16 Februari 2022 | By: Changi Travel Journal
We are at the second year of pandemic and the urge to travel to Singapore is getting unbearable, at least for me. Singapore is one of my favorite travel destinations both to eat and shop, and the fact that it’s only an 1,5-hour flight from Jakarta is just how accessible Singapore is for Indonesians (or Jakartans like me).
It took me a while to write this blog post cause I went through my head and the moments of my past trips in Singapore, all the restaurants, cafes, and hawker centers that I visited as in this blog post I am going to recommend you some of my favorite Singapore eats, hoping it would help Singapore first-timers.
If you’re a first-timer to Singapore, I highly recommend going to the hawker centers, as it is a Singapore staple. Maxwell Food Centre, Chomp Chomp Hawker Centre, Old Airport Road Market just to name a few. If you’re feeling a bit bougee and willing to spend more, Singapore is also filled with a lot of great high-end fine dining restaurants, some of them even made it to the Michelin guide like Burnt Ends, Waku Ghin, and Odette.
Unexpected and expectedly, you can also find a lot of good dining options IN THEIR AIRPORT. Call me crazy, but one time I actually came to the airport just because I miss Jewel so much.
Without further ado, let’s dive into Singapore must-eats!
Chicken Rice might very well be one of Singapore’s most popular local food…and one of the best. I enjoy chicken rice and I have to grab some at each visit. It’s comfort food that’s easy to find, but amongst the choices my personal favorites are Tian Tian Chicken Rice (Maxwell Food Centre) or Boon Tong Kee (Baluster). BTK has more branches around the island while more patience is needed while queuing for Tian Tian on a daily basis.
Laksa is basically a bowl of noodle (often rice noodle) soup with creamy coconut milk curry-ish soup with protein pieces (egg, meat, tahu pok), cockles, vegetables and herbs. Not every “Laksa” is identical to one another, there are ones with thicker soup (usually coconut milk based), and some can be more watery. Some of my favorite stalls to grab laksa in Singapore are Katong Laksa and Sungei Road Laksa. Katong Laksa’s soup is slightly thicker while Sungei Road’s is nicely creamy, less thick and milder in taste.
My ideal Singapore breakfast is good kaya toast, runny soft boiled eggs and hot milk tea. If you’re not familiar with kaya, it’s actually sort of this coconut jam made from coconut milk, eggs, sugar and pandan pandas leaf for additional flavor and aroma. So where to get good kaya toast in Singapore? My top picks have got to be Chin Mee Chin as it’s very popular for their charcoal-toasted kaya buns and the very popular Yakun Kaya Toast.
BAK KUT TEH
The name “Bak Tuh Teh” means pork bone tea, however tea is not actually part of the recipe. It got its name long ago as people used to drink strong Chinese tea along with the pork soup to tone down the aftertaste, it’s also often eaten with rice, mustard greens, yu tiau and braised tofu. There are different types of Bak Kut Teh, one that’s more herbal and one that’s more peppery and if you ask me I fancy peppery Bak Kut Teh more, hence my favorite Bak Kut Teh in Singapore is Ng Ah Sio. It might be the best BKT I’ve had in my life. The soup is light, peppery but refreshing at the same time (and best thing about it you can refill the soup for as much as you want), the ribs are nicely tender too!
Chili Crab is probably one of Singapore’s most iconic culinary dishes, if not an icon. My Singaporean friends take good pride in their chili crab. If you’re not familiar with Singaporean style chili crab, despite the name it’s actually not a very spicy kind, flavor lies towards the sweet-spicy kind with egg included to make the texture thick and rich. It’s often shared (but of course you’re more than welcome to finish the whole portion for yourself), and best eaten with rice/mantou.
Based on my personal experience eating chili crab in Singapore, they always nail it with the quality of the crabs! The crabs used are often black mud crab that’s fresh, chunky, and meaty. Some of my favorite places to eat chili crab in Singapore are No Signboard Seafood and Long Beach Seafood.
Hokkien Mee is a popular fried noodle dish in Singapore, it has roots of China’s Fujian province (where Hokkien people are originally from). Hokkien Mee consists of yellow egg noodle & rice noodle combination, fried in wok together with egg, seafood (often squid and shrimp) and bean sprouts. Hokkien Mee is served with sambal and you might find different versions of Hokkien Mee in Singapore, one that’s dry with stronger woke aroma and one that’s slightly wet from gravy sauce.
BAK CHOR MEE
Bak Chor Mee, literally translated to minced pork noodle, is a true Singaporean dish that consists of egg noodles, minced pork, pork organs with sauce made from soy sauce, chili and vinegar. Bak Chor Mee is usually served dry with sauce glazed to coat the top part of the noodle. As an avid noodle fan, Bak Chor Mee is something I highly enjoy. It’s like this fun burst of flavor, you get the sour and tanginess from the vinegar and chili while the meat (pork) contributes to the savoriness.
CHAI TOW KWAY
My favorite comfort hawker eats! It’s commonly known as fried carrot cake. Of course it’s not the same as Western sweet carrot cake, this one actually doesn’t have any carrot inside, it’s made from flour & daikon radish and fried with lard, oil and eggs! There are two types of chai tow kway that you can find: the white and the black one, the difference is the usage of sweet soy sauce. It’s my kind of comfort food I can’t say no to: it’s addicting, greasy in the most delicious way and just a must try. My personal favorite is fried carrot cake in Singapore is actually the one at ION Food Opera.
WHAT TO EAT IN CHANGI?
I can’t finish this blog without actually telling you what to eat in Changi. I’m going to cut to the chase and say this: out of my countless visits to Singapore, I did not remember any bad airport food! You can go to the T3 food court and indulge in some good kway teow & carrot, or you can explore Jewel and browse more restaurants. I wish I could talk about each and every single one of the f&b tenants, but I’m going to recommend to you my personal TOP 5.
As an avid chili crab fan, I couldn’t think of a better place to eat chili crab than the legendary Jumbo seafood itself. The fact that Jewel successfully convinces Jumbo Seafood to open a branch means something. They have some branches in Singapore, including the one in Jewel Changi. Ate there with my family the last time, let’s just say my parents have no complaints, and I love how spacious and neat the restaurant is.
BEAUTY IN THE POT
Having “Beauty In The Pot” in Jewel is almost like an achievement HAHA. IT’S MY FAVORITE HOTPOT IN THE WORLD. You can’t go to Singapore and not have their hotpot, it’s almost mandatory. Be sure to order their shrimp paste with mentaiko, it’s too good to miss!
While their roast/peking duck is more popular, if you haven’t tried their Pipa Duck, you should! I don’t think we have the pipa duck in the Indonesia branch. What makes the Pipa duck different is their cooking method, the duck is usually split, flattened and cooked with 23-year aged orange peel. This cooking method will add that extra crunch to the skin.
BURGER AND LOBSTER
There are a few good burger spots in Jewel, but speaking from experience, “Burger and Lobster” is the one that captivates me the most. The burgers are delicious and the lobsters are among the best ones I’ve had in Singapore!
TONITO LATIN AMERICAN KITCHEN
I honestly didn’t come here with any expectations, I was with my friend Zee and he told me this is one of the best South American restaurants he’s been to and boy was he right! What to order here? Latino Seafood Rice (not exactly paella but more like crab rice cooked in white wine), Pork Taco, Ceviche Tonito and Tres Leches. Trust me when I say their Tres Leches is GOOD. Never the biggest fan of Tres Leches and this one managed to convert me!
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