Author: webmaster_polah

Top Five Places to Check Out in Singapore – Don’t Leave without Visiting!

Short on time and not sure what are the best things to do in Singapore? Although Singapore is a small island geographically, it’s jam-packed with attractions that can make it difficult to decide which to visit, especially if you are short on time. Below are some of the not-to-be-missed spots in Singapore that will be worth every bit of your time on this little island.

P.S. If you would also like to try the best foods in Singapore, be sure to check out our guide here on where to go.

21 Famous Places to Visit for Yummy Food – Must Try in Singapore!

 

Zoo & The Night Safari

One of the best zoos in the world, no trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to the acclaimed Singapore Zoo. From free-ranging orang utan to lions kept in spacious landscaped enclosures separated from the visitors by either dry or wet moats, you get to observe these animals in their natural habitats without the artificial cages. You can also get up close to some of these animals by going for the feeding sessions. A delightful experience that will help you get in touch with nature even if you’re not a “zoo person”. Right next door to the zoo is the Night Safari which offers one of the best shows and experiences as well. Hopped onto an open-sided shuttle tram for a close-up and personal experience with these nocturnal critters. Little wonder why it is the most recommended attraction for sightseeing in Singapore!

 

 

 

 

 

Marina Bay Sands

One of the most recognizable landmark of Singapore, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) has one of the best night view in Singapore. A stroll around the vicinity is the perfect way to enjoy the night breeze and the beautiful sights the place has to offer. At designated hourly interval, there’s also a music-light show, taking place in front of MBS. You can also catch it across the other end from One Fullerton. If you are visiting in mid July till early August, you can also catch sight of fireworks, as the country prepares for their National Day (Independence Day) Celebrations.

Visit the MBS website for the timings of the show below: https://www.marinabaysands.com/entertainment/spectra.html

 

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Chinatown

Definitely a highlight that cannot be missed on your trip, Chinatown has one of the best Singapore food to try and cheap souvenirs to get. Further away from the shopping area, you will find an Indian temple situated within walking distance from another Buddhist temple, perhaps the best testament to the racial harmony policy that has been promoted in this country since Independence. You can also find locals playing Chinese chess near the Tourist Centre next to the Buddhist temple, as well as community art performances during certain festive season.

Tip: Venture beyond the shopping street towards Chinatown Complex that is near the Buddhist Temple, to catch a glimpse of local life by visiting the wet market in the basement and the hawker stalls on the second floor. We would recommend trying the Xiao Long Bao, that is every bit as good as the ones from the famous Din Tai Feng. You can also find one of the cheapest chicken rice in Singapore here at $2.50 a plate. Be forewarned that the wait for food can take quite a while. For those who are still hungry, you can pop by the nearby shopping mall, Chinatown Point, for some Bak Kut Teh (Meat Bone Soup) as well as some local desserts for the sweet-tooth.

If you are interested in a comparison of how life has changed for locals in the past 50 years with its modern amenities, check out the local supermarket called NTUC located within the mall which offers a stark contrast with the wet market found at the Chinatown Complex.

 

Merlion Park

To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend coming all the way just to see the Merlion, but the night scene here should definitely be part of your itinerary. As it can get rather hot in the day, I would suggest coming here in the late evening and walk towards the Marina Bay Sands area, perhaps after dinner. Alternatively, if you are the running sort of person instead, check out this jogging trail which begins from Merlion Park.

 

 

 

 

 

Other Highlight Events

If you still have not bought your tickets, do try to time your visit to coincide with events or festivals happening in town such as the Light to Night Festival, when the town puts on its best shows to celebrate. To find out what’s current happening, you can visit this site for the list of events that are happening this year.

21 Famous Places to Visit for Yummy Food – Must Try in Singapore!

If there is a common trait among Singaporeans, one of it is certainly the love for good food. No planning for things to do in Singapore would be complete without a list of must-eat food places to visit. From the chicken rice hawker stall that beat Gordon Ramsey in a culinary showdown to the “bloody delicious” chili crabs, below are some of the best places we recommend to include as part of your itinerary for your Singapore trip.

