Introduction

Singapore is a little island city-state on the bottom tip of the Malay peninsula in Southeast Asia.

Due to its strategic location, it has had numerous cultural influences, not only leading it to become one of the most powerful and important sea ports in the world, but also the melting pot of cultures has made it a diverse international city, abounding with delicious food.

My wife and I decided to spend almost two full weeks in Singapore, exploring the city, enjoying the lush gardens, but mostly just eating our way around the island.

When you’re in Singapore, get yourself ready to eat lots of Chinese, Indian, and Malay food.

Food is one of the biggest pillars of Singaporean culture, and one of the most awesome things about visiting, is that you’ll be surrounded by an entire city of other food lovers!

You might be interested in: Singapore Food Guide: 25 Must-Eat Dishes

where to stay in Singapore
Hotels in Singapore

Where to stay in Singapore?

One of the toughest things about traveling is figuring out where to stay.

And when you’re in Singapore, just like other major cities in the world, there are many different areas or the city that you can stay in.

Overall, in my opinion, probably the best areas of the city to stay in when you’re visiting are the Chinatown or Little India area, or Downtown / Outram or finally Orchard or Bugis. But no matter where you stay in Singapore, the public transportation system is very good, so you can pretty easily and quickly get to any part of the city.

Here are the hotels I stayed at:

  • Carlton City Hotel (About $200 USD per night for a double room) – During a previous business trip to Singapore, my wife and I stayed at the modern and luxurious Carlton City Hotel. It’s a very nice high end hotel located a great central location of downtown, about a 10 minute walk from Chinatown. This hotel would be great as a business hotel, or if you’re looking for somewhere to have a modern luxury holiday.
  • Ibis Singapore Bencoolen (About $85 USD per night for a standard double room) – Accommodation in Singapore can be really expensive, but my wife and I got a pretty good deal at Ibis Bencoolen. It’s a mid-range hotel, the rooms are on the small side, but they are modern and have everything we needed. Also, this hotel is located near Bugis, which is a great shopping district and good central location.

*Affiliate links – If you choose to make a booking using a link above, at NO expense to you, I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Travel Packing List

Here are some of the essential things I carried with me on my trip to Singapore:


You can also see all my camera gear here, and my complete travel packing list.

Singapore food guide
Restaurants and Food in Singapore

Singapore Restaurants and Street Food

There’s an insane amount of delicious food to eat in Singapore, and I think food is one of the best reasons to visit the city.

Singapore is such an incredibly diverse country (and city) with so many ethnicities and countries represented, each with their own distinct flavors and restaurants.

The most well represented food groups in Singapore are Chinese, Indian, and local Malay, but there are also some incredibly good restaurants that serve Western food and food from around the globe. It’s truly an international food city.

What I’ve noticed about the food in Singapore, similar to Malaysia, is that the ethnic populations in the city are so big and so well represented that there’s a lot of food, such as Chinese or Indian, that has remained very authentic. But at the same time there are some dishes and some variations of ethnic dishes that have been transformed into unique Singaporean dishes.

Singaporean food
BBQ sambal stingray – one of my favorite Singaporean dishes

My Favorite Singaporean Dishes:

If you love food, you’ll definitely want to check out the full Singapore food guide, but I here I just wanted to share some of my personal favorite Singaporean dishes.

