To be honest I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like Singapore but little did I know this tiny wee country would steal my heart a little. There are so many delights to explore here and my god the food!! Here is my top 5 must do’s in this great place:
1. Newtown Hawker Market
Hawker Markets are a huge part of Singaporean culture and they are such a fantastic way to eat. They are essentially a huge food court with small stalls serving traditional foods from all over Asia. Some family friends of ours took us to visit the Newton Hawker Centre which was the hawker market that they have spent pretty much every Sunday dinner at since they got married. We were lucky here because our friend sat us down, told us to stay put and completely took charge. To start with we all tried sugar cane juice- have I tasted a yummier drink? I don’t think so! She then brought over plates and plates of food including: chicken satay, a dish they call carrot cake which is a white radish omelette type thing, sambal stingray ( freaked me out to think about but it was absolutely delicious) , spicy noodle dishes and otak-otak which is a spicy fish paste wrapped in banana leaves. It was awesome to get a real taste of Singapore and I would highly suggest visiting a Hawker market to really get immersed in their wonderfully delicious cuisine and thats why its my number one must do in Singapore!
2. The Kitchen at Bacchanila
My father works in the kitchen appliance industry and more than once it has let me in on some outstanding food experiences and one of these was a degustation at The Kitchen at Bacchanila on Hong Kong Street. This Michelin Star restaurant brought me so much joy with their delicate beautiful courses and let me experience flavours and foods that I may not have ever got to experience without this. I tried caviar, had a mushroom based dish that I actually enjoyed and one course even had carrot done I think 10 ways who knew this was even possible! The best part was that it was wine matched with a perfect selections of reds, whites and bubbles so needless to say I was full to the brim and a little tidily by the end of it. Now its not cheap but it as someone who is very much into trying new food experiences it was worth every penny.
3. Gardens by The Bay
The one thing you can say about Singapore is as much as it is a built up city it is also filled up with lots of greenery and a part of this that the Singaporeans are very proud of are their botanical gardens also known as Gardens by The Bay. Luckily we set aside a good day for this as we spent hours wandering around their 250 hectare garden park and we needed all of it and more. There are three must see parts of the park in my opinion and they are the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest and Super Tree Grove ( Including the roof top bar!!). The Flower Dome is a large greenhouse that has flowers and plants from the warmer areas of the world- check out all the cacti they seem to go on forever! The Cloud forest is another greenhouse that represents plants from the wetter areas with a huge “cloud mountain” that you take a lift up and walk around into the artificial clouds. Its an unreal experience! And finally the Super Tree Grove which is a set of 25+ meter man made tree like structure which have vertical gardens in them and a hovering path between them. On top of the largest there is a “treetop bar” which I would highly recommend at nighttime to watch the city lights- you can pretty much see the whole city from there and on a warm night it is so relaxing!
4. Champagne Brunch at the Fullerton Hotel
Something that the people of Singapore have really embraced is the Champagne Brunches and there is nothing I love more than a good buffet and when bottomless Moet is involved I couldn’t be more in. We arrived at the Fullerton around 11 and the brunch was already in full swing now bear in mind this was something planned by my father so I had no idea what to expect. I was met with the most beautiful sight…. tables and tables of the most beautiful food I had ever seen. There was a fresh pasta station (they even had pasta you could serve yourself out of a giant cheese wheel!!), a carved meat station, a fresh seafood station complete with lobster, a sushi station, a salad station, a pastry station, a station filled to the brim with cheeses from all around the world and don’t even get me started on the dessert and sweet treat station. Now if you’re going to get amongst one of these brunches then you a) need to wear a loose dress to fit it all in, b) not eat at all the day before in preparation and c) don’t fill you’re plate up too much at the beginning! This is hands down one of the coolest food experiences I have ever had.
5. Orchard Road Christmas lights
I was lucky enough to be visiting Singapore in late November so the Christmas festivities were in full swing. Singapore is famous for its shopping and Orchard Road is the main shopping street filled with huge mall after huge mall but this wasn’t the exciting part for me- apart from the killer black Friday specials that we got amongst while we were there. The exciting part of this was that each mall had the most fascinating Christmas light displays each one more staggering than the last. In Singapore people are out and about at night- don’t be surprised if you see children wandering the streets with their parents at all hours of the evening- and how could you not be when its so stunning night after night! If you are there around these Christmas months take the opportunity to set aside a night or two just to wander and check all of the displays out.
So as you can see I am mildly obsessed with food and thats why 3 of my top 5 activities involve eating in one way or another but I believe wholeheartedly that you experience a lot about a new country by its food!!