P.S. Do check out our guide to the top five Singapore attractions if you’re deciding which places to visit in Singapore too!

Top Five Places to Check Out in Singapore – Don’t Leave without Visiting!

 

Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (天天海南鸡饭)

Famous even among tourists as the stall that beat Gordon Ramsey in a cook-off, this is also my personal favourite chicken rice in Singapore.  Tender juicy meat are sliced and served with the well-seasoned rice. Each mouthful packs a rich and powerful punch of umami. Try it with the local chilli sauce, garlic or soya sauce for a different taste! I personally prefer to eat it with just a bit of soya sauce. 

Tian Tian Maxwell Chicken Rice
Tian Tian Maxwell Chicken Rice with garlic (yellow), chilli (reddish-orange) and dark soya sauce (black).

 

 

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh 松發肉骨茶

Definitely a must-eat if you are in Singapore! A humble looking bowl of peppery soup with chunks of pork ribs, we love to eat it with lots of rice and dipping the meat in soya sauce + garlic. You get a certain kick out of the soup, which the locals describe it as “shiok”. Try it to believe it for yourself. Check out the recommended side dishes if you are famished from a day of walking around tourists attractions in Singapore.

Tip: If you are visiting the outlet at Chinatown Point Shopping Mall, do save some space for desserts at Mei Heong Yuen Dessert which is located in the same mall but on different floors.

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
Song Fa Bak Kut Teh
Recommended side dishes to go with Bak Kut Teh: (Clockwise direction) fried doughnut sticks (purple bowl), pig trotters (white bowl), white rice (orange bowl), pig offals (orange plate), preserved vegetables (centre)

 

 

Chomp Chomp Hai Wei Yuan Seafood Barbecue (忠忠海味园BBQ海鲜烧烤)

Barbecued stingray might seem like a strange dish, but this is something you do not want to miss while you are in Singapore. Commonly prepared by grilling the fish over charcoal, it is served with a layer of the local favourite sambal chilli sauce. Drizzle some lime juice over it, and you are ready to go. The soft flesh, combined with the spicy sambal and tarty citrus sauce helps to bring out the rich flavours of the fish which is at once sweet, savory and spicy. Best to eat this with a generous portion of rice if you can’t take spicy food well 🙂 If you have space for more, try the famous Hokkien Mee, carrot cake and fried oyster too!

Chomp Chomp Food Centre
Chomp Chomp Food Centre

 

BBQ Stingray
BBQ Stingray

 

Hokkien Mee
Hokkien Mee

 

Fried Oysters
Fried Oysters

 

 

Mei Heong Yuen Dessert (味香园甜品)

Serving both hot and cold desserts, there is a wide variety of traditional and modern flavours to choose from. Personally, I like the mango pomelo sago dessert, but you can never go wrong with ordering snow ice too. 

Tip: There are two outlets in Chinatown, where one located just inside Chinatown Point Shopping Mall while the other is located along one of the walking streets. As the latter is frequently more crowded and you have to bear the heat walking there, we prefer going to the one inside the mall for its cool air-conditioning and shorter waiting time!

Strawberry & Mango Snow Ice
Strawberry & Mango Snow Ice

 

Mango Pomelo Sago
Mango Pomelo Sago

 

 

Qi ji Mee Siam

A sweet-and-sour dish that is a bit spicy, you should definitely try this if you enjoy sweet-and-sour food too. Served with brown rice noodles, this is also a healthier alternative to the usual noodles. Since this is part of a chained restaurant, you can easily find it around Singapore. 

