We’re fresh back from the Formula 1 in the Lion City and after losing and gaining about 5kgs (losing from the humidity-induced sweat, gaining from the remarkable selection of food and drink) we’re in pole position to list some of our top places to eat and drink. Be aware, from local food centres to high-end white tablecloth joints catering to minted exp-pats and tourists, the selection in Singapore is better than anywhere else in the world, and the price differences are massive. Here are some of our faves.
One of the more amazing drinking destinations in the world, and deservedly listed at number 8 on the Top 50 Bars in the World. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s one of those places that actually over delivers on the hype. Seriously, check out some of the photos online and try to image yourself sipping on a stiff drink in one of the largest art deco style interiors you’ve ever seen (seriously, you’ll feel like Jay Gatsby). Supposedly the largest gin collection in the world, it stretches to the very ceiling (and they’re very high ceilings), and you can actually order a Negroni or a Martini from any decade going back to 1900. That means every component of that drink has been sourced from that decade from a vintage liquor dealer. Just remember to reserve yourself a table well in advance - since opening it can be difficult to get a spot.
In the green corner of Singapore called Dempsey Hill – formerly old army barracks that have been turned into a well-heeled food and retail destination – this modern high-end Chinese restaurant is a favourite of the expat community. Enjoy fresh cocktails and dig in to some of the best (fancy) prawn dumplings, pork buns and noodles you’ll ever try. Like most of the Dempsey Hill restaurants the owners of Chopsuey took over an old Colonial style building and gave it a modern spin, but it’s got enough of that world-gone-by Singapore panache to make it a superb spot for lunch or dinner.
A grungy(ish) local bar and live music venue that flies in the face of any slack that Singapore gets for having no soul. Set up shop in the graffiti alleys of the Arab District and sip on frozen drinks, towers of beer or whatever else your heart desires, as bands sing the night away. Open early until late, but expect a rowdy crowd as the night goes on - none of the Australian liquor licensing rules apply here.
Started by three Korean Americans this quirky-but-utterly-delicious mix of Mexican and Korean food hits all the right notes. The honey fried chicken is finger licking good, and the freshly made tacos (pork belly, beef steak and baja fish are the picks) are as good as anywhere you’ve ever tried. Order a huge frozen margarita to escape from the Singapore heat and it’ll keep you going through the whole meal.
In Singapore these local food courts are the lifeblood of locals and expats alike. Jump on a free table, order a round of Tigers and wander round hundreds of different food stalls, from weird Chinese specialties to Indian curries, dumplings, satay sticks and whatever else you can dream up. It’s a great way to try lots of different things and it’s also very budget friendly, catering mainly to locals. The most central one is in Lau Pa Sat, but as this is in the heart of the CBD (and therefore dealing with a lot of tourists and professionals) it’s as much as half more expensive as the others. Try Newton’s Circus or Maxwell for the cheapest, weirdest and busiest centres.