Food is a great leveller and also I discovered recently a great place to discover a city. And I found out exactly this on a recent trip to Singapore. Well with a city and country that has three main languages – the Food culture is so diverse that your taste buds will explode with flavours that range from high end Michelin starred food to hawker style street food and everything in between. Singapore in fact is well known for its Peranakan culture which comes from a mixed race. In fact this is what adds to the diversity on the palate and yes there is something for everyone whether you are vegan, vegetarian or non vegetarian. Here are some of my top picks in Singapore that will give you a taste of great food that will leave you asking for more.
Long Beach, Dempsey
As a locality Dempsey has a perfect backdrop to enjoy food. Well manicured lawns, landscaped gardens and roads that twist and turn in between with a sense of calmness that is hard to find. This is where Singapore’s leading seafood Restaurant said to be the creator of the original Black Pepper Crab is located. At Long beach restaurant that dates back to 1946, seafood aficionados will rejoice as there are huge aquariums that have live sea animals and the food served is naturally fresh. Apart from the Black Pepper Crab, there is a whole variety of sea food served here including the air flown Live Alaskan King Crab, Razor or Bamboo Clam, Tiger Sea Mantis, Alaskan Hokkigai Abalone Conch, Mouse Cowrie, Geoduck, Robin Triton Clam and Japanese Hokkigai Clam among others.
1 Altitude Gallery & Bar
This is the highest alfresco bar in the world and is easily among the best rooftop bars in Singapore. What adds to its allure of course is the stunning 360-degree view of the city. Evenings naturally are magical – you can see a beautiful sunset and see how the city morphs into a magical kaleidoscope of light. The view from the top is sure to make you trigger happy with you camera and cell phone but do not forget this is also a fine dining and lifestyle destination. At a vertigo inducing 282 metres above sea level, you can sample some fine cocktails and drinks and enjoy the views that are spectacular to say in the least. This is where you can let your hair down and burn the dance floor to the pulsating beats of the DJ and yes also sample some excellent progressive Australian cuisine.
Located at Fullerton Pavilion in Collyer Quay, amidst the waterfront is a lovely Italian restaurant Monti. Overlooking the iconic Marina Bay, this is where you can sample iconic dishes like the Rigatoni Genovese Di Manzo, Australian Wagyu, slow cooked onions, basil and pecorino cheese. The menu is well developed and has separate sections like Antipasti Di Mare that has sea food like the Selezione Di Ostriche, a daily oyster selection and L’Affumicato that has smoked swordfish carpaccio with pomegranate, dill fennel and pink pepper. The Antipasto Di terra (antiplasti from land) has some unique selections like the Vitello Tonnato made with sliced sous-vide veal, homemade mayonnaise with tuna, olives and capers and the La Grande Selezione made with Culatello, San Daniele Ham, salamino, capocollo, proscutto, Burrata and taleggio! The bar has some innovative drinks like the Monti Sour made with cognac, amaretto and lemon juice apart from other regulars. The chamomile ice cream with honeycomb and panacotta is a great dessert too. The restaurant also showcases Michelin-starred course meals regularly and I was lucky to sample chef Dirk Hoberg of two Michelin-starred restaurant Ophelia in Konstanz, Germany’s meal inspired by Asian-European dishes. This 8 course meal was paired with wines and the restaurant plans to do these activities as a part of the International Chef Showcase.
Cafes in Tiong Bahru
A quaint locality in Singapore, Tiong Bahru is home to several art deco cafes and bakeries where you can sample some great local goodies. I suggest your first stop by the Tiong Bahru Bakery. Founded by master baker Gontran Cherrier, this is an artisan bakery that serves a wide variety of coffee and freshly baked breads and pastries. The place however is best known for its croissants that are buttery and light with a crispy flaky skin that you will want to try more. The almond croissant is another good choice as well as the Mozza & Ham Focaccia. Your other stop must be at Galicier Pastry, an old school bakery that has traditional Singaporean desserts like the freshly baked Pandan Chiffon Cake, Nyonya Kuehs such as Kueh Dar dar and AngKu Kueh. The latter is a red tortoise shaped cake made with peanuts to traditionally announce the birth of baby girls! Another quaint cafe Open Door Policy serves dishes like Wagyu Rump, Beef Cheeks and Truffle Scrambled Eggs and PS Cafe Petit has some mouth-watering Sticky Date Pudding and some lovely ice cream too.
Singapore has a fair share of vegetarian restaurants too but Whole Earth, Singapore’s first Peranakan-Thai vegetarian restaurant is something quite different. All dishes here are plant-based and make ample use of mushrooms, tofu, beans and vegetables and presents the food in a way that shows its colours, flavours and textures. All the ingredients used are fresh so you know what comes on your plate is as healthy as it can be. I suggest you try the Start your meal with the Prosperity Fruit Enzyme Yusheng drink that has a sweet sour flavour. Try the Premium Black Fungus, Fresh Shiitake Mushroom, Bamboo Pith, Chinese Cabbage Soup that is wholesome and filling. For the main course go for the Succulent Abalone Mushroom and Sea Cucumber with Broccolini in Signature Angelica Root “dang gui” Wolfberry Sauce that is quite filling as well as the Signature Sambal Mixed Vegetables of Ladies Fingers, Eggplant and Long Beans with the Fragrant Lotus Leaf Rice. My vote however goes to the Crispy Eggplant and Olive Rice that made up for a great meal. Little wonder that this is the only vegetarian restaurant listed as Bib Gourmand in the Inaugural Michelin Guide Singapore 2016!
Satay at Hawker’s Street
If you love satay (seasoned and skewered meat served with a sauce with a sweet and spicy taste), Singapore is the place to head to. There are many hawker’s streets that sell satay and the 19th century, Lau Pa Sat has over 10 stalls that become active after 7:00 p.m. serving skewers of chicken, lamb, beef and pork with a sweet honey sauce that will make you forget the number of satay’s you are eating! This is also the place to tuck into local street food like Hokkien Mee, fried oyster, carrot cake and BBQ stingray. Chuan Kee Satay located at Old Airport Road food centre, Haron Satay at East Coast Lagoon Food Village and Kwong Satay at Geylang are other places for satay fans.
Chatterbox at Mandarin Orchard
This award-winning restaurant is where the famed Mandarin Chicken Rice was first served in 1971. The taste comes from a secret recipe and has been maintained as is over all these years. Executive Sous Chef Liew Tian Hong says that the taste is maintained as they only use free range chicken (grown carefully for 60 days and only the female) that makes the meat succulent and the rice has a delightful undertone of ginger and chilli. It is served with chilli sauce, ginger paste and dark soy sauce and the rice itself is cooked in chicken stock. Other must try dishes include the Chatterbox Lobster Laksa, Beef Kway Teow and King Prawn Fried Hokkien Noodles. And yes, the Mandarin coconut ice cream served in a coconut shell is a must try to end this meal on a sweet note!
This story has appeared in the Travioor webpage here.
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