Where to eat in Singapore: A neighbourhood guide

Where to eat in Singapore

Singapore is known as foodie heaven. And rightly so! Not only will you find local Singaporean food to be top notch and affordable but you will also find an assorted mix of Asian food (Thai, Vietnamese, Malay etc) available throughout the small island. What’s more, with nearby Australia making its mark on the food scene with organic, trendy, hipster food, there is plenty to suit everyone’s taste.

However when hunger strikes.. where exactly do you go for some good food? This guide is aimed to provide you with a starting point of where to go for the right atmosphere and great places to eat. 

Chinatown

Nearest MRT: Chinatown

The whole Chinatown area is filled with tons of treats to eat. You will find delicious local favourites like satay and Char Kway Teow around the Pagoda St and Smith st. There are also a few hawker stalls. Head to Maxwell Road Hawker Center for cheap local food delights.

Why you should go here? If your looking for a flavour of traditional Singapore with an emphasis on its Chinese heritage then this is the place for you. A buzzing atmosphere and popular with tourists, its a great place to stroll the streets, pick up a few souvenirs and grab a bite to eat. 

Duxton hill

Nearest MRT: Outram Park

Around Tanjong Pagar, a short walk from Chinatown is Duxton Hill. A beautiful little neighbourhood with restored colonial shop houses housing trendy cafes and restaurants. Our favourite places to eat: Latteria Mozzarella Bar and Sabio Tapas Bar.

Why you should go here? If you’re looking for a quiter, romantic atmosphere then this little neighbourhood is the place for you. Walking up the hill, you really get a feel for colonial Singapore and you can easily forget that the hustle and bustle of Chinatown is just around the corner. 

Keong Saik Rd

Nearest MRT: Outram Park

For the coolest places to eat in Singapore, head to Keong Saik Rd. What was once the red light district in the 60s, Keong Saik Rd has transformed itself into a uber cool eating street filled with fine dining. Whether you’re looking for a trendy restaurant or a great spot for drink, this is the place to be. My favourite place to eat: Potato Head Folk (traveller’s tip- head to the rooftop for a chilled vibe). And for drinks, head to The Library, renowned for its quirky cocktails. Entrance to this popular bar is granted with a secret password (traveller’s tip- password can be obtained via their instagram or facebook page).

Why you should go here? This is a great spot for dinner and drinks with friends. It has a fun, buzzing atmosphere and with Club st just around the corner, there’s plenty of options if you wanted to keep the night going. 

The Quays

There are three well-known quays situated on the banks of Singapore river with beautiful views and fantastic restaurants. 

Clarke Quay

Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay

A favourite spot with tourists, Clarke Quay is bright and bold. There are tons of options for places to eat here from Mexican to Indian to Singaporean. There also plenty of places for drinks from Irish bars to KTV (karaoke) a favourite in Asia, and a newer addition – Hooters! Our favourite places to eat are: Senor Taco, Cuba Libre and Violet Oon.

Why you should go here? This is a great spot for a meeting a group of friends. There is a lot of energy and loud music in the area. A great spot for people watching too!

Traveller’s tip– Toilets are not available in restaurants. However public toilets are located in designated spots within the area. 

Robertson’s Quay

Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay or Somerset

For a quieter ambiance by the Singapore River, head further down from Clarke Quay to Robertson’s Quay. Again there is plenty of choice of places to eat with a few notable Japanese restaurants to visit. 

Why you should go here? This is a great spot for dining by the river with family or friends. Or for a nice date. 

Traveller’s tip: Robertson Quay is located about 1km away from either Clarke Quay or Somerset MRT station. However there is a nice walk you can take by the river (just mind the construction). 

Boat Quay

Nearest MRT: Raffles Place

My favourite out of the Quays, Boat Quay is located a short walk between Esplanade and Clarke Quay. What you will find here is a great mix of restaurants, bars and pubs and even a sweet little rooftop bar with views of the Singapore River and financial district.  There are once again, plenty of choices of places to eat from seafood restaurants to Indian food. Our favourite place to eat was Kinara. Although they have many locations in the city, we loved this spot simply for their riverside dining. Looking for a place for a drink? You won’t be at a loss with all the happy hour deals floating about. But you definitely should check out Southbridge for their rooftop bar. 

Why you should go here? It has the perfect balance of evening buzz and bliss. It is great for a night with a group of friends or dinner with the family. But it is also perfect for a romantic dinner with the city lights in the backdrop with an evening stroll by the river to finish off the evening. 