  1. Fish head curry – This is the dish I would like to eat as soon as I arrive in Singapore, and that’s exactly what I did when I arrived. There are a number of different types of Singapore fish head curry, but I really love the Indian version – a giant snapper head swimming in an abundantly flavorful spice filled curry. You typically get a big bowl of fish head curry, and then eat it with rice and a variety of other curries off of a banana leaf plate.
  2. BBQ sambal stingray – Another one of my ultimate food favorite foods in Singapore is stingray, which is claimed to be a unique Singapore dish. The fillets of stingray are typically seasoned with a nice thick layer of sambal chili sauce (which often includes chilies, garlic, tamarind, and other ingredients), and then it’s grilled in a banana leaf package. The banana leaves ensure the stingray is both steamed and grilled at the same time, so it remains juicy, yet still with a light grilled banana leaf aroma. Don’t miss sambal stingray in Singapore.
  3. Nasi Padang or Nasi Malayu – Although originally from Padang on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, being so close to Singapore, Padang food is also very popular. And due to the incredible mix of flavors and curry pastes, Nasi Padang happens to not only be one of my favorite meals to eat in Singapore, but also possibly one of my favorite meals in the world. At most Nasi Padang restaurant you’ll find a bedazzling display of different curries meats and vegetables, including rendang, a curry of meat in a spice filled dry coconut blend.
  4. Zi Char – Zi char is a term in Singapore that refers to cooked food made to order – and it typically refers to any kind of Chinese style stir fried or deep fried dishes. Being half Chinese, I’m a huge lover of Chinese food, so I always enjoy a good zi char meal in Singapore. What I like is that you can typically order off a huge menu and get the exact dish you want, and it’s always served piping hot, right out of the wok or oil, and tastes incredible with rice.
  5. Fish head steamboat – Also known as a fire pot, a steamboat is a circular pan that’s stuffed on the inside with hot charcoal and filled with hot soup in the trough. The soup often comes with fish and a mix of vegetables, though there are some other variations. It’s similar to an old Chinese style hot pot, and part of the fun of eating a steamboat is not just for the food, but for the laid back old style environment, and the steaming hot soup with every bite.
  6. Murtabak – Another favorite food of mine in Singapore is murtabak – a giant thin piece of dough that is filled with a combination of minced meat, onions, and egg, then fried in lots of oil until crispy, and served with curry sauce on the side. Although murtabak (or martabak) is originally an Arab food, in Singapore it’s become more of an Indian local food, and the taste of the strong spices wrapped in crispy dough makes it irresistible.
best hawker centrers in Singapore
Hawker food court in Singapore

Hawker Centers:

One of the most popular styles of dining in Singapore are food courts, known better as hawker centers, where you’ll find dozens of stalls serving budget, and often some of the tastiest food in the city.

Here are a few of the best hawker centers in Singapore that I enjoyed:

  • Chinatown Complex Food Centre – This is one of the biggest and busiest hawker centers in Singapore, mainly serving all things Chinese food. There’s a very popular place to eat claypot rice at the market.
  • Hong Lim Market Food Centre – This one is another packed out Singapore Chinatown food court with so many food options it will blow your mind.
  • Old Airport Road Hawker CentreDr. Leslie Tay conducted a survey for the best hawker centers in Singapore, and Old Airport Road won. It was one of the first in Singapore, it’s big and spacious, and home to some legendary vendors.
  • Tiong Bahru Food Centre – Although one of the oldest Singapore markets and area, this food centre has been newly renovated. It almost has a mall food court appearance, but it’s still open air, very spacious, nice and clean, and plenty of delicious food choices.
  • Geylang Serai Food Centre – For all food Indonesian and Malay, Geylang Serai is one of the best food destinations to visit in Singapore. You’ll find some amazing Nasi Padang stalls in the food court. If you’re like me and love the spices and chilies of Indonesian food, you’ll like this place.
  • Chomp Chomp Food Centre – Although this hawker centre is located a little ways outside of central Singapore, it’s well worth the effort to get here. It’s famous for grilled seafood, and it’s one of the best places to get some bbq sambal stingray. I really liked the food centre because it’s small and friendly with a high concentration of delicious food.

Latest Singapore food blogs:

Here are some of the best places I tried and that I’ve written about. Food is definitely one of the best reasons to visit Singapore.

Click here to see all Singapore restaurants.

Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the Bay

Things to do in Singapore

When I was in Singapore, my main goal was to eat, and that’s really what I spent almost all of my time doing. So I just want to clarify that this is not an extensive nor exclusive list of things to do in Singapore, but just a few things that I did while I was there.

  • Gardens By The Bay – This beautifully designed nature parks has become one of the most famous icons of Singapore, and it’s a fantastic place to walk around and enjoy the lush greenery of Singapore. The Supertree Grove, giant metal wire tree structure decorated with vines and potted plants, is incredible. Great place for kids in Singapore, and a free attraction as well.
  • Marina Bay Sands SkyPark – Probably the most spectacular hotel in Singapore is Marina Bay Sands, shaped like a boat at the top. If you’re not staying at the hotel, you can pay an entrance fee to go to the top for a full 360 view of Singapore – it’s an impressive view of the Singapore harbor and skyline.
  • Singapore Botanic Gardens – I didn’t really have plans to go to Singapore Botanic Gardens, but after finishing a meal, it happened to be right across the street. The gardens, as with all gardens in Singapore are lush and well taken care of, quite beautiful and well worth a walk around.
  • Chinatown and Little India – What I really love about Singapore is the diversity of the city and how you can be in Chinatown one hour and in Little India the next. Both areas of Singapore are well worth exploring, and you’ll find lots of food, shopping, entertainment, and interesting cultural things in both areas.
Singapore view
Skyline of Singapore

How to get around?