Qi Ji Brown Rice Mee Siam
Qi Ji Brown Rice Mee Siam

 

 

Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee (欧南园炒粿條面)

Mix with plenty of cockles (aka “hum” in local dialect) and black soya sauce, you can’t find this kind of fried noodles outside southeast Asia. I like mine with plenty of “hum”. It’s amazing how good a simple fare like this can taste.

char kway teow
char kway teow

 

 

Tip Top Curry Puff

With a fried crispy outer layer, eat this while it’s hot! The original curry version is one of the better ones in Singapore so don’t miss it if you chance upon it!

 

 

Mellben Seafood at Ang Mo Kio

Famous not just for its chilli crabs, but also its creamy butter chilli crab soup, you can be sure your tummy would be popping out after a meal here. I loved the fried buns here, which is often eaten by dipping the buns in the savory sauce of the chilli crab or in the sweet condensed milk. But be forewarned, there is a queue here every night and average waiting time could hit 1 hour long so try to be early.

 

 

Wild Honey 

From the English Breakfast to Tunisian, the all-day-breakfast served here can be rather pricey but the good service, great food and the ambience helps to make up for it.

 

 

Hong Kong Street Family Restaurant

Located across the road from the Novena station, this simple-looking restuarant serve one of the best beef hor fun in Singapore. A savory noodle dish, each mouthful is slurpingly good with its juicy beef meat and flavourful sauce. Also try their tofu.

 

 

Gu Ma Jia (Aunt’s Place)

Famous for their sweet-and-sour peranakan fish dish with tamarind and ladyfingers, I love to eat this dish with a generous serving of rice. The locals would also order some other vegetables and meat dishes for a complete dinner course. 

Gu Ma Jia
Gu Ma Jia
Assam Fish
Assam Fish

 

 

Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao (中国拉面小笼包)

The Xiao Long Bao here is at least as good as Ding Tai Feng, if not better. At $6 for 10, you can’t find something as good and as cheap elsewhere. Value for money but expect long queues! 

 

 

Hot Spot Cafe Restaurant

Delicious fish soup with the option of changing it to tom yam soup base. The tom yam version is blazingly hot but it doesn’t stop the crowd from coming. The favourite local option is to order thick vermicelli noodles to go with the soup, and adding some skim milk to enhance the sweetness of the soup. Try to avoid the lunch hour as it can get very crowded.

 

 

Haidilao Hotpot

One of the best places to have hotpot in Singapore, the resturant makes sure that you have a free flow of snacks and games to play while waiting to get a seat. Yes, even before you pay any money. At some outlets, you can even have a manicure too (which you also have to wait for your turn too). So best to visit during non-peak period if you want to eat your hotpot quickly. The servers will make sure you are well-taken care of, so if it’s your first time, just ask for recommendations from them. Personally, I would recommend going for two soup bases: tomato and seafood if you enjoy sweet-and-sour, as well as non-spicy stuff. But there are plenty of stuff on the menu, so go ahead and try whatever piques your interest.

 

 

Jumbo seafood

Chilli crab done just right, the succulent meat combined with the sweet chilli sauce makes it finger-licking good.

 

 

Sin Ming roti prata

Crispy and tasty, the prata taste best when eaten together with the various curries sold. If you’re there with friends, try to order a few and share.

Roti Prata
Roti Prata

 

 

Kaya Toast

Toasted to a nice golden shade, the best kaya toast is crispy on the outside yet remain soft inside. Pair it up with a set of runny eggs and tea or coffee to your liking and you have the perfect Singaporean breakfast.

 

 

Laksa

A noodles dish made with coconut milk.

Sungei Laksa
Sungei Road Laksa
Sungei Laksa
Sungei Road Laksa

 

 

SF Fruits & Juices at Raffles Place MRT

Sweet and juicy, the watermelon here is one of the best in Singapore.  Perfect thirst-quencher in the forever-hot Singapore. Somehow the watermelon at the other branches are not as good so we are only recommending the one at Raffles Place MRT station!

 

 

Whitley Road Big Prawn Noodles

Each mouthful delivers a full-body prawn sweetness that will make you want more. 

