I feel like I am out of appellations for Singapore. You already know it is my favorite city in existence. It blends the excitement of a culturally diverse metropolis with the calm of the natural world. But the best part? The food.
If Asian food is your thing, this is the best place in the world to chow down. Huge Chinese, Indian, Malay, and other Asian ethnic populations have brought with them their dishes of home. Over time, some of these have mixed together, adapted, morphed, and become a regional cuisine that is second to none.
For the best taste of Singapore, walk through one of any number of hawker centers in the city. Basically large covered food courts, you’ll find stalls specializing in a single item (or two). It can be overwhelming, but if you look for the longest lines, you’ll find the best options. Singaporeans are known for their willingness to wait in line for the most scrumptious dishes.
The Maxwell Food Centre, one of the hawker centers in Singapore
The Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown is the location of Tian Tian, one of the best places to try Singapore’s national dish: chicken rice. A simple dish of rice topped with marinated chicken (the chicken here is served cold, although fully cooked, so be prepared for that), it bursts with flavor. Add chili sauce and dark soy to bump it to the next level. This plate of food will cost you around $4 American, and is one of the best bargains in existence.
Chicken rice, simple and delicious
The other “national” dish in Singapore is chili crab, a whole crab cooked in a spicy broth. It is not cheap, and will cost more than $60 at a quality restaurant for a whole crab. It is, however, unique and worth both the cost and the effort required to break into it for the sweet meat. Pro tip? Order some extra white rice and put the sauce of chili and crab bits over it.
Chili crab. So good
Singapore is also the location of the world’s cheapest Michelin star restaurant. Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle will run you about $5 for a plate. Is it good? Yes. Is it worth the star? Not in my opinion.
Good, but not worth a Michelin star
On the other end of the spectrum is Joel Robuchon. A chain of restaurants by the French chef, this one has three stars, and I would happily give it a fourth if such things existed. It was the best meal of my life, and hopefully these photos will do it even a bit of justice.
For the best Singapore food experience, just walk the streets and the hawker centers, trying anything that looks good. Street food here is plentiful, cheap, and altogether wonderful. In Chinatown, I stumbled upon these sheets of pork, dried but soft, marinated in honey and chili. Wow! You will want one – or ten!
Singapore is one of the best food cities in the world, and any exploration of the Lion City must include some culinary adventures. What are your favorites? Tell us in the comments!
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