Singapore Food Guide: Best Restaurants and Hawker Food in Singapore
The best restaurants in Singapore? We have put together this Singapore food guide. Singapore is the ultimate foodie city. Everyone loves their food, everyone is a foodie. You can't visit Singapore and not be enamoured with the strong street food culture.
There are classic Singapore hawker dishes that one must taste, or don't bother leaving the country. You get to know Singapore more by its food than its tourist attractions (even though they're outstanding). Think Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chilli Crab, Laksa, Popiah, as well as other tasty soups and noodles dishes. Think chic bars and fancy restaurants, many with modern fusion offerings. Think venues open late and crowds of people packed in fashionable precincts.
We are thankful to Chowzter for attending the Chowzter Asia Awards and to Catherine Ling, Chief Chowzter Singapore for showing us the best eats in Singapore for our Singapore Food Guide.
Fine dining culture is also strong in Singapore and restaurants like Restaurant Andre, Burnt Ends and others are some of the best in Asia. We intend to add to this list into the future. Please also see our article on Asia's 50 Best, which we attended at Capella on Sentosa Island.
In Singapore the street food culture and fine dining culture run brilliantly alongside each other. There's not much in the middle. One is cheap (street food around $3 a dish) and the other expensive (more than say Australia). The ability to find cheap rewarding food late at night is a revelation. Many places open late (say 11am) and close late, well into the night.
The food in Singapore is hearty, full of flavour, with exceptional meats and fish dishes, noodles and soups, and great use of spices and curries. Iconic dishes have a compelling story behind them. As Singapore is a gateway city, there are a plethora of Asian and European restaurants to be found across the city, celebrating diversity in population and diversity in dining.
Advice we received in Singapore is to look for the longest lines in the hawker centres - that's where the best food is. Although we do feel sorry for the many hawker stalls where there are short lines or no lines!
Alcohol is generally expensive in Singapore, but the bars are chic and interesting, with exciting new places opening up all the time. Everyone is a foodie so it's a challenge to develop a Singapore Food Guide and best restaurants and hawker food in Singapore.
Bars - Bar-oque Grill, Tippling Club, Izy's, Oxwell & Co
Singapore has amazing bars in cool precincts. One such bar and grill is Bar-oque, the scene for one of the Asia's Best 50 event afterparties. The ambience is French chic, with attractive spaces inside (alluring cherub artwork on the wall) as well as outside facing the Tanjong Pagar Road. We enjoyed a Negroni or two here late into the night...
Tippling Club is a world class eatery and bar with open kitchen and impressive large window modern frontage. With Aussie Ryan Clift at the helm the food offering is one of the best in Singapore, and the bar is also world class. We were told cocktails were expensive but found it to be otherwise.
The nearby Ann Siang Hill and Club St precinct is the place to be with stunning bars...
Izys in Club St is a superb modern Japanese Izakaya. Sit along the counter and imbibe top class sake or French wine. We enjoyed the small plate high class dishes here, but the bar aspect is also compelling. This is one of the best places to eat in Singapore in terms of Japanese Izakaya.
Izys is an exceptional Izakaya bar with superb food offerings, featuring small dishes.
Oxwell & Company boasts consultant chef Mark Sargeant a prodigy of Gordon Ramsey. The bar area is chic with cocktails on tap. On ordering a "Gin and Chronic" we were told they make both the gin and the tonic.
Get out your oxy torch...
Oxwell & Company also boasts Luke Whearty as the mixologist, and serves attractive bar snacks along with its compelling cocktails.
Japanese - Izy's
Japanese restaurants are popular in the Ann Siang Hill and Club Street precinct. Izy's was a superb venue for our Chowzter dinner and the modern decor impressed along with the food.
Pop art on the walls, attractive lighting and great use of timber are a highlight. Apart from the front bar there's an attractive restaurant area out the back.
Dishes are sophisticated including this Sea urchin served on a bed of house made tofu with wasabi.
Scallop sashimi was the pick of the plate with trout and tuna also superb.
Swordfish grilled in seaweed was a favourite at our table.
The wagyu with rice, caramelised onion, egg and shaved truffles was a stunning delicate dish! As was the dessert...
Modern Singaporian Fusion - Wild Rocket
Wild Rocket is a modern Singaporian fusion restaurant the masterstroke of ex lawyer Willin Low.
Wild Rocket impressed with this Sashimi of Hokkaido scallop with shio konbu and truffle infusion. The truffle wasn't overdone and the balance of the dish was perfect.
The Pomelo salad with tiger prawns and frozen cocunut dressing was a triumph.
Roast Chillean seabass with chai poh confit and congee was a celebration in texture as well as taste.
Pasta? Willin Low went into fusion overdrive with this dish of Spanner chilli crab rigatoni with Onsen egg. This was visually spectacular and a magnificent modern twist to traditional chilli crab dishes.
Wild rocket also hit the mark with its imaginative wine list.
One of the talking points of the meal was this 48 hour beef with buah keluak pesto rice.
