Unstoppable appetites in our 48 hour stay on the Little Red Dot

Isn’t it amazing that there’s such a place on earth that’s only about 270 square miles in size (yes, this includes all the reclaimed land), can’t really grow much of anything because the whole island is a rock, is home to about 5 million people and has more than 3,000 restaurants? That’s approximately 11 restaurants per square mile!

A mighty and flavorful little city

With so many places offering so much food, it’s the perfect destination for non-stop eating, drinking, savoring, sampling and tasting. Plus, every type of palate and wallet will find a suitable place: from the lavishly expensive at over $400++ for dinner for one (plus, plus, of course is for all the extra taxes on top of the restaurant price) according to a local blogger, to the deliciously cheap at just a buck fifty for one of the most famous local delicacies.

Ever since Drea first visited this foreign land back in 2005, it has always remained the best hub in the world for food and every time we visit, it never disappoints. Singapore offers just about every type of food and is the foodie’s Shangri-La. Which is exactly why, if we can help it, we always try to make Singapore one of our long connections or short-term destinations when traveling throughout Asia.

So, what’s the big deal with food in Singapore? Well, let us count the [eight] ways:

  1. Thirsty much? Singapore has an amazing selection of tropical fruits so you can grab any type of exotic fruit juice no matter where you are: soursop, lime, mango or kumquat are extremely refreshing. Tea and coffee are great alternatives if you crave a little energy: grab yourself a kopi-o (black coffee), kopi-c (coffee with milk, “c” was originally for Carnation milk in a can) or Eliot’s favorite, tea tarik (pulled tea). On a budget? pop into any 7-eleven and grab an iced milo or an unsweetened green tea.
    Tea Tarik with mushroom and cheese roti paratha and fish curry sauce: Breakfast!
  2. Love fruit? So do we. In Singapore you can find the most amazing selection of tropical fruits including: the local favorite durian, which we still find repulsive and don’t even recommend you try unless you’re feeling very, very adventurous, the queen of all fruit, mangosteen, juicy rambutans, lychees and longan (or lamyai), jackfruit (tastes like Starbursts!), jambu which looks like an apple but tastes more like a pear, green guava with powdered plum or the magenta dragon fruit among dozens and dozens of others.
  3. Breakfast time? Grab yourself a roti paratha stuffed with cheese, potatoes, mushrooms or bananas and dip it in your pick of chicken or fish curry sauce. Or go local and grab a kaya toast set. Kaya is a coconut based jam and you can eat it on seriously buttered toast and dip it in soft boiled eggs with a drop or two of dark soy sauce.
    Kaya toast with chunks of butter
  4. On a budget? Two words: chicken rice. For less than $5 dollars, you can snack, lunch or dine on a plate of chicken rice: it’s just roasted chicken on top of rice cooked in chicken broth. This national dish is sold at nearly every food court and its simplicity (similar to Italian food!) is what makes it so damn irresistible. Make sure you get it with the special spicy sauce!
    Chicken Rice! Don’t forget the sauce!
  5. Ready to have your mind blown? Grab yourself a pepper crab! Pepper crab is another national dish: whole crabs are served smothered in an insanely peppery, dark thick sauce that infiltrates every little crevice of the claws, legs and body making the crab meat insanely juicy and flavorful.
    Peppery pepper crab
  6. Ready to have your mind blown again? Three words: Xiao Long Bao (XLB)! Although not a national dish, we were just ecstatic that Singapore hosts Taiwan’s famous Din Tai Fung at several locations. For those of you poor souls who have never gone through the XLB experience, make it one of your life’s priorities. These dumplings are delicately stuffed with pork and soup. Yes, soup, so that once you bite into them, you experience an explosion of flavor and delight. XLB isn’t unique to Singapore by any means but we just really wanted to write about it!
    The XLB experience
  7. In the mood for soup? Grab a Laksa! This one is definitely Singaporean (and Malay) and it consists of a thick coconut broth typically served with shrimp, sliced fish cakes, boiled eggs, thick rice noodles and fresh sprouts. This is a heavy one so it’s fun to share if you want to keep on eating.
  8. Want to grab a light snack? Try popiah! This insanely crunchy but non-greasy spring roll is stuffed with fresh veggies, shrimp and dipped in peanut sauce. For a meatier snack, grab some satay. These meat skewers are originally Indonesian but are found everywhere. Enjoy with rice cakes, cucumbers, onions and dip it in spiced peanut sauce. For a more traditional Chinese snack, grab a simple rice bun stuffed with braised, tender juicy pork belly and a lettuce leaf (gotta make it healthy somehow!).
    Pork belly bun

Believe it or not, we ate every single thing on our list above (and then some more!) during our 48 hour visit to Singapore. Next time you look at a world map, just remember that there is indeed a small country underneath that red dot capital marker where multitudes of lucky visitors and residents experience some of the best variety of quality food the world has to offer.

Co-posted on www.dreacastillo.com
And then some….
So lucky our visit coincided with Singapore’s food festival!

Kwai Tiao – delicious noodles w/oysters

Feasting at Din Tai Fung in addition to our 30 XLB order!

Did we mention Singaporeans are really friendly?

Boiled, soft peanuts

Fancy chicken rice with crispy tofu and braised greens