a separate post. Overall a great food city with lots of easily accessible options, prices are creeping up though so not a cheap city by any means.
No Signboard is okay but Jumbo is definitely better (and more popular/crowded as well). Too bad you didn't get a chance to check out the hawker stalls or some of the popular dishes like chicken rice and laksa. It's like going to Hong Kong and not trying dim sum -- can't really say you had the complete Singaporean food experience.
@h_k_foodie: Jumbo has gone downhill IMO in the last few years. The East Coast Seafood Centre branch used to be my favorite but not anymore. Quality has gone downhill in last few visits ever since the boss kept expanding the branches. Currently, my fave is Palm Beach at One Fullerton.
Not sure if they are "must order", but I usually ordered the more traditional local seafood rather than the expensive one that are introduced in recent years after the influx of tourists. My orders include: Crispy Baby Squid, Otah, Herb & Drunk Prawns, Crispy Crullers, Spicy Morning Glory, Mee Goreng. Of course, if you love crab, you may consider Black Pepper Crab as well. Since you are based in Hong Kong, I would say avoid the shark fin, steamed fish and lobster since they won't match the standard in HKG.
All in all, not a bad food trip. As someone mentioned, too bad you didnt have time for hawker centres for their chicken rice, hokkien prawn noodles, singaporean styled wonton noodle, char kway teow etc. Oh, and your friend could not have gone to the night safari in the day, cos as the name implies, its open at night :) Unless you meant the zoo, then they are 2 different entities altogether.
Last note, between Muthu's and Banana Leaf Apollo, I prefer the latter.
Here are my three must-visit food clusters:
(1) HONG LIM FOOD CENTER (JUST RENOVATED)
Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa #02-66 --- 11am-6pm, closed Sun
Outram Park Char Kway Teow #02-17 --- 7am-4:30pm, daily (?)
Heng Kee Curry Mee #01-58 --- 9am-5pm, closed Sun
Tuck Kee Ipoh Sah Ho Fun #02-40 --- crayfish ho fun
(2) TIONG BAHRU FOOD CENTER
Jian Bo Shui Kueh #02-05 --- 6:30am-11am, daily (?), good for breakfast
Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice #02-82 --- 10am-9pm, daily
Koh Brother Pig's Organ Soup #02-29 --- closed Mon, glutinous rice sausage with dark sauce
Tiong Bahru Lor Mee - #02-79, hours (?), closed Mon
178 Lor Mee - #02-58, 6am-9:30pm, closed Wed
Long Ji Soya Bean #02-63
Teck Seng Soya Bean Milk #02-69
Fried carrot cake right next to chicken rice stall (i.e. not the "Kampung Fried Carrot Cake" stall)
(3) EAST COAST ROAD
328 Katong Laksa --- 8am-10pm, daily, at Ceylon Road, otak otak is good as well
Marine Parade Laksa --- 8:30am-5:30pm, daily
Boon Tong Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice --- 11am-10pm, daily
Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice --- 9am-3am, daily, flagship location (kampung chicken)
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice --- 2nd location of famous one in Chinatown
Laksa and Hainanese Chicken Rice are two of my favorite food items in the world, and Singapore does an excellent job with both dishes.
I'm a bit of a stuck record on Singapore because I'm usually only there a couple of days and I have my favourites.
Airport to East Coast seafood for chilli crab. Fish head curry or lamb chop curry at Muthus. Hainanese chicken rice in a food court with the office.
New discovery last visit a couple of weeks ago: Indonesian avocado smoothie with palm sugar for dessert. Odd but strangely delicious.
Phil, please post back on your more expensive finds as I have a holiday stopover in a few weeks.
For great murtabak - how about Singapore Zam Zam? It's a reliable place for murtabak (though not a fan of their prata and briyani), opens late (12 or 1am if I recall correctly), and is also near the Arab Street / Kampong Glam area where you can have good lunch-time nasi padang at a number of stalls e.g. Sabar Menanti, HJH Maimunah. A 5 minute walk away is the Golden Mile Food Centre on Beach Road for Tulang (spicy bone marrow) in the basement.
To maximize your time since it's a short business trip, I would suggest hitting the following (all either in the CBD or close by):
* Maxwell Road Food Centre - good stuff at this hawker centre (best to arrive around 11 or 11.30AM to try & beat the crowds) include Tian Tian chicken rice, Xing Xing Tapioca Cake's onde onde & tapioca cake, Lim Kee's goreng pisang (fried bananas - the original & dare I say, the best in Sgp), Jin Hua fish soup with milk (opposite the popular Zhen Zhen porridge stall). Am also partial to the 'yu sheng' from the porridge stall that's not Zhen Zhen (the name slips my mind now).
* People's Park Centre - my go-to place for char siew rice, very different than the HK style (ask for the fatty cut), there are two good stalls there, Toh Kee and Lee Kheong. Both in the same hawker centre & along the same row... I believe Toh Kee is at #01-1016A & Lee Kheong at #01-1040, one is closed on Mon & the other on Tues.
Btw in the CBD you might also like to swing by the original Ya Kun at Far East Square for a bite of kaya toast, and some teh tarik or local coffee ('kopi') at the rather quirkily-named Mr Teh Tarik Cartel in the same building.
Maxwell Road Food Centre
1 Maxwell Rd, Singapore, Singapore 07, SG
I'd do a local chilli crab place - either Long Beach at Dempsey, Palm Beach at One Fullerton or 3 Crab Delicacy on Outram Road and a Eurasian/ Nyonya place.
I'll let the Sing hounds suggest the other places as I'm from Malaysia and the food is similar so whenever I go, I go for Western or Japanese places which are better in quality than those here but that may not be what you want. I did Waku Ghin, Gunther's, Cut and Guy Savoy recently and liked Waku Ghin the best although I'm not sure what the situation is with the Japanese produce now as they said they were doing a menu revamp based on what may no longer be available.