Alright, everybody! Welcome to a new week of cheap eats, cheap drinks and cheap things to do in Singapore!
The Food Place
This will probably be right up your alley. Just a few hundred steps away from the Bugis cultural district lies a building equally well-known among Singapore’s visitors. Let’s head up–to the 70th floor of Swissôtel The Stamford Hotel, where we’ll find a sleek British establishment overlooking the Singapore skyline. Helmed by Devon-born Kirk Westaway, Jaan (meaning rice bowl in the Cambodian language) has established itself as a respected name in Singapore’s fine dining scene, complete with 1 Michelin star. Lunch sets start from $98++ with optional wine-pairing.


2 Stamford Road, Level 70, 178882
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12pm to 2.30pm, 7pm to 10.30pm; closed on Sun
Dress code: Elegant
Nearest MRT: City Hall (or book a limousine)
The Coffee Place
Sick of cafes? Yeah, we feel you. They start to look the same after your 101st visit. Instead of making you take the MRT to some obscure neighbourhood for its kopitiam, let’s head downtown this week to…Orchard! Situated along Scotts Road is Hong Kong import, The Coffee Academics. Best known for selling $85 espresso (yes, price per cup) in 2017, the institution also allows you to personalise your own blends to take home with you.


The Coffee Academics
6 Scotts Road, #02-01/02, Singapore 228209
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 9am to 8.30pm, Fri-Sat 9am to 9pm, Sun 9am to 8pm
Nearest MRT: Orchard (or Grab a taxi)
The Chill Place
Dinner and chill? There’s no better place to do it than up in the sky watching the sunset over Marina Bay. If you didn’t already know, the Singapore Flyer allows you to book a private dining capsule so you can kick back with a glass of wine while riding a giant Ferris wheel that takes you 165 m above ground. Packages for two start from only $1.980, and you can choose to enjoy the Western, Chinese or Vegetarian menu.


Singapore Flyer
30 Raffles Ave, Singapore 039803
Opening hours: Daily 8.30am to 10.30pm
Dinner hours: 7.30pm or 8.30pm (check-in 30 min before)
The Market Place
Finding your wardrobe lacking? Only brought two days’ worth of clothes in your backpack? Fret not! Discover Paragon Shopping Centre, located smack along the Orchard Road shopping belt. From Versace to Ferragamo, you won’t find yourself wanting for anything, except maybe a positive bank account.

Singapore_Paragon_Facade

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28274615

Paragon Shopping Centre
290 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238859
Opening hours: Daily 10am to 10pm
Nearest MRT: Orchard
We hope this week’s highlights have been helpful in your trip planning! Remember, travelling Singapore doesn’t have to be expensive. You just gotta know where to look. 😉 See you next week for more budget-friendly places to visit in Singapore!
Okay, okay! Happy April Fool’s! Honestly, $1,980 probably cost more than your plane ticket to Singapore. But hey, Singapore really is a great travel destination no matter your budget. If your pockets are deeper, absolutely check out Singapore’s fabulous fine dining scene. Feel free to forward this post to that friend always posting about his luxurious escapades, or even save it up for your future multi-millionaire self!
Stay tuned for more budget-friendly places to visit in Singapore for reals!
Good day, friends! As the mercury keeps pushing its way up, let’s discover some cool places to get that core temperature in check. This post is brought to you by a writer recovering from heat exhaustion, and take it from me: it is no fun AT ALL.
 
The Food Place
It might sound counter-intuitive to recommend Curry Fish Head on a scorching day, but it has been claimed that consuming spicy foods increases sweating, which in turn helps the body cool down faster. The humidity in Singapore probably negates the cooling effects of evaporating sweat, but Singaporeans really love their spices too much to care. Head over to West Coast Plaza and seek out West Co’z Cafe. They’re Halal-certified, and their Traditional Curry Fish Head comes with thick, fiery gravy, a selection of non-leafy vegetables, as well as juicy, spongy dried beancurd. West Co’z Cafe’s rendition is also one of the most affordable in Singapore.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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West Coast Plaza, 154 West Coast Rd, #02-23, 127371
Opening hours: Daily 11.30am to 9.30pm
 
The Coffee Place
Hot latte may be comforting, but not on an equally hot day. It is indeed a blessing for anyone living in or visiting the tropics that cold brew coffee is now a thing. Nesting in Little India, Old Hen Coffee Bar is well-known for their immaculately bottled cold brews. Fans rave over their Creamy White, a refreshing pick-me-up on a sultry afternoon. For those who prefer unadulterated coffee, their Smooth Black is a hit too.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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88 Rangoon Road, #01-03, Singapore 218374
Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Fri 12pm to 10pm, Sat 10am to 6.30pm, Sun 10am to 10pm, Closed on Tue
Nearest MRT: Farrer Park
 
The Chill Place
If the heat gets seriously unbearable, put on some skates and imagine you’re gliding on the surface of Lake Baikal! Okay, it’s probably not cold enough for that, but The Rink over at Jurong East is the best ice skating experience you can get in Singapore. With the Zamboni deployed after every session, you can be assured of a quality experience. If you’re a novice and you’re not ready to go home with bruised bums, head upstairs to watch the (mostly little) pros fly and pirouette across the ice!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Rink
JCube, 2 Jurong East Central 1, Level 3, Singapore 609731
Opening hours: Varies according to events calendar. Check here.
Rates: $18/adult, $14/child (2 hours, including skate rental; bring your own socks). For more details, click here.
 
