The melting pot of cuisine that is Singapore food is what draws people to this vibrant island capital time and time again, and it’s particularly exciting to be there in the lead up to Chinese New Year.
With days to go before the auspicious celebration, there’s already a lively atmosphere building with giant-sized dog lanterns celebrating the Year Of The Dog at the entrance of China Town and you can see luminous kites lighting up the night sky.
From where I’m staying at the Novotel Hotel in Clarke’s Quay, everything is walking distance. You can enjoy lazy walks along the river or take a boat to get a unique view of the Lion city from the water, particularly of the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark Observation Deck which soars 57 levels high. From my superior room at the hotel, I have a commanding view of the Marina Bay and Singapore Skyline. The hotel is well appointed and my suite is super spacious with a comfortable king bed, sofa, flat screen TV, and working desk complete with high-speed internet access and private balcony.
Perfect, of course, for relaxing after a busy day visiting the many museums on offer such as the Art from the Streets exhibition at ArtScience Museum.
Notably, Art from the Streets explores the ‘Street Art’ movement’s countercultural beginnings and its extraordinary evolution as a contemporary art form spanning over 40 years. You can marvel at graffiti by Banksy or Yz’s Empress Wu painted on old wooden doors or large-scale mural paintings and installations. More info can be found here: www.marinabaysands.com/museum/art-from-the-streets.html
Of course, it’s impossible not to be dazzled by the magnificent flower domes at the iconic Singapore attraction Garden By The Bay, and my recommendation is to visit at night time so you can appreciate the spectacular light show which is an unforgettable experience.
And if you are a foodie simply enjoy the gastronomic pleasures at the spice-filled hawker centres, which are located around the city including in China Town. Heading to the heart of China Town, I discovered some of the best fare lay among the tiny restaurants in the outskirts where the restaurants line the side of the road. There you can dine at a traditional Chinese restaurants housed in the old Colonial style buildings. They have a charm all of their own, and make you feel transcended into a bygone era. It was there that I found a restaurant that specialised in seafood.
Sitting on tiny seats outside the restaurant, I ordered a Szechuan-style fish stew with pickled mustard greens. I have since researched this recipe which was quite simply a taste sensation. According to the popular food blog China Sichuan Food, which has a similar recipe for it here, this boiled spicy fish is available in almost every Sichuan style restaurant inside China. Key to its distinctive flavour is the pickled mustard green and the thinly sliced white fish.
Szechuan-style fish stew: suan cai yu
Here is a selection of restaurants in Singapore which come highly recommended:
Candlenut – The world’s first and only Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant
Founded by rising young local chef Malcolm Lee, this restaurant combines modern and traditional techniques in a bid to reinvent the local Peranakan cuisine, which often combines Malay and Indonesia cooking techniques with Chinese ingredients and aromatic spices. comodempsey.sg/restaurant/candlenut
This is the ultimate destination for dessert connoisseurs. Located in the chic Holland Village, 2am Dessert Bar is famous for its sumptuous modern desserts and carefully selected wine list. We’ve heard that their smoked white chocolate with hibiscus jelly and cinnamon beads is to die for. And the name is far from misleading – this delightfully wicked haunt is open until 2am Monday to Saturday. www.2amdessertbar.com
Open Door Policy
Everything at Open Door Policy (ODP) is prepared using the freshest ingredients and produce served alongside an extensive list of cocktails and wines. With a focus on sustainable food, this open-planned restaurant in the trendy neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru provides a relaxed atmosphere for guests to enjoy. ODP also caters to people with gluten and dairy intolerances. http://www.odpsingapore.com
Food News For Diners in Singapore and Sydney
Singapore-inspired menu to be unveiled in both cities by celebrity chefs:
This February, the Singapore Tourism Board will host a dinner party uniting both countries through food like never before. It will feature celebrity chefs from Australia, Adam Liaw (Destination Flavour) and Anna Polyviou (Shangri-La Sydney) and from Singapore – Malcolm Lee (Candlenut, Singapore) and Janice Wong (2am:dessertbar, Singapore).
Taking place on 22nd February, the SGxAUFoodies event will pair guests from both countries via an immersive technology setup for an intimate and fun dining experience, while they feast on a menu designed by celebrity chefs.
Held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore and Sydney, the dinner will provide a unique opportunity to meet new friends, despite the 6,300-kilometre distance. With just eight tables available on the night, foodies should register now at www.visitsingapore.com/SGxAUFoodies. Entries close 13th February.
Adam Liaw (Sydney) x Malcolm Lee (Singapore)
Adam Liaw, host of SBS Destination Flavour, author and Masterchef winner, in collaboration with Malcolm Lee, founder of the world’s only Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, Candlenut, have teamed up to create a modern-day spin on Hainanese Chicken Rice. The dish fuses their shared passion for heart-felt heritage cooking, combined with unexpected flavours from one of Singapore’s other ‘must-try’ iconic dishes, chilli crab.