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Best Places To Eat In Singapore - Recommended By A Local

By Farishia Osman Singapore native and cycle lover takes us on a culinary tour of the best of her island city.
20 October 2020
Best Places To Eat In Singapore - Recommended By A Local

Edited by Holly Stark

To describe my city I would use the name of a food: rojak. It means a mixture or an eclectic mix. The food from which the saying takes its meaning from is actually a traditional fruit and vegetable salad dish commonly found in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Other than referring to this fruit salad dish, the colloquial meaning rojak correlates directly to the people and vibe in Singapore. The ratio and diversity of people are amazing. There are lots of races, religions, and ages all coexisting harmoniously without any problems. This epitomizes what Singapore is all about for me. On the same road, South Bridge, you can find multiple different places of worship; Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist. My city is a mixture of everything; and that’s echoed in its food scene. Singapore's food culture is abundant with fusion food. All kinds of food. Everything you could possibly want. Wondering what to eat in Singapore? You’ll be spoilt for choice; from satay skewers, chinese style chicken rice, laksa noodles, savoury carrot cake to sweet kaya toast. Check out this Singapore food guide for some of the best places to eat in Singapore; from traditional food Singapore to Singapore street food and Singapore must eat restaurants, you’ll have plenty of dining options for eating in this beautiful island city.


Hawker Centres

Kickstart your trip with a true Singaporean dining experience; by eating at an open-air cooked food complex we call a hawker center, where you can get a variety of different foods; Chinese, Indian, Malay, “Western”, and Southeast Asian. These down-to-earth culinary destinations are where you can find a wide variety of local dishes, from Chicken Rice, Fried Kway Teow, Hokkien Mee, Bak Kut Teh, Satay, Laksa, and Chilli Crab to vegetarian Yong Tau Fu at really reasonable prices. Don’t be put off by the cheap price, the food is absolutely delicious. My tip would be to embrace the experience. Hawker centers are really interesting places; home to different races and different foods of different ethnic groups. They’re a mixture of worlds. Some hawker centers are outdoors with no air con. Here you can find some of the best hawker food in Singapore; they’re a really local and authentic experience. Hawker centers are dotted all around the island. In my opinion, the best is not on the top tourist list, the best are in small neighborhoods. I recommend the Ayer Rajah Food Centre. It’s really out of the city, located in the western part of Singapore, and home to great food. A center closer to the tourist attractions is Seah Im Food Centre. It’s unique and not to everyone's taste. These places are not fancy, nor are they squeaky clean, but they are where the good food is.

The Malayan Council

Photo credit: www.springtomorrow.com/the-malayan-council/

This is a cafe I adore. It’s not cheap but they serve delicious fusion food. Based on Malay food which incorporates “western” dishes into it; the spot is one of my Singapore must-eat restaurants. It’s local food with a twist; a good one to check out as the food is worth it. If you are dipping your toe in the realms of Southeast Asian flavors, it’s a good place to try and get a mix. Try the Smoked Duck Lemak Chili Padi; a harmonious blend of Asian and Western flavors, the pasta dish is made of linguine tossed with mushroom, cherry tomatoes, and arugula in a coconut chili padi sauce, topped with the smoked duck marinated in unagi sauce. Part of the recent cafe scene which boomed in the last five years ago, The Malayan Council also does great deserts; cakes, and local pastries. Their tagline is ‘talk, Makan, chill’ and the space is quiet and cozy with low lighting. For dessert, maybe try the Classic Ondeh-Ondeh Cake; a fluffy pandan-flavored cake, with crispy caramelized gula Melaka syrup, topped with coconut shavings and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s one of the best places to eat in Singapore; so don’t miss it.

Zam Zam

Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Singapore_North_Bridge_Road_5.jpg

Right across the street from the iconic Sultan Mosque and having been around since 1908, Singapore Zam Zam serves food that has been experimented with and perfected for over 100 years. It’s a well-loved accomplishment in a serious food city like Singapore. On the corner of Arab Street and Bridge Road, Zam Zam food is openly prepared on the ground floor. It appears tiny from here, but once you head up a flight of stairs, there’s a big upstairs area with a few dining spaces in an AC environment, which is always welcome in the Singapore heat. A Singapore hidden gem, Zam Zam makes nasi kandar style curries, but their most well-loved signature is the murtabak. Made in an open-air kitchen room which tempts you from the street, the murtabak (or martabak) is a thin dough pocket that’s often stuffed with a combination of minced meat and eggs, and fried in oil to a crispy golden colour. Originally an Arab food, versions are commonly found throughout Southeast Asia, and it’s a firm favourite among locals and visitors in Singapore. The Singapore version of the dish is a combination of Arab and Indian flavors, spices, and cooking techniques. Undoubtedly one of the best spots for foodies seeking the best places to eat in Singapore.

Qi Ji

Photo credit: discoversg.com/2016/01/26/4-creative-catering-ideas-for-this-cny-season/

If you like local delights and are craving something authentic, Qi Ji is a good place to go. You simply can’t go wrong with a hearty meal of delicious Nasi Lemak, Mee Siam or Mee. Qi Ji will captivate your taste buds with irresistible and original recipes. Starting as a humble food stall, Hock Heng, at Funan Centre, the restaurant is now iconic to the food scene of Singapore; creating some of the best of authentic Singapore local dishes inspired by Chinese and Malay food. They have the a really wide range of certified halal food and with reasonable pricing and good taste, Qi Ji is not to be missed. Try their famous white steam skin vegetable popiah; a Fujianese,Teochew-style fresh spring roll, often eaten in the Fujian province of China and Taiwan