The Market Place
If you’re looking for non-tacky souvenirs to remind you of your trip to Singapore, you won’t go wrong with Cat Socrates. Carrying books, bags, and various knick-knacks, this indie boutique is certainly a breath of fresh air in an increasingly homogenised world. Discover Singapore-inspired postcard designs, edgy tote bags, and books by local and regional writers. If you’re a cat person, be sure to keep a lookout for Chestnut and Zoozoo who live in the Bras Basah and Joo Chiat outlets respectively!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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  • 231 Bain Street, #02-25, Singapore 180231
    • Opening hours: Mon-Sat 12pm to 8pm, Sun 1pm to 7pm
  • 448 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427661
    • Opening hours: Tue-Sun 12.30pm to 9.30pm, Closed on Mon

Peranakan Culture in Singapore: A Brief History

  1. Chinese traders began arriving and trading in Southeast Asia from the 10th century.
  2. From the 13th century, many Chinese sailors and traders began settling in Java and the Malay Peninsula, and intermarried with local Malay women. The marriages resulted in a blend of Chinese and Malay cultural elements that would eventually form the unique regional Peranakan culture.
  3. However, while Peranakan is commonly used to refer to the Straits Chinese population, the word Peranakan doesn’t have any racial or religious connotations. In fact, there are Indian Peranakans and Jawi Peranakans and Eurasian Peranakans, and the common denominator amongst these cultures is their unique fusion of regional cultural practices with their own.
  4. Singapore’s Peranakan population is mostly of Chinese ancestry.
  5. Today, most Peranakans have been assimilated under increasingly controversial regional racial profiling practices, identifying as Chinese, Malay, Indian, or Others.

What is Peranakan Culture

There’s no singular marker of Peranakan culture (for the purposes of this article, we’ll take Peranakan to refer to Singapore’s Chinese Peranakan culture). In fact, this writer has trawled through several blog posts and web pages written by Peranakans and while they agree on the influence of the rich Malay culture on their heritage and cultural practices, some reflect on their cosmopolitan mindset and largely Western education while others highlight traditional superstitions and practices such as hiding unmarried adult daughters from public sight.

Peranakans are also known as Babas and Nyonyas, honorific terms meaning Mister and Madam respectively. This recognises their status as Straits-born children, and differentiates them from the large wave of Chinese immigrants who arrived in the 19th century. Because of their status as early immigrants and their predominantly Western education, Peranakans could acquire civil service jobs easily, and many of them served as middlemen between the British and the local non-English-speaking population. This helped them acquire wealth and assets and it’s why so many crazy rich Singaporeans are Peranakan.

Many Peranakan families are Catholic today, but some still worship gods and deities from different religions as per the surprisingly traditional practice that honours the diversity of religions and cultures of the Straits.

Fun fact: Did you know that Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, was Peranakan?

Peranakan Food

Peranakan cuisine is also known as Nyonya food as culinary duties traditionally fell to the women who would spend hours in the kitchen grinding spices and making gravies. It’s full of regional influences both in culinary skills and ingredients used. The rempah (spiced sauces) are characteristic of Malay cooking, while ingredients such as rice noodles and pork reflected Chinese influences. Peranakan cooking is available mostly at Peranakan specialty restaurants, However, nyonya kueh and dumplings can be bought at street food stalls or in mall shops. Here are some acclaimed eateries to patronise while you’re here:

Candlenut

Candlenut is an oily nut not unlike macademia. It’s predominantly used in Southeast Asian curries and stews, as the high oil content allows the base to thicken and become creamier, giving the region’s cuisine their distinctive richness. Candlenut restaurant, on the other hand (sorry for going off-topic), is Singapore’s only Michelin-starred Peranakan food establishment. Helmed by Chef Malcolm Lee, the restaurant serves Peranakan classics refreshed for the contemporary palate. Only fresh ingredients are used, so you can be assured of quality. However, a meal at Candlenut doesn’t come cheap, and for cultural purists, the updated recipes may not satisfy. That said, gourmet seekers will undoubtedly find dining at Candlenut a unique experience.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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17A Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249676
Opening hours: Sun-Thu 12 to 3pm and 6-10pm, Fri-Sat 12-3pm and 6-11pm

Violet Oon Singapore

Violet Oon is Singapore’s authority on Nyonya cuisine. Cutting her teeth on journalism, she quickly found her niche in food reporting, and eventually started her own food magazine in the 80s. Her passion in food seeps through every aspect of her life, and eventually led her to start the Violet Oon chain of restaurants in Singapore. Now with four outlets each with its own special menu, the business is still growing steadily, and Violet’s children contributing to new ideas relevant for the modern connoisseur. Diners love the consistent quality of dishes such as Buah Keluak Ayam, Dry Laksa, and Kueh Pie Tee, though they note that the some of the flavours may be acquired tastes. Again, this is a pricier option, but a good, authentic way to sample Peranakan food in Singapore.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Violet Oon Singapore
Various outlets including ION Orchard and National Gallery Singapore
Check website for addresses, menus, and opening hours

IVINS Peranakan Restaurant

For those on a tighter budget, IVINS Peranakan Restaurant offers great bang for buck. Traditional Peranakan dishes such as Udang Masak Nanas (prawns cooked with pineapples in tamarind gravy) retail for less than $10, and the communal nature of Peranakan dining means you can place orders for several dishes and plates of rice, and share them amongst your companions!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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21 Binjai Park, Singapore 589827
Opening hours: Fri-Wed 11am to 3pm and 5pm-9pm, closed on Thu

Peranakan Language

Singaporean Peranakans have mostly been absorbed into the country’s racial categories and mainly converse in English today, but each community (Chinese, Chitty, Jawi) have their own Malay-based creoles inflected with other languages and dialects such as Hokkien, Portuguese, Arabic, and Tamil.

