Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Friday, 15 February 2013

A guide to Singapore

Ni Hao from Singapore (or hello given that the national language is English or namaste given that 9 percent of the population are Indians). Singapore's a great opportunity to brush up on your mandarin (me for example) but inhabitants will pick up on your foreign nature near immediately if you aren't so good (also me for example).

Singapore is a bustling island country that boasts a great nightlife as well as being well known for its culinary focus and being a shopaholics paradise. This guide being my first (of hopefully many), I hope it will give you a brief but decent introductory guide to Singapore as well as having a secondary effect of jerking my memory in the rare event that I forget.


The weather will swings between a 25 and a 35 degree celcius temperature during winter AND summer so pack shorts and soft light fabrics. An umbrella will serve you well as Singapore often experiences temperamental heavy rains for a short brief moment (most of the time no more than an hour).


Taxi shortage are an huge acknowledged problem in Singapore and it doesn't appear like it will change. You can't just hail up a taxi anywhere, there are specific hot spots where taxis visit (indicated by a sign). The taxi system is based on You can also take the MRT (their railway system) which might often provide a quicker journey than waiting for the taxis.  


Saying Singapore is a food-centric area is an understatement. You can't help but look forward morning, noon, night every single day as you try and figure out what you'll have next. You'll be in a tricky situation every time, but it's a situation you'll want to be in. Given Singapore is a largely multicultural country with a slight leaning towards the Asian countries, you'll have no trouble finding any sort of cuisine. 

For cheap eats, you can't go past the Kopitiam food courts (which are specialty food court branches in Singapore) which houses a variety of the aforementioned cuisines (with a focus on Indian, Chinese and Malaysian). 

You can get chicken rice with all the accompaniments (deliciously moist fatty chicken, ginger sauce and chilli sauce, chicken broth, steamed vegetables) for S$4.50 (roughly AUD$3.15 SAY WHAAAAT). 

Breakfast is also where it excels, with a cracking cup of kopi teh (coffee), a couple of expertly done soft boiled gooey eggs and toast to bring you out of your slumber. 

If that doesn't appeal to you maybe the large selection of cheap dim sim will cure what ails ya. The dim sim (Trader's Market, Clarke Quay, Singapore) is made fresh every morning.

And a bit of Japanese ramen to finish of your feast.

You'll have the same amount of success in the other food courts littered around the city even in Singapore's more corporate luxury brand shopping malls (Paragon, Ion Orchard) which won't cost you more than S$20 (AUD$14). 

The Indian food I had (Indian Express at Ion Orchard Food Opera) was packing loads of flavour.

Their naan breads were made the traditional way using a tandoor (cylindrical clay oven) although it seems a chronic problem that meats are always dry and very overcooked.

Maxwell Food Centre

Maxwell food centre is the ideal place if you're after exclusively Chinese food in Singapore. Beef noodles, chicken rice, roast duck, fish ball noodles, they've got it all there. 

And it's one of the cheapest collection of eateries you'll ever find. Not even fast food chains can hold a candle to it. Seats can be a bit difficult to find, so get one person to mind your seats while the others hunt around for delicious goodies.

I fear oyster omelettes like the plague. I haven't had too many fond experiences of oyster omelettes but we didn't end up with an actual stomach ache which is always a plus. Singapore is incredibly hygienic and so there's nothing to fear.

Something more on my palette is chicken rice. Hut diggity, follow the crowds because the Singaporean locals know best and head for Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. As you anxiously await your chicken and rice while in line, you can see the huge vats chicken stock and chicken being expertly carved away with pin-point efficiency.

Arrive back at your table and you know you've made the right choice. You can eat the meaty, garlicy fragrant rice by itself if it wasn't for the chicken being so good. Juicy slabs of pale white chicken hide true chicken flavour and texture, simply dressed with a bit of soy and garnished with coriander. 

We cooled it all off with some sweets in the end, made with seasonal fruits, jelly and shaved ice.

A big pointer to a not so well known cake store called St. Kerry located inside the Maxwell centre that serves the most lightest fluffiest cheesecakes imaginable. 

Better anchor these down quickly lest they float upwards.

Lau Pa Sat

Lau Pa Sat is a well known bustling hawker centre in Singapore. It's large, boasts multiple cuisines and it'll have you fighting vigorously for seats. It's the real authentic Singaporean experience, out in the hot humid heat, eating away with your hands with a cold drink on your side. Prices are a tad bit more expensive, but frankly everything seems steep after visiting Maxwell. Nevertheless the food is absolutely delicious.

A key attraction here is satay marinated meats on skewers. It's a nutty, meaty, smoky delight that is seriously addictive and you can't possibly stop at one. Which is why we ordered 60.

Singapore Chilli Crab

Besides chicken rice, where you'll find pretty much anywhere, Singapore Chilli Crab is the most famous dish you'll find in Singapore. Finding a bargain is always difficult and instead you're best to just forget about it (unless the prices are really borderline ridiculous e.g. $55 kilo and upwards). For a very consistently smashing crab, try Jumbo's (review can be found here).  

Fine Dining

With food like this, you don't really need to go beyond these places save maybe the occasional fine diner or so but even then, that's not entirely necessary to experience what Singapore can offer in terms of food. If fine diners are your thing, you can go to Iggy's or our very own Tetsuya's restaurant Waku Ghin (both of which I'm still planning to go to) and Jaan (you can find the review here)


If there is a place you MUST visit in Singapore, it has to be Gardens by the Bay on Marina South. They're a newly opened beautiful group of gardens that boast a man-made waterfall wrapped in flowers, a Mediterranean garden and a collection of supertrees. For a more extensive coverage of this area, you can find the post here.

Singapore honestly should be better known for its dynamic architectural marvels, the main attraction being Marina Bay Sands. As my brother put it: "It's a boat on 3 buildings, fancy". The spectacle really is swimming in the pool on the very highest level with seemingly nothing separating you and falling out. Spending a night in there costs a fair bit but if you've got the money, it's not every day you find yourself in Singapore, right?

There's the temples which are always magnificent.

Singapore looks like it's ready to host a party at any given moment. Bright lights, flashy inflatables; there's always something interesting to look at.

The Merlion proves to be a significant attraction, often seen to be representing Singapore's origins as a fishing city and the name Singapore having its meaning coming from lion.

And then there's the Singapore flyer, situated between the CBD district and the ocean. It's a 165 metre ferris wheel making it the tallest ferris wheel in the world. Tickets aren't cheap (S$ 33 for an adult or AUD$26) but you'll definitely get your return in the stunning views.

And of course, you can't not go to Singapore and not shop a little. They really take their shopping seriously here. It's their unofficial national hobby. Orchard Road is Singapore's answer to New York's Time Square, London's Oxford Street and our very own George St. Named by CNN as the worlds best shopping strip, this is one place you might not want to miss. It's shopping mall after mall after mall, all of them rising high above the ground and will provide endless hours of exercise and an endless amount of consumer products. Many a bargain won't be found here but if it's anything designer you're after, you won't find a better place.

So that's it from me. That's my recount in a nutshell. There's so much more to discover for yourself though, this post really can't contain them all. It's a brilliant country that will appeal to any sort of interest, from technology, buildings, scenery, night life, food you name it. Singapore has been a thrilling 5 days and I'll definitely be back (The crab is still calling my name).

Disclaimer: This is a tourists guide by a tourist. I by no means claim to be an expert guide and these are entirely opinions during my stay in Singapore between 16th January 2013 to 20th January 2013.


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No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.

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