 

 

Eat 3 bowls 呷三碗

Although this is a taiwanese cusine, but good food is always worth eating (unless you’re taiwanese. haha)

Personally love the luroufan with its vinegar drink. 

3 Places to Get Designer Peranakan Jewellery in Singapore

From the colourful shophouses to its unique kebayas, these jewellers have blended Singapore’s Peranakan heritage with artful craftsmanship that is not only beautiful to look at, but also meaningfully Singapore. Here we share three that have captured our hearts.

Foundation Jewellers

For jewellery worthy of royals, look no further. This very same peranakan brooch has been gifted to Queen Elizabeth II and she has been spotted wearing it on multiple occasions. If you are looking for something truly extravagant, check out Foundation Jewellers. But don’t say I didn’t warn you, prices here can easily go up to the thousands.

Choo Yilin

Artfully designed while keeping with the local heritage, the jewellery is a perfect gift. Each piece is a recreation of the beauty of local Peranakan culture and will definitely turn heads. Perfect to don for the special occasion.

EDEN + ELIE

Casual without compromising on elegance, these pieces by EDEN + ELIE are inspired by the floral kebayas, clothings often worn by Nonya women. Showcase your fun side with these colorful pieces!

5 Must-Buy Souvenirs from Singapore Recommended by Locals

Famed as a food paradise, you would be spoilt for choice when deciding what snacks to buy back home. Instead of the unoriginal merlion chocolates, check out these top 5 favourite local snacks in Singapore.

Bak Kwa

The Asian-equivalent of beef jerky, you are definitely missing out if you don’t get Bak kwa a try. Marinated with sugar and salt, the humble pork meat is barbecued to give it a tantalizing a smoky flavour. Check out the vacuum packs if you are looking to put them in your luggage.

Pork Floss

If you want to try a soft and fluffy meat jerky, the pork floss may be what you are looking for. Roasted to golden brown colour, this savory snack can be eaten on its own or mixed in with a bowl of rice/noodles/pasta. The local bakery, BreadTalk is also selling the pork floss bun. Try some first if you’re uncertain about getting it as a souvenir!

Pineapple Tarts

Whether it’s in the shape of a golf ball or a roll, pineapple tarts is undeniably the local favourite and a standard staple when the Chinese New Year Festival is round the corner. The best ones bring out the sweetness of the pineapple flesh with the buttery base melting in your mouth.

Prawn Rolls

Do not underestimate these deep fried spring rolls. Wrapped underneath is the spicy hebi hiam paste, made from dried shrimps and ground sambal chilli. For those who are not used to the spicy chilli, be prepared to immediately jump out of your chairs to grab a glass of water. But once you get past the spicyness, you will come back for more.

Love Letters

A simple crisp made from baking sugar, eggs and coconut milk, it is often rolled up into cylindrical biscuits or folded into wedges. Although not actually a letter with words, they are just as much of a sweet delight to receive. But do take note that they crumble easily so be careful not to squash them if you are bringing them on board the plane with you.

Four Durians Desserts To Try If You Are Scared of The Actual One

With its green thorny appearance, the reputation of durians probably precedes most visitors’ actual experience with the King of Fruits. But underneath that tough shell, may be one of the best delicacies that you can find in Singapore. If you are still undecided and scared about actually trying the fruit, here are some desserts in different varieties of durians. They are milder in taste and smell, and you might find them more palatable. Don’t leave without trying.

Durian Cake

Durian cakes are also a local favourite when it comes to a durian dessert. Sandwiched in between layers of chiffon, the rich and creamy durian filling will either make you run for it or come back wanting more.

Where: Emicakes, 9 outlets around the Singapore island

Durian Puff & Strudel

Underneath the fresh sugary crust is (in)famous the durian puree. You might find it surprisingly good and this is your first step towards a durian addiction. You might also want to pack this home for others to try their hands at it.