Peranakan Culture in Singapore: Where to go

Itching to learn more about Singapore’s Peranakan culture? Here are the places committed to educating both locals and travellers on Peranakan culture in Singapore.

Rumah Kim Choo

Rumah Kim Choo (Kim Choo House) hosts workshops and activities such as food tastings and kebaya fittings to provide an immersive experience for visitors. They also have an in-house boutique and gallery for all your souvenir needs.

DSC_8750

109 / 111 East Coast Road, Singapore 428800 / 428801

Check out the activities available and book your slot here.

Peranakan Shophouses

What’s a visit to Singapore without the mandatory photo of gorgeous pastel-coloured Peranakan shophouses? Take a moment to admire the colourful tiles adorning the facades of the buildings and snap as many photos as you will. It’s free!

DSC_8823

Koon Seng Road, Joo Chiat

Katong Antique House

Katong Antique House belonged to Baba Peter Wee until his passing in 2018. He was the ex-President of the Singapore Peranakan Association and was very committed to preserving Peranakan tradition and educating the public about Peranakan daily life. The Katong Antique House is testament to his efforts. It contains multitudes of everyday objects donated by Peranakan families and offers an insight into the lives of Singapore’s Peranakan population back in the day.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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208 East Coast Rd, Singapore 428907
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 4.30pm by appointment only
Phone: +65 6345 8544 (call for appointments)

Baba House

The Baba House is managed by the National University of Singapore. It once belonged to Peranakan shipping tycoon Wee Bin, and its exterior and interiors have been carefully preserved to reflect a typical Peranakan home of the time. The original furniture and household objects are still intact and on display. However, curious visitors are required to book an appointment in advance for a heritage tour conducted by historians.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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157 Neil Rd, Singapore 088883

Visits by appointment only. Book in advance here.

Book an immersive experience with us and learn more about Peranakan culture in Singapore through heritage site visits and mini food tours!

What’s up, amigos? We’re in the middle of March (already?!), and we can’t believe it. It’s been sweltering here in Singapore, and this writer has lapsed back into her shameful bubble tea habits.
 
The Food Place
Ah well, how about a refreshing ice-blended drink to turn down the heat this week? No, we’re not referring to Starbuck’s Frappés. You can get those anywhere. For tropical, caffeine-free option, head down to Satay by the Bay, a hawker centre nestled within the world-renowned Gardens by the Bay. Scout out the beverage stall and order a cup of Coconut Shake. Made with fresh sweet coconut juice and coconut ice-cream, this is a drink you’ll see yourself cradling on the beach. The taste is reminiscent of fresh coconuts, not the preserved UHT-packed juice sold in supermarkets.
 
satay by the bay
 
Beverage Stall
Satay by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive, #01-19, Singapore 018953
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 10pm
 
The Coffee Place
You know what the name “Craftsmen” reminds me of? Kingsman. With such a name, one would expect the coffee bar to be purveyors of top quality coffee. Perhaps as testament to their craft, they seem to have a loyal and expanding following. To top off the cake, they’re also known for their welcoming staff and cozy workspace. Exactly what you’d expect from men and women of craft.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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33 Mohamed Sultan Rd, #01-05, Singapore 238977
Opening hours: Sun-Thu & PH 8.30am to 9pm, Fri, Sat & Eve of PH 8.30am to 10.30pm
 
The Hipster Place
For those curious about contemporary art, head over to Gillman Barracks to find out more. A former military garrison, Gillman Barracks now houses art galleries and restaurants for art lovers, collectors, and newbies alike. It’s a welcoming space for artists and non-artists.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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9 Lock Road, Singapore 108937
 
The Market Place
Naiise began as a humble startup in 2013. Looking for ways to help Singaporean designers reach an audience, its founder created an online platform that showcases and sells quirky products by local designers. Within four years, Naiise has expanded its digital presence into physical stores both in Singapore and Malaysia, and an eCommerce outpost in the UK.
 
naiise
Credit: The Cathay
 
2 Handy Road, The Cathay, #B1-08, Singapore 229233
Opening hours: Daily 12pm to 10pm

Singapore isn’t a cheap travel destination, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save while you’re here! Hotels in Singapore are notoriously pricey, but the city’s clean and unique hotels are here to give the big chains a run for their money. Here are the top 10 hostels in Singapore for maximum comfort at minimum price.

