I would like to start this post by simply stating, I love Singapore. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to visit, not once, but twice, such a lovely place. Moving away from home last year was hard but these adventures would not have happened if my husband and I had not had taken such a risk.
All that said – I absolutely hate traveling to Singapore. I am pretty skittish on a plane, so being on a plane for nearly 20 hours is traumatizing. I swear I barely survived the first time around, despite being on one of the best airlines in the world, Cathay Pacific. This time around, I had my husband at my side to calm me, but unfortunately to keep costs down, we flew Delta. In terms of safety, I’ve got zero qualms with Delta – there’s just a little less service/comfort involved on the flight, which on a long haul trip really helps with my neurosis!
Anywho, we had a long trip over to Tokyo and then another flight to Singapore before we arrived at about 11:30PM on a Saturday night. This was actually quite perfect as we were exhausted and were able to just crash at the hotel (Westin Singapore) when we arrived. On Sunday, since I had off from work, we met up with my colleague for lunch and then ventured out to Sentosa Island. The rest of the week was filled with office hours by day and food hunting by night. Below is a collection of some of my favorite places in the Lion City and if you ever find yourself lucky enough to visit, please check them out! Of course, this is not an exhaustive list – I couldn’t quite keep up with all of the places we went or all of the things we ate!
PLACES TO GO AND WHAT TO EAT
Sentosa is where Singaporeans go to play! The island features resorts, golf courses, Universal Studios, shopping, and three beautiful beaches: Palawan, Siloso, and Tanjong. We walked the 2 mile stretch to see all three of the beaches while we were there. The views of the Singapore Strait are gorgeous and the temperate water offers relief from the tropical weather.
A trip to Gardens by the Bay is an absolute must while visiting Singapore. The park consists of three sizable gardens by the waterfront in addition to two conservatories known as the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. You can peruse the main gardens for free, walk over the Supertrees Grove for a small fee, or explore the domes for about $16 each. While I probably should have gone over to the Flower Dome this time since I have yet to see it, I opted to walk through the Cloud Forest one more time. I just had to show my husband how beautiful it is.
Afterwards, you are a short walking distance to Marina Bay Sands, so I suggest you hit up the nightly light show over the bay and walk the Helix Bridge down over to the Esplanade. Great views of the city skyline!
If there was one place I wish I spent more time during my visit, it would be Arab Street. I believe it is part of the Kampong Glam district and it truly offers some of the best shopping in Singapore. I wanted to stop in to every boutique we passed while walking through the area! We went to a small restaurant called Going Om for drinks and small bites to celebrate my co-worker’s birthday. Even without air conditioning, the atmosphere was awesome with must see architecture.
KEONG SAIK ROAD
After hearing of its happening restaurant culture and beautiful art deco period houses, we knew we had to take a trip to Keong Saik Road on the outskirts of Chinatown.
At this point during our week in Singapore, I was craving a burger and was lucky enough to stumble upon Potato Head Folk and their outdoor dining area, Three Buns. I had the Baby Huey, a Prime beef patty with cheese, lettuce, ‘Notorious T.O.M. sauce’, pickles, and spiced mayo on a demi brioche bun, with a side of fries. Let me tell you, I truly wish there was a Three Buns location in New York City. This burger was so serious; I would be a very regular customer.
My husband was not ready for Western food quite yet, so we stopped at Tong Ah Eating House for an authentic Cantonese meal. He ordered the “fragrant chicken” (crispy fried chicken with sambal chili) with rice and it was absolutely delicious.
MAXWELL ROAD HAWKER CENTRE
I wasn’t able to make it to Maxwell Road Hawker Centre, but according to my husband and the locals it is definitely worth a trip if you are a fan of Hainanese chicken rice. Even Anthony Bordain says so. My husband made his way to Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice at Maxwell one afternoon to see what all the hype was about.
LAU PA SAT HAWKER CENTRE
The one hawker I made it to is just right down the street from the Westin Singapore. And this one features an array satay stands! Satay was one of the first Asian dishes I ate growing up (I used to play it pretty safe) so I was very excited to have an authentic version. Now, I’m ruined. This satay is so amazing. It tastes nothing like what I’ve had in the states!
If you’re looking for nightlife, then look no further than the riverfront area called Clarke Quay. There are so many restaurants and bars to choose from, many of which are waterfront and offer beautiful views. There is also some beautiful street art to see as you walk through the area.
After having some Turkish ice cream, we had a drink and ate a quick bite (a bit out of order, I know) at a place called Little Saigon. Because we decided we didn’t want to spend the money it takes to order chili crab in Singapore, we opted for an appetizer that is the next best thing: chili crab sauce with fried buns! It totally satisfied the craving.
One of my husband’s favorite things to eat is soup dumplings. Every time we venture into NYC, he has to have them. So, it went without saying that he needed to have soup dumplings while we were in one of the foodie capitals of the world. Along with a number of other dim sum dishes, we ordered the soup dumpling platter with eight different flavors. I cannot remember all of the flavors, but I do know there were truffle, foie gras, egg, and vegetable, among others.
Kaya toast! The most perfect breakfast of all time. Soft white bread, toasted to perfection, slathered with butter and kaya coconut jam, served with a side of soft cooked eggs. Yes, please.
My husband took to kaya toast like no other; so I expect I’m going to have to replicate it at home sometime in the near future. Until then, we will have our memories of Ya Kun Coffee Stall.
Millenia Walk is very close to our Asia Pacific office so my colleagues and I would often venture across the street for lunch. I loved both spots we visited, Rakuzen and Madame Saigon. However, I only documented the visit to Rakuzen with this picture of chirashi – also known as “scattered sushi”.
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Ah, durian. The king of fruits. You can smell durian a mile away, and more often than not, you will not like the smell. It didn’t bother me too badly, but I still managed to avoid trying the fruit. My husband, always the adventurer, however, gave it a shot. He ventured to Wonderful Durian on Sims Avenue in the Geylang neighborhood to try some of the best durian Singapore has to offer.
After getting a “first timer” discount, he succeeded in eating the entire durian! This picture proves it. His verdict was that the fruit “tasted like onions”. He also compared it to sherry, mango, and custard all at once in a creamy, fatty sort of goo. Not sure if that sounds delicious… 😉