In relative terms, Singapore is quite a small city, and overall it’s very easy and hassle free to get from place to place using public transportation.

As soon as you arrive at Changi International Airport (that is if you’re flying into Singapore), you can take the MRT directly into the center of the city. At the Airport MRT station you can buy an EZ-Link card, which you can re-fill with money, and it makes transportation much easier.

  • MRT – I took the MRT just about everywhere I went hunting for food in Singapore. The MRT is efficient and works well. The only thing is that stations are sometimes quite far apart, so you may have to walk for 10 – 20 minutes from a station to get to where you want to go.
  • Bus – The public bus system is also really good and it’s pretty easy to figure out some routes.

For both MRT and bus you can use your EZ-Link card, and you can add money to it at any MRT station. Public transportation in Singapore is quite affordable.

Singapore durian
An expensive, but crazy good durian!

Prices and Expenses

In comparison to other Southeast Asian major cities, Singapore is a very expensive city especially when it comes to accommodation, attractions, convenience items, and indoor restaurants. However, at the same time, Singapore can be affordable if you take public transportation, eat at local food courts (hawker centers), and take advantage of all the free things Singapore has to do as well.

Here’s a quick sample cost of how much you’re likely to spend in Singapore:

Accommodation:

  • Hostel – $20 – $30 USD per bed
  • Mid-range hotel – $50 – $100 USD per night
  • High end – Everything above $100 USD per night

Transportation:

  • MRT Ride – $1.50 – $3 SGD depending on distance
  • Bus ride – $1 – $3 SGD depending on ride
  • Taxi – $10 – $20 for a typical mid-short ride

Food: 

  • Hawker center – $3 – $5 SGD per plate
  • Local restaurant – $10 – $20 SGD per dish
  • Indoor restaurant – $15 – $50 SGD per person or much more
  • Drink at a bar – $10 – $20 SGD
  • Coffee at coffeeshop – $4 – $10 SGD
  • Big bottle of water – $3 SGD

 Overall budget:

  • Budget – $35 – $50 SGD per person per day
  • Mid-range – $50 – $100 per person per day
  • High end – $100 – $300 per person per day

Overall, my wife and I spent an average of $120 SGD per day (for 2 people) while we were in Singapore. We stayed in mid-range hotels, ate mostly hawker food and at local restaurants, and avoided drinks and bars and expensive attractions.

*SGD = Singapore Dollars, at the time of writing this 1 SGD = $0.71 USD

Singapore Food Videos:

Here’s a playlist of some of the best restaurants and foods I tried in Singapore:

(You can also watch the videos on YouTube here)

Singapore travel guide
Food is one of the best reasons to visit Singapore!

Conclusion

Singapore is an amazingly beautiful and well organized city, that offers so much to see and especially so much to eat.

It’s a city where you can be eating Indian like biryani or curry and roti food for breakfast, enjoy a meal of Malay rice and curry for lunch, and have an authentic Chinese seafood feast for dinner.

I hope you have an amazing trip to Singapore and that this city food guide gives you some direction for your visit. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you enjoy the delicious food!

Do you have any other tips for visiting Singapore? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.



22 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Anil Bhaskaran

    2 weeks ago

    Hi Mark….Its really a wonferful and vast information about Singapore. I loved it. I look forward to hear from you more about forthcoming visits.

  • Eat Drink Stay Dubai

    2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing this Mark – big fan of Singapore, although never really had chance to explore as much as would have liked.
    Love your reviews and details of the different dishes, and restaurants, all with great pics to accompany the words. Also nice to have a more rounded review offering advice to get around, stay and locations/areas.
    Keep up the great work!

  • DPM

    4 months ago

    Hi Mark, I am a big fan of your travel videos. I plan to visit Singapore in September this year, and I am looking forward to cover most of the food you suggest. Need one advice – what’s preferred in the hawker there? cash or card? Thanks for your help, and keep on recording outstanding videos.