I want comfort and privacy

Adler Hostel

Adler Hostel is a boutique hostel housed in an art deco shophouse in the middle of Chinatown. Just footsteps away from Sri Mariamman Temple, the hostel is decked in contemporary chic. Equipped also with a tastefully decorated lounge, it certainly feels more like a boutique hotel than a hostel. The curtained pods provide privacy and there’s even a fancy coffee bar to provide you with liquid energy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Adler Hostel
259 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058808
Phone: +65 6226 0173
Book direct | Booking.com | Hostelworld

hipstercity

Located in the city centre, hipstercity is an independent luxury hostel for budget travellers. You’ll get burned out from bunking with ten other travellers in close proximity sometimes, and hipstercity offers you a break from that at prices lower than hotels. Their single beds come with full-length privacy curtains that basically compartmentalise your space so you can lie back and recharge. If you’re travelling with your partner or friend, they offer double loft beds too! The hostel is also equipped with a cafe that morphs into a movie lounge by night!

hipstercity

Credit: hipstercity

hipstercity
9 Circular Road, Boat Quay, Singapore 049365
Phone: +65 6816 6200
Book direct | Booking.com

Spacepod@com

Ever wondered what it’s like to be on a spaceship? Located mere footsteps away from Kallang MRT station, Spacepod@com provides clean, comfortable pods you can hide away in and live out your interstellar fantasies! Travellers are happy with the novel sleeping experience, convenient location and FREE laundry between 7pm and 7am. They weren’t too pleased with the single toilet shared by all guests.

spacepod

Credit: Booking.com

Spacepod@com
6 Jalan Ayer, Singapore 389144
Phone: +65 8183 5636
Booking.com

The Atlas Station

Another space-themed hostel, The Atlas Station provides individual sleeping pods wired up with electricity! The capsules could have come right out of a space opera (dun dun dun dun duh-dun dun duh-dun), and you can even choose whether you want a front (peasant) or side (nobility) entrance.

the atlas station

Credit: Booking.com

The Atlas Station
424 Race Course Rd, Singapore 218670
Phone: +65 6291 5113
Booking.com

I want good value for money

Coral Hostel

Situated right in the heart of Bugis, Coral Hostel is a fantastic choice for heritage lovers on a shoestring. Travellers love the hostel for its squeaky clean interiors, comfortable beds, and superb location. Its beds are fitted with individual reading lamps! However, the rooms are quite small and there is no common space for socialising, so you’ll have to weigh your priorities!

coral hostel

Credit: Booking.com

Coral Hostel
5/5A Jalan Pinang, Kampong Glam, Singapore 199137
Phone: +65 8352 3231
Booking.com | Hostelworld

Atlantis Pods @ Bugis

Atlantis Pods @ Bugis is situated along the bustling Tan Quee Lan Street in Bugis, a prime location for travellers looking to visit the Arab Quarter. With Bugis MRT only a short walk away, getting around the country is incredibly convenient too. Each pod is equipped with a personal reading light, electrical socket, hanger and fold-down table, so you can use the energy saved from climbing up and down the bunk beds for sightseeing instead. FREE towels and toiletries are available, so you can save precious space for souvenirs!

atlantis pods bugis

Credit: Booking.com

Atlantis Pods @ Bugis
2 Tan Quee Lan Street, #02-00, Singapore 188091
Phone: +65 6254 0378
Booking.com | Hostelworld

The Bohemian

The Bohemian is located just a block away from Chinatown MRT station. The hostel is great for travellers looking for a central spot to put down their weary heads. Light sleeper? Select their soundproof pods equipped with a personal reading lamp and an international electrical socket! The receptionists are kind and helpful, and there is a FREE one-way departure shuttle service to the airport. No need to worry about clogging up the trains with your huge backpack!

the bohemian

Credit: Booking.com

The Bohemian
40 Mosque Street, Singapore 059518
Phone: +65 9154 6893
Booking.com | Hostelworld

OSS Backpackers Hostel

OSS Backpackers Hostel is located in Lavender, surrounded by a diverse range of food establishments. The rooms may be simple, but the price and convenience more than makes up for it. Travellers loved the hostel for its cleanliness, great location, comfortable beds, and decent breakfast for the price. Be sure to check out Mustafa Centre just 600m away to stock up on travel essentials!

oss backpackers hostel

Credit: Booking.com

OSS Backpackers Hostel
9 Hamilton Road, Lavender, Singapore 209180
Phone: +65 6610 9675
Book direct | Booking.com

I want to meet people

Happy Snail Hostel

Happy Snail Hostel is located away from the hustle and bustle of the city in the quiet neighbourhood of Bukit Merah. It’s a mere 15-minute commute to town with the perks of homeliness, camaraderie and a true immersion into Singaporean living. The rooms and decor may by simple, but the spirit of travel more than makes up for it. Travellers love the common space, free tea and coffee, comfortable beds and the communal spirit. It seems that Happy Snail Hostel manages to attract travellers who are looking for forge friendships, so you might just find a fellow snail to roam the streets with!

happy snail hostel

Credit: Booking.com

Happy Snail Hostel
147 Silat Avenue, #01-32 , Singapore 160147
Phone: +65 6667 1708
Book direct | Booking.com | Hostelworld

Beary Best! by a beary good hostel

Beary Best! by a beary good hostel occupies a restored shophouse in the heart of Chinatown. It sits just a stone’s throw away from major attractions and a wide range of food establishments, making it the perfect choice for travellers interested in food and culture. Beary Best! by a beary good hostel also has a lounge and pantry for travellers to get to know their newfound friends over a round of video games and some coffee! The hostel even has a roof terrace if you prefer the sun and fresh air.

beary best

Credit: Booking.com

Beary Best! by a beary good hostel
16 Upper Cross Street, Chinatown, Singapore 058331
Phone: +65 6222 4957
Book direct | Booking.com | Hostelworld

The Food Place

Singaporeans are the masters of metaphor. Take, for instance, “Singapore has a rojak culture” or “Your English very rojak”. “Mixed” might be a good word, but it doesn’t pack as much power, and dare we say, flavour.

