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Where to eat in Singapore |

Food and Leisure

Where to eat in Singapore

IN BETWEEN DEADLINES - Cheryl Tiu - The Philippine Star
Where to eat in Singapore
Chili Crab Ramen: An Ippudo x No Signboard Seafood collaboration during the Singapore Food Festival. Available at Ippudo Mandarin Gallery and Marina Bay Sands.
Photos by Cheryl Tiu

The annual Singapore Food Festival is taking place from July 12 to 28. Here are our recommended places to eat and drink from our most recent visit to the Lion City.

SINGAPORE — From July 12 to 28, the 26th edition of the popular Singapore Food Festival (SFF), the country’s official event dedicated to local cuisine, will be taking place all over the city.

Their marquee event, STREAT (July 12 and 13 at The Promontory @ Marina Bay) will showcase 12 F&B concepts of traditional hawker fare and modern interpretations of Singaporean street food.

Veg This City, Singapore’s first plant-based food tour company run by Eiktha Khemlani, will be having three food crawls during SFF. Enjoy dishes like char siew, banana flower vadai and tofu buah keluak!

A fascinating vegan food crawl by Veg in the City ( will take diners to Chinatown, Geylang Serai and Little India. Have you ever had jackfruit char siew, banana flower vadai and tofu buah keluak? This is the perfect time! PS. They are delicious!

Exciting limited-edition collaborations also abound: Chili Crab Ramen by Ippudo and No Signboard (available at the former’s Mandarin Gallery and Marina Bay Sands locations); Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Kopi O x Pocky pretzel sets (available at STREAT and all Ya Kun outlets); a buah keluak burger by Malcolm Lee of Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant Candlenut and Park Bench Deli (at the latter’s location).

Frantzen’s signature French toast with black truffles, which is also served at Zen

In their quest to preserve the heritage of the Peranakan delicacy kueh, Jeremy Nguee and Claire Ariela Shen will be hosting a Kueh Kueh Symposium at Straits Clan on the 13th, where kueh-makers will demonstrate their craft and share their techniques. (

For more information on SFF, visit

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New restaurants and bars to visit

No meat or dairy here! Guests can enjoy tofu buah keluak at Veg This City’s food crawl.

I was recently in the Lion City to attend the 2019 World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony. While there, I had a list of new restaurants and bars to visit, as well as a couple of popular mainstays that I’d not been able to visit yet. Here are my favorites:

Thevar serves flavor-packed Indian tapas helmed by Penang-born Indian chef Mano Thevar (who worked previously at Guy Savoy, Waku Ghin and Meatsmith). Crispy pork with sambal aioli wrapped in betel leaf, Chettinand chicken roti, and Goan-spiced Hamachi ceviche with coconut sothi are just some of his delicious plates. Thevar is part of chef Sun Kim’s Meta Group (along with Michelin-starred Meta and Kimme) and has taken over the former’s space on Keong Saik Road. (

Limited edition Ya Kun Kaya Toast Pocky

Restaurant Zén is the sister restaurant of Frantzén — the only three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Sweden. It opened its doors in November 2018 at the restored heritage shophouse that was formerly Restaurant André. The New Nordic experience is literally a journey, beginning with snacks in the kitchen (first floor), main courses and desserts in the dining room (second floor) and Fika, or Swedish sweets, in the living room (third floor). My favorites include the chawanmushi with Rossini caviar, French toast laced with truffles (a Frantzén signature) and the quail BBQ with jamón ibérico. (

Fresh uni in shell at Yoshi (formerly Kaiseki Yoshiyuki)

While not a new restaurant in Singapore, Kaiseki Yoshiyuki (located at the basement of Orchard Forum Mall next to cocktail bar Horse’s Mouth) has recently rebranded into Yoshi (after executive chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara). Shorter in name also means a more accessible menu, with the freshest ingredients flown in from Japan. Their perfect kaiseki experience includes grilled unagi topped with caviar; bluefin ohtoro; fresh uni in shell; Miyazaki wagyu with truffle salt, and affordable lunch sets featuring bara chirashi, wagyu beef and foie gras, sakura ebi — all artfully presented!