Where: Ritz Apple Strudel, Found in various heartland malls’ basements.

Durian Ice-cream

Some versions mix actual durian flesh in the ice-cream of various varieties from the most prized durian, mao shan wang to the milder version like D24. If you don’t want to spend too much on this dessert, look out for the ubiquitious ice-cream carts scattered around in Singapore. You can get a small cup of sweet durian ice-cream for just $1.20 Singapore dollars.

Where: Ice-cream carts, found in most neighbourhoods and along the streets.

Durian Pancake

When you think you are more or less ready for the actual thing, try out the durian pancake which wraps chilled durian within its piping hot pancakes. The contrast makes for an interesting culinary experience and you get to try some durian that has a milder smell.

Where: Four Seasons Durians

5 Tacky Singapore Souvenirs That Locals Would Not Recommend

Cheap and everywhere,these gifts are often bought in bulk by tourists in Singapore. From tacky merlions to useless magnets, these ubiquitous items are often products of tourism marketing rather than something that truly symbolises the country it represents. We think there is a better way to spend your money but for starters, we compiled the worst 5 Singapore souvenirs that comes easily to our minds that you should avoid unless you really like them.

The Merlion Figurine

The first on our list is of course the useless Merlion figurine. Yes, i know it may be tempting to get them when you are only in Singapore for three days and you don’t know what else to get for your not-so-close uncle. But seriously, the Merlion does not even look cool. Buy it and your friends will start doubting your taste in things.

Fridge Magnets

Fridge Magnets

The classic thoughtless gift that speaks volume about what you think of them. If you are buying something to stick on the fridge, why not stick a photo of your travel on the fridge instead? I bet it will be more memorable.

I-love-SG Keychains

I love SG keychains

Unless you are buying for a Singaporean overseas, we can’t imagine how anyone else might be happy receiving it. In fact, overseas Singaporeans might be happier receiving some Singaporean snacks that they can eat rather than a keychain proclaiming their love for their country in a foreign land.

Merlion Chocolates

 Merlion Chocolates found in Chinatown
Merlion Chocolates found in Chinatown

They are so abundant that it’s hard to miss them. Shops after shops have different variants of these merlion chocolates. Till date, the $1 found in Chinatown Point is the cheapest. But sometimes I wonder if it’s not shaped in Merlion, would anyone buy it?

Sarong Kebaya

The sarong kebaya has been aggressively marketed together with the “Singapore Girl” and has spurn off various other products using its print. But buying a uniform, unless you have some uniform fettish is rather hard for locals to comprehend.

2 Recommended Books by locals about Singapore History

Whether it is history, memoirs, or fictional tales, books are a great way to find out about the culture of a place before your travels. The narratives will open your eyes to the everyday hidden layers of local culture and will definitely enrich your experience while in the country. We have compiled a list of reads that you can read while in flight or when you are just resting in a cafe after a long day.

If you think we have missed a great book that we should include, please let us know!

Singapore: A Biography

Contrary to popular belief, Singapore was not a quiet, unknown fishing village before it was “discovered” and transformed into the Singapore of today. Drawing upon available evidence, the authors began telling the story of how Singapore was like from the 1400s, and subsequently weaved together a personal nation narrative of the nation from the perspective of individuals of different races and backgrounds. From the personal accounts of various actors such as Elizabeth Choy who was tortured for her supporting local Chinese resistance in WWII to teenage indian girl soldiers and revoluntionaries, this book will unveil the hidden layers of the Singapore story beneath its glossy veneer. A vital read for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of the region.

From Third World to First

If Singapore is a startup, this is the remarkable inside story of her founder’s journey to building one of the most successful ones in the world. Found within the pages are the chronicles of events that has shaped Singapore and the thinking processes that had contributed to the economic successes of Singapore. At the end of it, you will go away with a deeper understanding of the man, of the struggles the new nation had in its early days and the astonishing transformation Singapore have had since her early days.