7 amazing restaurants to try in Singapore
MANILA, Philippines – I recently flew to Singapore to take part in the last Singapore Art Week 2018. Upon receiving my itinerary, one of the things that excited me most was the restaurant selections. Known as a multi-race city, Singapore is home to a number of different ethnicity, creating a harmonious mix of culture and traditions.
Food diversity has always been popular in Singapore. I simply forgot about dieting and indulged completely. From modern Middle Eastern, traditional Chinese, to quirky Mexican, I found myself having a unique experience in each restaurant, enjoying the thoughtfully created dishes. I listed down all the details I was able gather (between mouthfuls of delicious food), as well as my must-try selections. Just don’t forget: since these places are quite in demand, reservation is advised.
Background: Ever heard about “Dudestronomy”? It’s this crazy concept of founder Chef Bjorn Shen of putting anything that feels right together to create an awesome dish – and it works! You know what else is crazy? The name Artichoke came about when the founder randomly pointed on the first word in a book.
Like a hidden gem, Artichoke is nestled in one of the alleys of the Arts District. Its chill atmosphere is the perfect break from a busy day. The modern Middle Eastern cuisine gives traditional dishes a unique spin.
Must Try: The mezze as starters from the hummus, babaganoush, caramelized cauliflower, and muhammara. Also order the tender Iberico pork or the fan favorite, hot skillet prawns.
Address: 161 Middle Road, Singapore 188978
National Kitchen by Violet Oon
Background: Plan a trip to National Gallery Singapore and do a food tour as well! Authentic and traditional, National Kitchen highlights the mastery of Violet Oon with Peranakan dishes. Peranakan is the heritage brought about by Chinese migrants who settled in Malaysia and Singapore, thus combining the rich traditions and culture of these countries – reminiscent of the Chinoys in the Philippines.
Violet began a career in journalism in 1971 before embarking on a quite colorful and successful culinary journey. She is one of the most respected food personalities in Singapore. Through her food, you get a glimpse of the rich history of Singapore, its many ethnicities and influences, and how the country has been a melting pot of unique flavors. Lastly, I fell in love with the romantic and chic old world interiors that left a very memorable dining experience.
Must Try: For starters, order the ngoh hiang pork meat and vegetables wrapped in beancurd skin which originated from Fujian Chinese cuisine. The udang goreng ghilli is a moderately spicy prawn dish. While you’re there, order a glass of the sexy Singapore Sling.
Background: Another definite spot to go try in the National Gallery Singapore is Yan. What struck me was the restaurant's attention to details. I savored the best of traditional Cantonese cuisine in a very calm and classy interior. Not to be outdone, the chefs do take particular attention to presentation.
What was served to me was one of the full course menus that balanced a number of intertwining tastes. Nothing was overpowering and everything was impressive. Even the service is excellent in this exemplary Chinese fine dining restaurant
Must Try: Classic goodness, the Deep-fried Grouper Fillet with Crab Meat and Crab Roe Sauce is everyone’s favorite. Have a bowl of the simple yet tasty Braised Mee Po with XO Sauce and Fresh Mushroom. Chilled Apricot with Sea Coconut and Basil Seeds makes for a good ending to the meal.
Background: There’s something new at Marina Bay Sands. The Bird Southern Table & Bar pays homage to the flavors and hospitality of Southern Americans. The modern interiors create a cozy spot for families and groups of friends. On the upper floor is an al fresco bar that opens to the view of Marina Bay. Following Southern American traditions, the dishes are plated family style and are perfect for sharing.
Must Try: The fried chicken! The chicken, watermelon, and waffles dish is everything you would want for a complete Southern American meal. Don't forget to drizzle the waffle (or even the chicken) with the bourbon maple syrup. Take a sip of their prized outdoor brewed Sun Tea – literally heated under the sun.
Address: Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Salted & Hung
Background: Surrounded by fresh produce, Chef Drew Nocente grew up in his family’s farm in Australia. His Italian heritage influenced his passion for cooking and charcuterie – smoked, dry-cured, or cooked pork. Salted & Hung is his contemporary Australian restaurant focused on curing and grilling.
Chef Drew’s experimentation on dishes revolves not only on pork and beef, but also on seafood. They even serve kangaroo meat! The curing techniques he has mastered follow a strict timeframe to maintain the quality or enhance the flavors of the meat. You can opt for a 2 or 3 course set meal that lets you taste the especially crafted modern menu.
Must Try: The Charcuterie platter is the best – white lardo or pig’s fat drizzled with truffle honey, chorizos, pig’s head terrine, oxtail rilette and duck prosciutto. Order the set lunch and choose the exquisite lamb neck for a main dish, then pair it with the lemon meringue and thyme for dessert. The uni dish is exceptional as well!
Address: 12 Purvis St, Singapore 188591
Have a big appetite when coming to Afterwit. The Mexican taqueria offers generous portions of tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. I thought I was going to have a food comma after eating here!
The place is best described as having indie vibes and artsy interiors. With the quantity of serving, it can be suited for group dining. This non-traditional Halal-Mexican place offers creative twists in its food selection.
Must Try: The duck a la orange is a great option with the tender smoked duck and orange puree. Order the quesadillas con cangrejo y aguacate and savor a hearty filling of mud crab meat.
Background: This contemporary restaurant is the first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant. A beautiful spot for Sunday brunch, it is situated in Dempsey Hill, at a compound of shared spaces. All the elements around from the lamps, wallpaper, floor tiles, to the plates highlight its many Asian influences.
The food of Chef Malcom Lee is simply superb. Heritage dishes are innovated with his refined contemporary techniques. Adding to that, they also use the traditional buah keluak seed as an ingredient. The seed can be poisounous if not fermented or cooked properly, yet is a favorite for its strong flavor in Peranakan cuisine.
Must Try: Clean and fresh tasting ocean barramundi assam pedas in sour and spicy sauce. The Westholme wagyu beef rib rendang will satisfy your craving for this traditional favorite. The sweet ending is Candlenut’s classic chendol cream with pandan jelly and gula melaka.
Address: 17A Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249676
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