    • GT

      3 months ago

      Hi DPM, most hawker centres are cash only places so cash is king. As Mark has mentioned, you won’t spend more than 3 to 5SGD for a plate of food there with drinks at about 1 to 2SGD. Aim to carry at least 30SGD per person each day if you’re on a budget. For mid range to high end food, card transactions are usually available.

    • Abhishek Kalyankar

      3 months ago

      cash. Hawkers do not have a card machine.

  • Lili

    4 months ago

    Hi Mark, I love watching your videos! Keep vlogging! I’m visiting Singapore next week and i I will be staying in Sentosa. Any suggestions for a quick food safari and things to do around the area? Thanks Mark. My regrads to Ying as well 😃

  • Jeremy Mathew

    4 months ago

    I have a 14 hour layover in Singapore on the 30th of May. What should I do over there. Do you recommend visiting some attractions or should I make sure to go get amazing food at a Hawker center?

  • Daisy Guevarra

    4 months ago

    I really love all you blog video about food. I am also food adventure . Noe i have idea where to go if ever i go other country. God bless ….

  • Oommen Thomas

    4 months ago

    I liked your videos of your trip to Bhutan. Wish you all the best. My favorite destination is Varkala Beach in Kerala India where there are nice restaurants .

  • Chris

    5 months ago

    Nice video, but I dont think i,m ever going to be eating a fish eyeball ! I live in Chatham, Ontario, Canada.

  • Sally Anne Howard

    5 months ago

    My mouth is literally watering at some of those pictures. Singapore has been on my bucketlist for a while now. Hopefully we can head there if we go back and do a huge backpacking trip around Asia soon. I like the sound of the Hawker Markets, we have just done a tonne of travel around South America and I genuinely though the street food was the best food, so I would deffo be heading there. I love the look of the Marina Bay Sands Park, I saw it on a documentary during the week and there were birds and everything there, it really looked like it brightened up the city. It’s nice to know we can incorporate Singapore on somewhat of a budget, I feel like while I am there though I would feel the need to splurge on a night at the Marina Bay Sands, that building is impressive (I just wanna go in the pool haha), whoops.

  • Tim

    8 months ago

    Singapore has the best food in Asia. This, I can vouch for it. The most important thing is that Singapore’s Street Food are the cleanest in the world. 🙂 You can be rest-assured that you will not get food poisoning on the island.

  • Lily

    10 months ago

    Cool! You may read for additional reference before going to Singapore misterpratama.wordpress.com

  • Nui Acain

    1 year ago

    Hi Mark, thank you so much for showing another ridiculous excellent video. I love chicken Marsala and Nan. Keep up the good work.

  • Billy

    1 year ago

    Hawker stalls in Singapore. Absolute heaven. Char kway teow was my #1 dish in both Singapore and Malaysia. No one is overstating it when they say Singapore is an amazing food destination. Actually, I went to China in November. Ever since, I’ve been saying: If you want really good Chinese food…go to Singapore!

  • Darshan Kapadia

    1 year ago

    Hey Mark, I am going to visit Singapore in November 2016. After reading your blog regarding Singapore, I am too much excited about places to visit in Singapore and food. I watched almost all your YouTube videos and I love them all. Thanks Mark for sharing you experience with us.
    Have a nice time…

  • Billy

    1 year ago

    I went to Singapore in ’12 and China in ’15. My takeaway from China regarding food was the following: If you want really good Chinese food, go to Singapore!

  • Khrysandri

    1 year ago

    Hi Mark! i really love your youtube channel and your website also, it’s really helpful. but i wanna ask you a question, do you have another recommendation of hotel to stay? because those hotels that you recommend are still pretty expensive for me (i’m not working yet and still in college lol). thank you, Mark. can’t wait for your others story

  • rh bora

    1 year ago

    your post is great as it matches mine when we visited .ya hotels are expensive and food is really good and at a reasonable price we can enjoy the variety. i tried the indian jackfruit pattern fruit and its yum..bay of garden is superb basically the night ..bugis is great for shopping.i must mention universal studio ..over all its worth seeing..but night safari is not good

    • Mark Wiens

      1 year ago

      Hey RH, thank you for reading this Singapore guide and glad we had some similar experiences visiting. Thanks also for your extra input!