Well, this rojak in question is actually a Southeast Asian salad. There are two types of rojak sold in Singapore, the Indian Rojak and the Chinese rojak. The dish sold by Chinese hawkers comprises fruits, vegetables, fried dough fritters and tofu skin, doused in sweet, thick gravy made from fermented shrimp, and topped with a sprinkling of peanuts. Hence, “rojak” meaning “mixed” in Singlish.

As much as we’d heartily recommend this dish, it definitely isn’t as healthy as the vegetable-based salads you’ll find at Western diners. But it’s worth a try for its sweet-savoury umami goodness. Trust us. Singaporeans swear by Brothers Rojak, situated in Clementi, about 30 minutes west of the city centre. It’s worth a shot if you’re venturing out of the built-up areas for a sight of everyday life. Beware of the queue at Brothers, though. Expect to wait 30 minutes for a plate of rojak during peak hours.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Brothers Rojak
449 Clementi Ave 3, #01-211, Singapore 120449
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9.30am to 9.30pm, closed on Sun
Nearest MRT: Clementi

The Coffee Place

Singapore has a specialty coffee roaster, and many third-wave cafés buy their beans from them. Common Man Coffee Roasters started out with a mission to make great coffee accessible to everyone. They’ve since moved beyond serving the average Joe an average cuppa joe (#sorrynotsorry) and morphed into an established institution in the local coffee scene. Their coffee is strong and aromatic with a good depth of flavour, but be warned that brunch prices are a little steep for the common man or woman.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Common Man Coffee Roasters
22 Martin Road #01-00, SINGAPORE 239058
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am to 5pm, Sat & Sun 7.30am to 6pm
Nearest MRT: Tiong Bahru

The Historical Place

The Katong Antique House is a one-of-a-kind “museum” displaying Peranakan artefacts. Owner and former President of the Peranakan Association, Peter Wee, has sadly passed away, but his legacy lives on in the house. The Peranakan Association has taken over the upkeep of Katong Antique House to preserve the Peranakan culture in a city obsessed with economic progress. Drop by for a taste of a bygone era and to learn more about the daily lives of the Peranakans in Singapore. Be sure to make an appointment prior to your visit.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Katong Antique House
208 East Coast Rd, Singapore 428907
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 4.30pm by appointment only
Phone: +65 6345 8544 (call for appointments)

The Market Place

What do Singapore’s insomniacs do at 3am? Go shopping, of course. Mustafa Centre is near and dear to all restless night owls burdened by 9 to 6 life. The departmental store is open 24/7 and is perpetually filled with people on bargain hunts. Whatever it is that you’re looking for, you’ll very likely find it at Mustafa. Think cameras, vacuum bags, shower gels, eggs, and even gold bars. It’s absolutely worth taking the time to stock up on travel essentials there.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Mustafa Centre
145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207704
Opening hours: All day, all night

A city break doesn’t have to mean endless malls and restaurants. If you’re tired of Singapore’s top-rated attractions (we won’t hate you), why not take a trip to the countryside for some fresh air and fun? It might be surprising that there are actually many different types of farms in Singapore, specialising in a wide range of farmstock, from vegetables to animals. It might not be Stardew Valley, but it makes for a pleasant day out.

Bollywood Veggies

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Bollywood Veggies is a vegetable farm located in Kranji. Set up by its founders, Ivy Singh-Lim and Lim Ho Seng, in 2000, it has established itself as one of the most well-known farms in Singapore. The farm is filled with signs containing information about the wide range of plants available, but keep a lookout for signs making jibes at Singaporean society and politics. If you’re dropping by, schedule a pit stop at the Poison Ivy Bistro, where dishes made with plants and vegetables from the farm are served along with homemade drinks.

Bollywood Veggies / Poison Ivy Bistro
100 Neo Tiew Road, Singapore 719026
Opening hours: Wed-Fri 7am to 5.30pm (Bistro opens at 8am); Sat, Sun & PH 7am to 6.30pm (Bistro opens at 8am); Closed on Mon & Tue unless PH

Jurong Frog Farm

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Jurong Frog Farm might not be in Jurong anymore, but it still deals in frogs, large American bullfrogs, for the matter. Now run by Chelsea Wan, daughter of founder Wan Bock Thiaw, the farm is diversifying its revenue streams with educational tours and frog-centred dishes.

Jurong Frog Farm
56 Lim Chu Kang Lane 6, Singapore 719164
Opening hours: Sat, Sun & PH 9am to 5.30pm; Tue-Fri by appointment only; Closed on Mon

Hay Dairies Goat Farm

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Hay Dairies is the first goat farm in Singapore. Its founder, Hay, began farming poultry and pigs before moving on to goats when the government shutdown pig farming. The first generation of goats were imported from Minnesota in the USA, and the current stock is the tenth generation. While goat’s milk met with resistance amongst Singaporeans initially, they have slowly warmed up to it. If you’re new to goat’s milk, this is a great opportunity to sample some as Hay Dairies produces and bottles them fresh at the farm!

