Singapore What & Where
WHERE TO STAY
There are many hotel options in Singapore. Here’s a shortlist from Tablet.
We adore the Warehouse Hotel (picture right) both for its location, its story and the design. Built in 1895 along the Singapore River when the area was a hotbed of secret societies, underground activity, and liquor distilleries. Today it has been meticulously restored as a modern 37-room boutique hotel, focusing on heritage and local culture.
Hotel Jen Tanglin - at about $200 SGD, this hotel is good value and nice location. Upgrading to Club Rooms is well worth it if you intend to have a few cocktails before dinner.
WHERE TO EAT
There are endless options depending on budgets and taste. Here are a few favourites that have stood the test of time.
Chilli Crab, this Singaporean iconic seafood dish is a must try. Basically, chilli crab is a seafood dish in which stir-fried crab is coated with sweet, savoury and spicy tomato based sauce. I also like black pepper crab
Jumbo Seafood on the Riverwalk - we always take visitors here because the outside tables overlook Singapore River with nice views of old port and modern skyscrapers in CBD.
Long Beach Seafood in Dempsey Hill is also nice location because you are surrounded by greenery,
Hawker Centres - another must try when you are in Singapore. Hawker Centre is an open-air complex housing dozens of independent food stalls, each cooking up fresh Asian fare at affordable prices.
Maxwell Road - If you can only go to one hawker center in Singapore, make it Maxwell. Located at the edge of Chinatown, this hawker center is home to over 100 stalls, and both locals and tourists alike flock here for the variety of cuisines and local specialties.
Newton Circus - One of Singapore’s most historical hawker centers, Newton Food Center (commonly referred to as Newton Circus) has been serving customers since 1971.
Lau Pa Sat - Another historical hawker center, Lau Pa Sat is considered a national monument and has been in operation since the 1800s. Located in the heart of the CBD, Lau Pa Sat is often packed with businessmen at lunchtime — but when night falls, the atmosphere changes completely as satay stalls and beer vendors come out and set up an alfresco dining area.
Smith Street - Not your typical hawker center, Smith Street is an open-air food street located in the center of Chinatown. Each night, when the road is closed for pedestrian use, shop owners set out tables and open their food stalls for business — a throwback to the days when actual hawkers roamed the city, selling their foods from nomadic stalls.
Tiong Bahru - is famous in Singapore these days as being one of the city’s hipster enclaves, full of charm with cafes and restaurants on every corner.
Bakalaki - one of our favourite restaurant. It’s Greek and Mediterranean food - a nice change from Asian. Their Greek salad, grilled platters (especially lamb chops) are fantastic as are their selection of crisp Greek wines.
Merci Marcel - a French breakfast and brunch café spot in the day, chic restaurant and wine bar/tapas at night. We love their Marinated Crab Tartine, Ravioles de Royans and reasonably priced wines.
P.S. Cafe Petit - is a gourmet takeaway and retail concept that offers traditionally fast foods and hearty salads prepared with a Slow Food sensibility. We love their pizzas and salads.
Dempsey hill - not far from Orchard Road, this tranquil hideaway is a well-loved lifestyle destination. Surrounded by nature’s lush greenery, the little hill is filled with gourmet grocers, art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, cafés and wine bars.
P.S. Cafe (see above) is perfect spot for breakfast and brunch.
Samy’s Curry is famous for southern Indian food. Really authentic and lovely atmosphere, it is an unpretentious place for good affordable authentic banana leaf meal in Singapore.
Other neighbourhoods to go to wine and dine
Piedra Negra in Arab Street and Haji Lane. A must-try here is their chunky guacamole that’s made fresh right in front of your eyes. Paired with warm and crunchy tortilla chips, their guacamole will definitely hit the spot.
Japanese Inakaya Robatayaki - highly entertaining and nice food but ask for pricing before ordering very expensive Waygu.
WHERE TO DRINK
The Atlas bar (pictured right) is another must. The bar is set in Singapore’s Gothic-looking Parkview Square office tower, is an Art Deco throwback—The Great Gatsby as conceived by the Hong Kong property mogul C.S. Hwang. Recently refurbished, it now houses one of the largest gin collections in the world.
Manhattan Bar at the Regent Hotel Singapore is one of the top three bars in the world, according to the World's 50 Best Bars list.
WHAT TO DO
Orchard Road - Asia's most famous shopping street is home to giant shopping malls. Emerald Hill located just behind Orchard Central and was once an upmarket residential area for Peranakans. The main reason to take a quick walk down this street is that it remains almost frozen in time, with most buildings constructed between 1900 and 1920. There’s a blend of art deco and Chinese Baroque styles and it’s extremely picturesque – a contrast with the modern concrete of Orchard Road. Not only is it nice to marvel at the architecture, but there’s some great bars here such as No. 5 Emerald Hill and Ice Cold Beer.
Marina Bay Sands Hotel - Touted as the most expensive hotel ever built, Marina Bay Sands hotel comprises of three 55-storey towers. The towers are connected by a 1 hectare roof terrace known as the Sands SkyPark, home to the world’s largest rooftop pool stretching 150 metres. Have a cocktail at Spago (Wolfgang Puck) or go to the Observation Deck to take in the panoramic city-skyline view. Walk across to Gardens by the Bay, an early evening stroll is best.
For one of the best views of Marina Bay Sands Hotel, go to Fullerton Bay Hotel’s rooftop bar - Lantern. Have a drink and take in views of Marina Bay Sands hotel and waterfront and Singapore’s skyscraper skyline.
Take a walk around the Marina Bay Area to catch sights of Merlion, Fullerton hotel, Asian civilisation museum, National museum.
If you’re a runner or you can walk these Routes to see some of Singapore’s best sites. Route #2 - As the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Singapore, the 150-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens has a rich history and rich collection of heritage and iconic plants. Route #4 is another great run/walk. I’d start at Robertson Quay, along Singapore River towards Marina Bay area, passing through nightlife destination Clarke Quay, scenic Boat Quay, and one of the main tourist attractions in Singapore, the Merlion.