Yoshi, owned by the Singaporebased Filipino-Chinese Yu family, is sister restaurant to Uma Uma Ramen at S Maison and The Podium in Manila! This is the grilled unagi topped with caviar.

Trivia: Yoshi is under the Iki Concepts group, run by Singapore-based Chinese-Filipino Russell Yu, which also owns Uma Uma Ramen at S Maison Manila and Podium Mall. (

Keng Eng Kee or KEK, a third-generation family business run by brothers Paul and Wayne Liew, has been a mainstay in Singapore for many years. (US-based humanitarian chef Jose Andres went on a personal visit six years ago!) Netflix’s Street Food Asia spotlighted the restaurant in their Singapore episode, drawing in even more crowds. Their crabs — chili and salted egg — are outstanding; likewise, their specialty hor fun with egg and coffee ribs. Some of the world’s greatest chefs — Massimo Bottura, Eric Ripert, and again, Andres — dined here recently. (

Thevar’s famous crispy pork with sambal aioli wrapped in betel leaf (

Idlewild at the Intercontinental Hotel in Singapore, which opened earlier this year, celebrates the golden age of air travel — a period filled with romance, adventure and the unknown — run by outlet manager Krissy Jesudason (she’s part Filipina and used to go to International School Manila!) and Andy Griffiths (head of operations and creative). Cocktails here are influenced by popular travel destinations, each inspired by their ingredients, spirit and culture. (

At Native (No. 4 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars; No. 13 on World’s 50 Best Bars), Vijay Mudaliar and his team forage for wild ingredients from around Singapore and Southeast Asia, and work primarily with Asian distillers (yes, they carry Filipino liquor, too!) The results are incredibly thoughtful cocktails that represent a story, tradition, culture or place. (

Cocktails at Idlewild: Coretto Negroni takes its cue from Rome (CIA airport) and The French Cook — with just a bit of absinthe — Paris (CDG)

Asia’s No. 1 bar, the Ernest Hemingway-inspired The Old Man (in Hong Kong), opened its Singapore outpost last February, run by managing partner Andrew Yap. Located behind a sign-less door on Keong Saik Road, walking in you’ll notice the same portrait of Hemingway on the wall, fashioned from upcycled materials, and the Havana-inspired interiors. It’s a little more spacious here, and services are just as friendly. The cocktail list is identical. (

Where to stay

Native’s Peranakan cocktail, a tribute to the Chinese-Malay culture in Singapore: Clarified milk punch of jackfruit rum, laksa leaves, goat’s milk, and candlenut

Hotel Intercontinental Singapore

Rooms are fashioned in a modern Peranakan color palette, and the Club Lounge — a Peranakan living room — offers complimentary afternoon tea and evening cocktails. The hotel has direct access to Bugis Junction Mall and within walking distance are Arab Street, Clarke Quay and Raffles City. (

The Old Man’s version of an Old Fashioned: Little Wax Puppy, which is beeswax-infused Russell’s Reserve 10yo with eucalyptus honey and bitters

Six Senses Maxwell

This block of restored heritage shophouses in Chinatown very close to Maxwell Food Centre also has a lap pool and gym. (

Chef Mano Thevar of his eponymous Thevar, whichservesIndiantapas

Six Senses Duxton

A short walk from the Maxwell property, this boutique hotel houses a block of restored heritage trading houses in Tanjong Pagar, and its rooms are reminiscent of opium dens. (

The kitchen at Restaurant Zen led by head chef Tristin Farmer (center)

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Singapore Airlines flies four times daily from Manila to Singapore. For more information, visit

Special thanks to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

You can reach the author at, on my blog, on Twitter at or on Instagram at

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