South East Asia is known for delicious and diverse cuisine that has become popular the world over. For many people, this is reason enough to visit this incredible part of the world, and if this applies to you, it’s likely that you might be struggling to decide just which areas to visit. The answer to this dilemma could well be Singapore. With influences from China, India, Malaysia, and Europe, many argue that food in Singapore offers the best of a number of cultures. Discover incredible places to eat and things to try, on a cruise in Singapore.
Even if you haven't heard of much traditional Singaporean food and drink, we'd be willing to bet that you do know about their signature cocktail: The Singapore Sling. Thought to have been created by a bartender in 1915, in Singapore this drink is synonymous with Raffles Hotel - a stunning colonial hotel which is home to the Long Bar, where said bartender rustled up this delicious concoction. The main ingredients of this refreshing cocktail are gin, pineapple juice, and grenadine.
This classic is said to have been brought to Singapore by the Peranakan people – those who immigrated to the Malay region from China, between the 1600s and 1800s. As such it has become well integrated into the cuisine of Singapore, and today remains a firm favourite among both locals and tourists. Essentially laksa is a noodle soup (or broth), made with spices, coconut milk, and usually chicken or fish.
Maxwell Food Centre
Singapore is known among food lovers for its hawker (street food) stalls. These offer affordable and yet delicious meals and great variety. Hawker stalls can be found here, there, and everywhere, but you will also come across centres which are known for this type of cuisine, such as Maxwell Food Centre. Here there are over 100 stalls selling all kinds of Singaporean favourites, and indeed some more modern and even international dishes.
Having originated with the Hakka Han, or Han, people of China, abacus seeds are sometimes referred to as Hakka abacus seeds. They are similar to gnocchi, but instead of potato they are made with yams. They are a tasty and fairly versatile creation that can be found in various dishes with noodles, prawns, chicken, and vegetables. They are said to represent wealth, and so are often found in meals at celebrations such as New Year.
Kuehs are traditional, bite-sized snacks that can be sweet or savoury. These too are especially popular among the Peranakan people, and can most commonly be found in supermarkets and coffee shops. They also frequently make an appearance at food festivals. Look out for favourites such as sweet steamed sponge, meat dumplings, and mini crepes made with sugar, coconut, and pandan leaves and juice.
Michelin Star Hawker Stall
Like many of the world’s big cities, Singapore is home to a number of Michelin-star rated restaurants. But what makes this location slightly more unusual, is that it boasts Michelin-star holding street food stalls! Both Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, and Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle have been awarded this prestigious status, making Singapore one of the only places on earth where you can get a Michelin-star meal for about £3.
Singapore’s pau are known elsewhere in Asia as ‘bau’, ‘baozi’, and ‘mantou’, or to English-speakers, ‘steamed buns’. They are often stuffed with barbecue pork, however in Singapore potato, chicken, or beef curry are also popular fillings. These can be found at stalls or in restaurants, and are a really tasty option for lunch, or a snack to see you through until your evening meal.
Today, food is a highly regarded and significant part of Singaporean culture, and is something that the locals take great pride in – and rightly so. Foodies will not be disappointed with what they find here, and will hugely enjoy the countrywide celebration of cuisine. For an extra-special treat, consider a Singapore cruise in July, and see what’s in store at the annual Singapore Food Festival.
Find out more about things to do in Singapore.