Dessert was a high point with Salted coke sorbet with lemon. So inventive and refreshing.
We paid homage to Willin Low and his team - a super talented group in the kitchen...
The menu for our dinner at Wild Rocket, one of the best nouveau places to eat in Singapore...
Wild Rocket is highly recommended for a chic dining experience and a reinterpretation of Singaporian dishes. This is in our opinion one of the best nouveau restaurants in Singapore.
Casual Italian - Pizzeria Mozza by Mario Batali
We were invited to Pizzeria Mozza, the Singapore restaurant (some others around the world) of the famous Mario Batali, located in Marina Bay Sands. The food here is rustic and rewarding and hits the high notes as a pizzeria. This is excellent dining, while more casual than formal. You can sit back and while away a couple of hours with excellent cuisine and beverages, while the professional staff serve you brilliantly.
The Mozza Caprese was a superb rendition of a caprese with fresh mozzarella, quality roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, with oil and salt. Presentation was first class.
Meatballs al forno is a rustic and rewarding dish with soft flavoursome meatballs and tasty tomato sauce. Garlic bread on top was perfect and crispy.
Pizza here is top notch with a crispy light base and quality ingredients on top. Prosciutto Di Parma with rucola, tomato and mozzarella was a standout and just great pizza.
We checked out the ovens at Pizzeria Mozza, a science in itself to keep them at optimum performance.
Dessert was spectacular with this Caramel copetta with marshmallow sauce and salted peanuts. This was a fusion of tastes and textures; cold delicious ice cream with hot marshmallow sauce poured over it is irresistable, and the crunch of the peanuts.
Pizzeria Mozza also excels when it comes to coffee as our long machiato attested to.
Pizzeria Mozza is one of the best restaurants in Singapore for casual Italian. If you're looking for a pizzeria and place to catch up with friends, Pizzeria Mozza is highly recommended.
Cafe - Miss Molly's
Every morning we were looking for a European or Australian type cafe in Singapore. Miss Molly's delivered on high class cakes, burgers and coffee selections.
Miss Molly's serves up full meals, including set lunch specials.
A bike on the wall is a quirky piece of decor, and something we needed after consumption of cake.
Coffee was excellent including this latte with double shot.
Cakes were exceptional including a lime cake and a caramel cake, both served warm.
Miss Molly's serves up an excellent burger with satisfying patty and loads of bacon, along with golden fries. Highly recommended as one of the best cafes in Singapore.
Hainanese Chicken - Tian Tian in Maxwell Food Centre
The best Hainanese Chicken Rice in Singapore is reputed to be at Tian Tian in Maxwell Food Centre. Here the lines for chicken rice are extensive all day long. Tian Tian was made world famous by Anthony Bourdain who visited the hawker centre and raved about the Hainanese Chicken from Tian Tian. A picture of Bourdain and the article remain on the wall. This is one of the best hawker food places to eat in Singapore for traditional fare.
We were given two types of chicken rice - with a Roast Chicken version with skin a great alternative. The crowd vote was the skinless variety is the winner.
Get your hawker on!
Tiger is a popular beer which goes well with chicken rice. In the hawker centre is was about $6, while in a restaurant you could expect to pay much more. Tian Tian is a place to return to time and again... A worthy entrant in our Singapore Food Guide.
Chilli Crab - Roland Restaurant
Roland Restaurant is iconic in Singapore as one of the best traditional restaurants to eat in Singapore, having created the chilli Crab dish and served it since 1956. Although Roland serves up many excellent dishes they are famous for Chilli crab, one of the great traditional dishes of Singapore.
Pictured above is the famous Chilli crab dish, served in a thick broth with a hit of spice. The shell of the crab is already cracked so you don't need to worry about that (in case you were wondering).
Salted egg yolk crab! Interestingly Roland Restaurant produce another version of Chilli crab, this time a dry version with a creamy egg texture. We were asked to vote on which version was the best, and while we enjoyed both, most of us thought the original was best.
Roland Restaurant was packed at about 6pm when we arrived. Our group of 20 or so were ushered into a private dining area.
The Duck at Roland Restaurant was also a standout, as was the Lobster. This was a classic and rewarding Singaporian dining experience, and worthy entrant in our Singapore Food Guide and best restaurants to eat in Singapore.
Laksa - Sungei Road Laksa
Laksa is another famous dish to be enjoyed in Singapore. Sungei Road Laksa is a sensation with long lines of around 50 people testifying to the brillance of the laksa. Sungei Road are the laksa specialists and this is the dish people queue for! This is also one of the best hawker food places to eat in Singapore.
For a crazy price of about $2 you get this delightful bowl of creamy laksa goodness. This is charcoal cooked laksa, a different cooking process to many others.
Creamy noodles in coconut curry with fish cakes and cockles and laksa leaf. Rustic and comforting. Best eaten hot with spicy sambal. Because its so cheap several diners were eating more than one bowl.
Check out the log line to Sungei Road Laksa. You may want to grab a cheap cold drink from one of the nearby outlets.