Hay Dairies
3 Lim Chu Kang Lane 4, Singapore 718859
Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 9am to 4pm, Closed on Tue
Click here for tour information.
http://haydairies.sg/farm-visit-2/farm-tour/

Qian Hu Fish Farm

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Singaporean children will always have fond memories of Qian Hu Fish Farm. Don’t be terrified to see children running around with nets. They’re going for the fishes. Qian Hu Fish Farm offers activities to keep everyone entertained. If you’d like to experience old-school Singapore, opt for the Long Kang Fishing Experience. Arm yourself with a net and scoop up as many fish as you can in 30 minutes. If you’re visiting from abroad, you can’t bring them home unfortunately. You could give them away if you like!

Qian Hu Fish Farm
71 Jalan Lekar, Sungei Tengah, Singapore 698950
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat & Sun 9am to 7pm
Visit their website for information on available activities.

Kin Yan Agrotech Farm

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Kin Yan Farm prides itself on pesticide-free farming. The organic farm supplies produce such as mushrooms, wheatgrass, edible cacti, and leafy vegetables to local supermarkets and food establishments. Their mission is to provide wholesome, organic food to the people. To learn more about the farm, its philosophy and its produce, join them on a 1-hour tour for just $5.

Kin Yan Agrotech Pte Ltd
220 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718830
Opening hours: Daily 9am to 5pm
http://www.kinyan.sg/

Where to Stay

gardenasia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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gardenasia provides a resort experience right in the Kranji countryside. Sadly, the Kranji area is located quite far beyond the city, and travelling to and fro itself can be exhausting. Spending the night in rural Singapore is sure to rejuvenate and energise weary travellers. We’re impressed by the wide array of facilities available at gardenasia. The rooms are fully equipped with state-of-the-art AV systems and exude contemporary chic, and there’s a pool right outside for your daily swim. For your meals, head to the bistro for dishes created mostly with fresh ingredients sourced from the surrounding farms.

Do also check out the education centre where classes are conducted for the general public to learn more about the agricultural industry in Singapore.

gardenasia
240 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718898
Opening hours: Daily 10.30am to 10.30pm
http://www.gardenasia.com/index.php

Gallop Resort

Skip the hotels or hostels in town! For a immersion in Singapore’s agricultural countryside, it’s well worth shelling out a few more dollars for a night or two at Gallop Farm Resort. Go to sleep in the peace and quiet of rural Singapore and wake to the sounds of nature. It’s the perfect way to relax and recover during a city trip with tight schedules.

Gallop Resort
10 Neo Tiew Lane 2, Singapore 718813
Opening hours: 24 hours; Office: Daily 8am to 9pm
https://www.gallopresort.com/

“There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured by breakfast food.”—Ron Swanson

We all know about the English Breakfast, the Irish Breakfast and the Big Breakfast. We’re creatures of routine, and most of us probably have a go-to breakfast food, even if it’s black coffee. Instead of cereals or hearty meats, Singaporeans tend start the day with heavy meals. Without further ado, here’s the Singapore Breakfast in all its forms.

1. Kaya Toast with Soft-Boiled Eggs

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The cornerstone of the Singapore breakfast, kaya toast is fast becoming a popular breakfast food abroad. A generous spread of kaya (sweet coconut jam) coupled with a thick slab of unsweetened butter turns plain old toast into a smooth, melty and absolutely wicked breakfast dish. Although kaya toast is good enough to be had on its own, it’s usually served in a set alongside soft-boiled eggs. Yes, you guessed it. As weird as it sounds, once you’ve cracked the eggs and added a generous dash of salt, pepper and soy sauce, you’ll pass the kaya toast through the gooey mixture and put it in your mouth. It’s a firm favourite amongst Singaporeans and Malaysians, and you can find them in any good coffee shops near your accommodation.

For chain establishments, Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a top choice while Toast Box doesn’t do too bad either.

2. Roti Prata

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Prata is the quintessential Singapore breakfast dish. Before Singaporean children learn to stomach spicier and heavier breakfast foods, a breakfast outing will most likely consist of roti prata. Fortunately for mamak stalls, Singaporean children hardly grow out of their prata love. Just ask any local for a list of their favourite breakfast or comfort food, and I’ll bet you’ll hear about prata. Prata is a piece of dough lovingly (or frantically during busy hours) stretched and smacked onto a hot griddle. The result is a thin slab of crispy, chewy and savoury dough that goes superbly with fish, mutton or veggie curry, or sugar for those less inclined to spicy breakfasts.

3. Economic Bee Hoon

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The heaviest and heartiest breakfast food you can get in Singapore is the economic bee hoon. The name is as much of a mouthful as the dish. Fried in the early hours of the morning and served with an assortment of fried stuffs along with a generous dollop of sambal chilli, the economic bee hoon is the driving force behind Singapore’s economic growth. Okay, bad joke. But seriously, the queues are filled with paper pushers every morning.

