Hong Kong is home to an enviable range of bars and restaurants, from cheap eats to splash-out affairs, and everything in between. But while we're spoiled for choice, it can be difficult to branch out from your usual Friday night feasts and boozy brunches, so if you've got time on your hands, a quick plane ride to Singapore could prove just the cure for your restaurant rut. The city is a haven for foodies, with a huge array of creative cuisines on offer, from local bites bursting with flavours and “wok hey” (fire), to Michelin-star meals for under $15 at hawker centres, and refined 8-course tasting menus in the midst of Gardens by the Bay. To give you some inspiration, guest blogger lolleroll shares her favourite spots.
1. Depot Road Claypot Laksa – Local Hawker Centre
Local food is generally cooked really well in a lot of hawker centres, but this bowl of clay pot laksa (rice noodles in a seafood and chicken coconut curry broth) at Alexandra Village Food Centre seriously stands out. The strong flavourful broth is unparalleled, although be warned: it’s quite spicy.
Alexandra Village Food Centre, 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, Singapore
2. Por Kee Eating House – Local Food
When it comes to sit-down restaurants with good local food, I always recommend Por Kee Eating House. The friends I take here always end up taking other friends – think plastic-covered outdoor tables and plastic stools. It’s hardly a fancy fine-dining experience, and not all visitors are up for that, but if you do make it here, make sure you order the Thai-style steamed fish (superbly cooked, with a delicious citrusy soup) and champagne ribs. I’m also personally a huge fan of the cereal prawns – they're a little heavier with a sweet twist – and are devilishly good!
Por Kee Eating House, 69 Seng Poh Ln, #01-02, Singapore
3. Momma Kong’s – Local Chilli Crab
While the usual chilli crab recommendations (Jumbo, No Signboard, and Red House) are all good, I found the seafood at Momma Kong’s exceptionally fresh. In spite of being lathered in black pepper sauce, the fresh natural flavour of the crab is sweet and very prominent.
Momma Kong's, 34 Mosque Street, Singapore
4. Xiao Ya Tou – Local Fusion
When in Singapore, it’s inevitable to go a little hipster. Xiao Ya Tou is the perfect blend of local food and contemporary creativity. You can get a delicious plate of char kway teow, which is loaded with good quality ingredients. You can also get short ribs with sesame sauce or roast duck with black truffles. All of these satisfying and slightly creative dishes are served in a colourful, laid-back spot in town.
Xiao Ya Tou, 6 Duxton Hill, Singapore
5. Luka – Italian Fusion
There is a wide array of Western cuisine in Singapore and the quality of Italian food is definitely impressive. My personal favourite Italian restaurant has to be Luka. One interesting dish you have to order is the smoked egg wrapped with wagyu beef, topped with sea urchin, which is bursting with rich, intense flavours. You will see that there are a couple of dishes that have a Japanese fusion twist to them, but the classic burrata pizza is also recommended.
Luka,18 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore
6. Summerlong – Semi Alfresco Mediterranean
There is also a good offering of Mediterranean food in Singapore, with Artichoke being another one of my favourite restaurants. But I always go back to Summerlong – it’s where I discovered the surprising match of honey and burrata. The dishes here are simple, clean, and delicious. Most importantly, the restaurant is beautifully decorated and has a nice semi-alfresco atmosphere by Robertson Quay.
Summerlong, 60 Robertson Quay #01-04, Singapore
7. Birds of a Feather – Sichuan Fusion
It’s probably misleading to label this restaurant ‘Sichuan fusion’, but it’s difficult to encapsulate the type of food served at Birds of a Feather, given how innovative the dishes are. There is no sauce more exciting than the Spicy Oriental Bolognese, which incorporates a hint of peppercorn spice. The Hot and Sour Chazuke (an interesting fish, rice, and soup combo) is another personal favourite, but you definitely can’t go wrong with ordering the Truffle Orecchiette – it's the one dish we had to re-order.
Birds of a Feather, 115 Amoy Street #01-01, Singapore
8. Pollen – European Fine Dining in Gardens by the Bay
I’m always sceptical of fine dining restaurants within a tourist attraction, but Pollen is an exception – which makes it the perfect spot for a special occasion. Although the tasting menu here is quite pricey (at just under $900), the portions are substantial. It’s definitely one of my favourite special occasion spots in Singapore.
Pollen, Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-09, Singapore
9. Operation Dagger
It’s not difficult to see the largest drawback to Singapore's F&B scene – the alcohol prices. When a standard gin and tonic cocktail costs over $100 at a regular bar, then a $150 carefully crafted inventive cocktail from speakeasy, Operation Dagger, seems comparatively reasonable. If you've got a sweet tooth, then you have to order the Hot + Cold cocktail, which is topped with a smooth, white chocolate foam.
Operation Dagger, 7 Ann Siang Hill Hill #B1-01, Singapore
10. The Other Room
Another speakeasy which makes excellent cocktails, The Other Room, is hidden within the JW Marriott Hotel on Orchard Road. There’s an overwhelming choice of cocktails, but as long as you stay adventurous and open-minded, it’s hard to go wrong.
The Other Room, Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, 320 Orchard Road #01-05, Singapore
While speakeasies and cocktail bars are probably the trendy thing to do in Singapore, I never fail to be mesmerised by the beautiful decor at ATLAS. The large interior space, high ceilings, and grand, Gatsby-esque vibe of the bar are reason enough to check out this place. The cocktails are good too. There's a reason this place was voted number 4 in Asia's 50 Best Bars in 2018. The secret is out about ATLAS, so it's highly recommended to book in advance to avoid disappointment on the day.
ATLAS, Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Road, Singapore
Lantern may not be my favourite place for drinks – their cocktails are fairly run-of-the-mill but aren't as easy on the wallet. However, I do think their view of the iconic Marina Bay Sands is an uncontested winner, which makes this place a must-visit at least once.
Covering the hottest new eats, the best places to play, offbeat takes on local culture, and so much more, Localiiz is every Hongkonger’s destination for how to live a well-rounded life in our vibrant city. Why the strange spelling? Well, Localiiz is designed to be your ‘local eyes’—and for that, you need two i’s.