Singapore is a food-obsessed nation so you won’t have to travel far to come across food stalls and restaurants selling all manner of delicious delicacies. However, there are a few standout areas within the city that you shouldn’t miss if you are dedicated to tantalising your tastebuds.
Little India is the obvious choice if a hot curry is on your mind. Race Course Road and Serangoon Road are lined with eating options, as are all the side streets in between. If you’re feeling brave then opt for Singapore’s favourite curry dish – Fish Head Curry. Muthu’s Curry on Race Course Road is the self-proclaimed pioneer of fish head curry and is popular among locals and tourists alike, as is the nearby Banana Leaf Apolo where plates have been swapped for banana leaves onto which the curry is sploshed. Other hits include Komala Vilas, famed for its cheap vegetarian dishes and Khansama on Serangoon Road. Foodies should also be sure to check out the Tekka Market for a glimpse into how the locals shop for their fresh fruit, veg, fish, meat and spices.
Chinatown is another food-focussed area. One of the city’s biggest hawker centres is here – the Maxwell Road Food Centre. You will find over 100 stalls dishing up all the local favourites, including the famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice and Zhen Zhen Porridge. Just a short walk away, Smith Street transforms itself in the evenings into an outdoor food market. Traffic is redirected away, food stalls open up for business and the crowds gather to tuck into a selection of street food under the swaying red lanterns.
Also on Smith Street is Da Dong restaurant, something of an institution in Singapore that has been dishing up tasty Cantonese fare such as dim sum and Peking duck since 1928. Other options for dim sum include Yum Cha, Dim Joy and Red Star. It’s not even all about Chinese food – Club Street has an array of cozy restaurants and wine bars serving all manner of cuisine including Vietnamese, Spanish and Italian, as does nearby Keong Saik Road.
If you’re willing to travel a bit further out of the city centre for the cause, then dedicated foodies should not miss Geylang and Katong. The former is the red light district area of Singapore but is paradoxically also famous for fabulous local food, with more 24 hour food places than anywhere else in Singapore. Anthony Bourdain even named the famous Sin Huat Eating House here as one of “13 places to eat before you die”. If you don’t fancy braving late night in a red light district, then head out to Sims Avenue (between Geylang Lorongs 11 and 19) during the day from around March to August to indulge in the King of Fruits – the infamously smelly Durian – a must-try for all visitors to Southeast Asia.
Katong is a far more family-friendly area. Traditionally associated with the Peranakan community it is also home to the famous Katong Laksa. The Laksa shops on the corner of East Coast Road and Ceylon Road are where to head to if you’re keen to tuck into a bowl of this sweet/spicy soup. Continuing along East Coast Road you will come along many shops and bakeries selling Peranakan snacks such as nonya kueh (cakes and sweets) amongst the traditional shophouses.