4. Chwee Kueh

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Chwee Kueh literally means “water cakes” in Hokkien. Made of water and milled rice, the aromatic cakes are served with generous helpings of chye poh, or preserved radish, turning it from plain Jane to culinary bombshell. The best chwee kueh is a careful balance of bite, sweetness and saltiness, and many Singaporeans will top it all off with a side of sambal chilli for even more flavour. It’s a hearty breakfast dish without the heaviness of economic bee hoon.

5. Nasi Lemak

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Singaporeans are pretty open-minded when it comes to meals. If it’s available at a certain time, it qualifies as the corresponding meal. You won’t be hard-pressed to find locals converging at a hawker centre for a plate of nasi lemak complete with sides at the crack of dawn. The fragrant rice is boiled with coconut milk and pandan leaves and served with cucumber slices, a fried egg, ikan bilis, peanuts, and a meat option (chicken wing, small yellowstripe fish, or otah). This is sure to fuel you with enough energy for half a day.

6. Carrot Cake

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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A plate of piping hot (yes, hot) carrot cake is worth 30-minute queues for many Singaporeans. Don’t take me at face value. The “cake” is made with white radish and rice flour, and friend with garlic, preserved radish, and eggs. For a sweeter alternative, choose the black version which involves sweet soy sauce. Many places only serve carrot cake in the morning, so it’s safe to say that this is a favourite Singapore breakfast dish!

7. Kueh

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Last but not least, visit the nearest kueh stall with a hamper bag and lug an assortment of colourful snacks home for breakfast. Wikipedia classifies kueh as snacks or desserts, but we beg to differ. While they can certainly be consumed during the mid-afternoon slump or after dinner, these sugary kuehs sure provide a good jolt to the system after an 8-hour long fast.

Done with breakfast? Here are the top 5 Singapore foods you should get for lunch!

Hola amigos, I think you know the drill. For the uninitiated, check out our first weekly feature here.

The Food Place

This week, we’d like to move on from chicken rice to something heavier and messier. Enter satay bee hoon, a splattering sensation with sweetness and crunch in every bite.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The idea of throwing satay sauce over shellfish and cuttlefish might seem strange, but satay bee hoon has sure developed a cult following in Singapore. Scattered with crunchy raw cuttlefish and cockles, it’s a love it or hate it kind of dish. But what really matters is the sauce. It’s unbecoming to drink straight peanut sauce (hey, we’ve got a sense of decorum too), so even though the ingredients might make you think twice on their own, a good serving of sauce will usually offset your hesitation. Head to Ang Mo Kio for bee hoon slathered in sweet, salty, nutty and spicy gravy, but beware of the queue. It might set you back a good half an hour.

Centre Satay Bee Hoon
724 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6, #01-12, Singapore 560724
Nearest MRT: Ang Mo Kio
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 11am to 9pm; closed on Tue

The Coffee Place

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Highlander Coffee was one of the first kids on the block when third wave coffee was gaining ground in Singapore. Boasting its own roasting facility in Singapore, Highlander Coffee is a wholesale coffee beans supplier which also serves smooth and aromatic coffee. Besides, they also conduct workshops for the aspiring barista and sell equipment that enhance the coffee drinking experience. Visit their storefront for personable service from their baristas.

Highlander Coffee
49 Kampong Bahru Rd, Singapore 169362
Nearest MRT: Outram Park
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am to 5pm; closed on Sun

The Hipster Place

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sit tight! This week, we’ll introduce you to a place so hip none of its guests know its exact location. A watering hole situated somewhere in the woods of Central Singapore, The Kave HQ is an intimate hangout for indie music lovers. Its lineup includes local indie pop bands who will entertain you as you grab your fifth drink at the bar. You want directions? Unfortunately, Google Maps can’t help you this time. You’ll have to gather at a meeting point with fellow partygoers where you’ll be picked up in either a Volkswagen Beetle or Kombi. Nothing can top this now.

The Kave HQ
Stay tuned on Facebook for details of their upcoming events.

The Market Place

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Who says marketing always involves fresh food? Singapore is full of day and night markets selling almost anything under the sun, from household items to clothing. But what if you could leave your wallet behind? The Singapore Really Really Free Market (SRRFM) relies on a neo-bartering model where you can swap your unwanted items for someone else’s. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Do your part for the Earth and help your bank account out too!

Singapore Really Really Free Market
Stay tuned
Stay tuned on Facebook for details of their upcoming events.

One might say that Singapore’s food culture is Singapore’s culture, and they won’t be far from the truth. Food is an integral part of the daily lives of people living in Singapore, and nothing reflects the patchwork of cultures that make up the republic more than Singaporean cuisine. It’s safe to say that Singaporeans don’t eat to live; they live to eat.

While it would be loath of us to prescribe a certain way of travelling, we feel that skipping out on food in Singapore means missing out on a great chunk of culture. The museums and architecture are great, but they lack a certain viscerality. Singapore food culture goes beyond taste. Every dish of significance carries with it a history—be it of joy or hardship, and what’s truly special is how age-old recipes have been adapted over the years to incorporate local flavours, making Singaporean cuisine as distinctive as it’s delicious.

Singapore food culture is having roti prata and teh tarik to start the day, a hearty plate of nasi lemak to fuel your afternoons, and a flavourful serving of chicken rice to end the day. Though these dishes have different ethnic origins, Singaporeans will proudly claim them as their own, regardless of the ethnicity they identify with. It won’t be a stretch to say that Singapore food culture is born out of serendipity and it’s a huge unifying factor for all Singaporeans.