Fish Balls - Fishball Story in Golden Mile
Fishball Story is one of the great stories of Singapore and one of the best hawker food places to eat in Singapore. For generations the family have been making sublime fishballs. Now the new generation Douglas Park has taken the business to the next level. These are handmade fishballs using fish meat and no flour! Douglas gets up at 4am every morning to beat, blend and press yellowtail flesh into fishballs and chilli-scallion fishcakes.
The fish ball is Grandmother's recipe, passed on to the generations. Douglas learned cooking fishballs quickly in four months and he learned cooking at hawker markets. We thought the fishballs were amazing; so soft and bouncy with an incredible texture, and the noodles themselves were a hit. The sambal dressing crowns the dish, as does the crunchy pieces of fried pork lard. All in all for $3.50 this was an incredible dish.
Popiah - Kway Guan Huat
Popiah (spring rolls) is another wonderful hawker style dish in Singapore that demands skill in the making. The extraordinary element is the paper thin handmade rice flour skin. This is something you train for. The skill in kneading the rice flour at a million miles an hour in your hand, rotating back and forth, then spreading the mixture when its at the right consistency across a hot pan at paper thin depth and correct diameter is a phenomenon. Kway Guan Huat offers one of the best hawker food experiences in Singapore.
We were treated to prawns fresh from the market to add to our popiah. It was a matter of adding the elements to your popiah wrap. The sauces to accopnay had decent kick to make this a rewarding experience.
We were given initial popiah to sample then it was a case of making our own. It proved to be difficult maintaining the shape and then it was clear lettuce is a key ingredient to keep the popiah togther without falling apart as you consume it.
We need to mention the plethora of cheap drinks. all over Singapore at hawker centres you can get cheap drinks with ice, fruits, red beans, and other refreshing flavours, not to mention the superb iced coffee.
Duck Rice - Stall 71, Maxwell Food Centre
Duck Rice is a dish popular all over Asia and no better hawker rendition can be found than at Good Luck All The Way at Stall 71. Again we looked for the long lines of enthusiasts, and the line at Stall 71 is consistently long for duck rice.
While stall 71 offers several dishes, the emphasis is on duck rice with various renditions of the dish. The allure of ducks cooked and hanging in the window is a drawcard.
Here we are in the line - happy to wait 15 minutes or more for duck rice. The dish comes with perfectly formed rice cup, rewarding duck with marinated crispy skin, chopped into manageable pieces. You can add condiments but we were happy with the duck and sauce. This was cheap eating and excellent value.
Kaya Toast - Ya Kun Kaya Toast
Kaya Toast is another delightful staple food in Singapore. Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a chain with over 100 outlets which serves up excellent kaya toast with great value in a busy restaurant.
Popular is their steamed bread and sweet and fragrant kaya. The ambience here is retro with old school tables and chairs, and excerpts of their history. This is one of the best restaurants in Singapore serving kaya toast.
We enjoyed the perfect combination of Iced Coffee and Kaya Toast with the hit of coconut jam and buttery goodness. The toast was suitably crisp. We can understand why kaya toast is a breakfast staple.
Korean Hot Pot - One Two Kitchen
One Two Kitchen in Singapore is an energetic Korean restaurant in Tanjong Pagar with pop culture ambience and excellent Korean BBQ options. It is one of the best casual Korean restaurants in Singapore. Interestingly we couldn't source Korean Fried Chicken here but the food was outstanding. It was one of the few places open into the early hours of Monday morning.
The side dishes came out first including creamy potato salad, beans, kimchi and seaweed salad, all fresh and tasty and of great quality. Washed down with Soju, the Korean spirit.
This chicken dish was first class with superb broth and pices of chicken, enough for the 6 of us. The dish arrived hot and steaming, with rich flavours.
Pop art, booths, colour, TV with Korean music and naked bulbs; a vibrant ambience.
Korean Fried Chicken - KKO KKO NA RA
KKO KKO NA Ra has arguably the best fried chicken in Singapore. We tried visiting the night before late but they closed around midnight on a Sunday night. But we returned for lunch the next day, keen to see if this venue lives up to its reputation. The Korean Fried Chicken here comes in four different flavours: original, soy garlic sauce, sweet & spicy, and hot & spicy. We wanted to try all of them to compare, so we ordered the lot.
The restaurant is a homely style with quirky decor.
The hot and spicy had a decent amount of heat on it. The favourite with our group was the original. This was high quality Korean Fried Chicken, crisp yet juicy with outstanding sauces and flavours.
The sides were also rewarding including excellent kimchi and potato salad. Also check out the Bibibamp and the Bulgogi. The chicken was compelling and we needed to use many of the box of tissues on the table, as its messy eating chicken (especially wings) with your fingers. You want to eat every morsel on the bone as the flavours penetrate through the meat. The balance is excellent with the sauces not overpowering the chicken but bringing nuances.
This was Korean Fried Chicken at its best. Crisp not greasy. So good we didn't even notice the K-pop music playing! One of the best casual Korean restaurants in Singapore.