May is the perfect time to wander in Singapore, the monsoonal rains have eased and temperatures aren’t yet at their highest. One great way to experience this city-state is to stroll around the many and varied food meccas that Singapore is famous for.
There is good reason for Singapore to be famous for their food. Like many countries in South East Asia Singapore offers foods that are influenced by the region. Most Asian countries offer a variety of ‘street food’ that is specific to their country’s traditions and culture. The beauty of Singapore is that you can find foods from almost any country in Asia within one easy to negotiate city. In particular Singapore is famous for their hawker centres of which there are now over 200 dotted around the island. What many people don’t know is that Singapore offers so much more than fantastic Asian food. These three food havens will give you a taste of many different flavours that will undoubtedly leave you feeling very full but wanting to see more of the wonderful sights and experiences that Singapore has to offer.
Spend Half a Day in Tiong Bahru
Tiong Bahru, just a short drive or bus ride from the city centre, is a perfect food tour location. It’s best to start in the morning with a wander around Tiong Bahru Market, picking up some fresh tropical fruits like dragon fruit, lychee or even Durian if you’re game. You can stroll around the butchers and the fish mongers to see and smell the bounty that is being prepared for your plate. Step back and admire the bright orchids and plants in the florist and then head in to haggle with the aunties for your fresh eggs and tomatoes. If your legs need a little rest after this then a good place to recharge your batteries is Tiong Bahru Bakery for an entirely different culinary experience. A French one in fact. The bakery is helmed by Gontran Cherrier, a Parisienne baker, who makes a croissant that is one of 10 Foods You Must Eat in Singapore. And they make good coffee too.
After that it’s time for a little wander around Yong Siak Street. This little street, full of independent shops, has a great local feel with the retail outlets sitting amidst the residential area. You’ll find books, gift items and shops offering tasteful clothing collections. Whilst you’re in Yong Siak Street, and if you’re ready for a bite to eat, you could pop into Open Door Policy for lunch in this buzzy and casual restaurant. If you’re still full after over indulging in pastries at Tiong Bahru Bakery then you could just grab a coffee and a snack from Forty Hands before moving onto your next location.
- Tiong Bahru Market can be found on Seng Poh Road, opposite Seng Poh Lane
- Tiong Bahru Bakery is at 56 Eng Hoon Street
- Open Door Policy (ODP) is at 19 Yong Siak Street
- Forty Hands is at 78 Yong Siak Street
If you have the stamina after your walk around Tiong Bahru you should head over to nearby Chinatown. No visit to Singapore is complete without a stroll through the area so strongly linked in history with the culture of the island. Although Chinatown is a touristy area it’s still a great place for picking up souvenirs and checking out the food stalls and shops selling various Chinese specialties and herbal remedies. If you like the dried pork used in many Chinese recipes don’t miss the area along New Bridge Road between Mosque Street and Upper Pickering Street where you’ll find aunties and uncles haggling for the best bargains.
- Chinatown’s main thoroughfares are Pagoda Street, Trengganu Street and Smith Street.
Enjoy the Nightlife Around Duxton and Tanjong Pagar
The area between Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar is one of the liveliest and most interesting areas for night-time activity in Singapore. In terms of food choices it’s very difficult to go past the variety on hand here. From the Maxwell Road Food Centre for cheap hawker food, to modern tapas at Esquina or onto Merchants, a wine bar serving artisan wines with simple but scrumptious food, you are spoilt for choice. Wander around here after dark and you’ll find plenty of clubs and bars to keep you entertained until well into the night.
- Maxwell Road Food Centre is actually at 1 Kadayanallur Street
- Esquina is at 16 Jiak Chuan Road
- Merchants can be found at 52 Duxton Road
This is a small sample of one great area in Singapore where you can experience local culture whilst enjoying both international and local foods and nightlife.