Top 5 Dishes to Try in Singapore

Chicken Rice

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Singapore’s chicken rice was brought to its shores by Hainanese immigrants and adapted with local flavours. Blanched or roasted chicken is served with rice boiled in chicken stock, then drizzled with sauce cooked in chicken fat. It’s an explosion of flavour that the appearance doesn’t justify. Singaporeans will tell you that the chilli sauce makes or breaks the dish. Every chicken rice stall has their own fans, so it’s really up to you to discover your favourite!

Laksa

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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You’ve probably heard of Singapore laksa before. Rich, creamy, and full of zing, the curry noodles are a mainstay of Singaporean cuisine and will leave you hungry for more. Its origins are murky, but it is thought that laksa was born out of the intermarriage of Chinese traders and Malay women, hence, the fusion of Chinese soup noodles and Malay spices. Each bowl of thick rice noodles is filled with spiced coconut milk broth, shrimps, fish cakes, bean curd skin, a dollop of sambal chilli, and finished with a dash of chopped laksa leaves. What a feast!

Roti Prata

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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A heavy meal isn’t what most of the world would start the day with, but for Singaporeans, it’s never too early for dough soaked in vegetable/chicken/fish curry. Brought to Singapore by South Indian immigrants, Singaporean children (and adults) jump for joy when prata is on the menu for breakfast or supper. While prata is available for takeaways, nothing beats watching the prataman toss and slap the dough onto the griddle. 100% full sensory experience.

Nasi lemak

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Nasi lemak probably originated in neighbouring Malaysia, but it’s inseparable from the Singapore foodie experience. A simple, inexpensive meal available at most hawker centres, the plate consists of rice cooked in coconut milk accompanied by sweet sambal (shrimp paste) chilli, fried ikan bilis (anchovies) and peanuts, cucumber slices, telur goreng (fried egg), and a meat of choice—fried chicken, fried ikan kuning (yellowstripe fish), or otah (grilled fish cake).

Carrot cake

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Let’s clear this up: Singapore carrot cake does not contain carrots. Instead, this Teochew dish consists of soft dough cubes made of white radish and rice flour fried with garlic, eggs, and preserved radish. It’s served with sambal chilli (see a pattern?), which only brings to prominence the marriage of sweet and savory.

Singapore Food Culture: The Present

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Regarded as communal dining centres, hawker centres are the backbone to Singapore’s livelihood. It is the only place Singaporeans of all stripes break bread with each other without regard of one’s social class. It is for this reason that the Singapore government is hoping for Singapore’s hawker culture to be nominated for the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

However, there are concerns about the future of Singapore’s hawker centres especially with the retirement of first generation hawkers. Food vending is an arduous business with uncertain gains, and the young are pursuing careers in the areas more directly related to Singapore’s economic growth. There is a very real threat to the loss of the unique Singapore food culture. To encourage more youths to take up the mantle, the government has set up the Incubation Stall Programme to halve the costs of renting a stall for six months.

Singapore Food Culture: The Future

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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As hard as it is to come to terms with, Singapore’s hawker culture is waning. The future is uncertain. However, with globalisation in full force, people around the world have taken interest in Singapore’s food culture and many have even left their homes to share their cuisine with Singaporeans. Singapore has definitely developed a fondness for and openness to foreign flavours. Both Singaporean and foreign restaurateurs have set up shop selling fusion food, marrying the diverse local flavours with foreign ingredients.

Singapore Food: How much to Budget

Fortunately for foodies, cooked food remains one of Singapore’s most accessible exports—if you know where to look. Hit up the many hawker centres scattered throughout the island. A rule of thumb is the closer it is to the downtown district, the higher the price. Else, absolutely feel free to explore!

If you’re into gourmet cuisine and fine dining, Singapore is a regional destination for that too. However, you will need to deepen your pockets considerably. Here’s a quick guide:

Budget

A single meal at a hawker centre: $3-$5
Three meals at a hawker centre: $10-$15

Pretentious Hipster

A single meal at a cafe, no drinks: $20-25 pp
A single meal at a cafe with drinks: $30 pp

Gourmet

A single meal at a restaurant: > $40 pp (the sky is your limit)

Singapore Food: Where to Eat

Hawker centres are available in every district as part of the government’s efforts to maintain accessibility to cooked food. All the better for everyone! Most hawker centres will serve the five dishes listed above, and ultimately, the best taste boils down to personal preference.

Cafes and restaurants are mostly available downtown, around the Tiong Bahru and Tanjong Pagar districts. Higher end fare is common at the Marina Bay area. However, there are most definitely a few surprises out of the way.

For a general guide, visit these five Singapore food blogs below:

  1. Daniel Food Diary
  2. Eatbook.sg
  3. Lady Iron Chef
  4. Miss Tam Chiak
  5. Seth Lui

Singapore Food: The Takeaway

Singapore’s food culture is as diverse as its population, sometimes even more so. The fusion of mainly Malay, Indian, Chinese and Eurasian flavours led to the flourishing of Singapore’s strong food scene, and with globalisation in full swing, it seems that we can only expect more experimental ideas and novel tastes to hit the shores. To be honest, we can’t wait! And we hope that you’ll join us to learn about and enjoy Singapore’s culture through its cuisine.