Singaporeans love eating out: The nation’s five million citizens spend more than $5 billion on dining each year, and it’s a rare neighbourhood that doesn’t have its own hawker court. For travellers, this local love of the culinary arts is a huge boon. Here are six Singapore food and drink experiences—including both great bargains and worth-it splurges—to enjoy next time you’re in town.
Bargain: Seafood feast
A dish so iconic a bartender once invented a cocktail in its honour, chili crab is a scarlet seafood feast in a slurptastic sauce best ripped apart with your bare hands. Despite the name, the crustacean meal is not too fiery, and much of the colour comes from tomato, not chili. Singaporeans could debate the best chili crab spots all day long, but we like the JUMBO seafood chain: their East Coast flagship is a classic choice.
Splurge: Art Deco dining
The Singapore nightlife scene changed forever when Atlas opened in 2017. In the centre of the ornate, art deco space is a spectacular three-story tower containing more than 1,100 different gins. The sexy destination is a go-to destination for event lunches or special dinners—and is a convenient five-minute walk from the InterContinental Singapore. Splurge on oysters, wagyu or artistic desserts, washed down with cocktails created by one of the world’s best bartenders, as you lounge on velvet banquettes. It’s selfie heaven.
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Bargain: Michelin-Star noodles
No bargain hunter in Singapore should resist “the world’s cheapest Michelin-star meal“: noodles at Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, which entered Singapore’s first edition of the Michelin guide in 2016, and has since begun an international expansion. While the chef was born in Malaysia, his style is thoroughly Cantonese. We recommend you eat like a Hong Konger and try the pork.
Splurge: Fine dining at its best
British-born Ryan Clift is one of the most creative chefs working in Singapore, and Tippling Club is the restaurant that made him famous. Its dégustation menus (or tasting menus, for regular folk) are an all-embracing sensory experience of seriously inventive cuisine. These make Tippling Club a regular on the well-regarded Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. This dining experience beats out the big international names in Marina Bay Sands any day.
Bargain: Hyper-local breakfast
Truly Singapore’s breakfast of champions, kaya toast is an absolute must at any Singapore hotel breakfast. It’s a combo of runny boiled eggs and toast with coconut jam, and you can also find it at any kopitiam (Singapore coffee shop) like the vintage Chin Mee Chin Confectionery near Hotel Indigo in Katong.
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Splurge: Singapore Sling
Not many countries have a national cocktail, but Singapore undoubtedly does, and the Singapore Sling is it. The bar Nutmeg & Clove has a take on this fruity, gin-based cocktail that’s Asian, aromatic, and closely related to the ever-popular Negroni.