Arab Street

Nearest MRT: Bugis Junction

Now contrary to the name of this area, you can actually find a lot to eat other than Arabic food. After a year in the Middle East, Arab Street wasn’t my first go to place but I was mistaken as to what this neighbourhood has to offer. Sure it does offer Turkish, Lebanese and Shisha restaurants, where you can find some delicious Mediterranean food as well as Arabic food. But the area also bodes cool cafes to chill in during the day, and a happening buzz of street activity on the colourful Haji Lane. Not to mention, the area is a fantastic spot to try local Malay food.  My favourite spot- Piedra Negra for some delicious Mexican food.

Why you should go here? For a cultural vibe, for a taste of Malay food and culture, and for amazing night life. The atmosphere around Arab Street is just top notch. You can’t be a in a bad mood when you are there. It’s just pure fun!

Traveller’s tip: If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon a little street party on a Friday or Saturday night.

Little India

Nearest MRT: Little India

If you’re in the mood for Indian food there is no other place to go but Little India! The neighbourhood itself has a rich culture of Indian migrants. Historically popular for the racecourse with the European settlers in the 1840s. The area then saw cattle trading take root, bringing Indian migrants to the area. Our favourite places to eat: Banana Apollo on Racecourse Rd and Sakunthalas. When you’re in the area, make sure you try a roti prata or teh tarik (the pulled tea). 

Why you should go here? For a taste of Singapore’s Indian heritage, this is the place to go. Visit the temples, or stop in a the Little India Arcade for some sweet Indian treats. The Tekka Centre also has cheap local food if you don’t fancy a sit-down restaurant. 

Dempsey Hill

Nearest MRT: Queenstown

A little bit off the beaten track and located near the Botanic Gardens is Dempsey Hill. The grounds of Dempsey Hill were once a nutmeg plantation in the 1850s. Since then it was also transformed into the British Army Barracks. More recently, it was transformed into the dining and shopping complex. It also has some great art galleries to check out too. My favourite spot was always Jones the Grocer for brunch. 

Why you should go? This is a great spot for lunch with friends and family, especially after a visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. You can also follow some of the walking trails and learn more about the history of the grounds. 

Traveller’s tip: The closest MRT station is still a bit of a distance away from Dempsey Hill, so you will need to take a bus as well. Alternatively, a taxi ride from Orchard MRT is only $10 (Β£5.60). 

Holland Village

Nearest MRT: Holland Village

Another spot off the tourist track is Holland Village on the west side of the island. Full of cool and trendy bars and restaurants that spill out onto the street, Holland Village as a buzzing vibe that makes you feel like you are on holiday. There are plenty of delicious dessert cafes, bars and restaurants to choose from. 

Why you should go here? This is great spot for dinner and drinks with friends or a great place for date. It has a fantastic atmosphere, plenty of choice for places to eat and it’s less touristy spot too. 

Hawkers

Hawker markets are a dime a dozen in Singapore. It is the best spot to go for cheap local food. You can find them in most neighbourhoods but here is my quick little rundown of the most popular hawkers in town. 

Maxwell Hawker Centre -as mentioned above, this one is located in Chinatown and has a great selection of local food. 

Gluttons Bay– located on the Esplanade is a great hawkers for beginners and tourists. It’s got all the Singapore staples but isn’t overwhelmingly large. 

Lau Pa Sat – is located in the downtown area. Situated in a beautiful 19th century market, it is a notable Singapore landmark. 

East Coast seafood market– located in the East Coast  of the island (as the name suggests) this is the place to go for seafood. Try out that chili crab and sit on the beach watching the planes fly into Changi!

 

Well I think I’ve got the island covered. If there are any great spots I missed do share your favourites in the comments below. All this talk about food has got me hungry now. 

For more specific restaurant recommendations on where to eat in Singapore check out City Nomads or  TheHoneycombers .  

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Where to eat in Singapore

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24 Comments

    • Oh neat! I’ll have to look out for it. I miss living in Singapore. The neighbourhoods are definitely unique.

      Reply
    • Thanks Louise! Glad you found it useful. I’m sure you’ll head back there again. If at least for a stopover.

      Reply
  1. Had no idea Singapore got places like Arab street and Holland Village! Sounds like they got a pretty diverse food culture in there – would love to visit all the different parts of the city to try all these places πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • I have to admit, I didn’t know about it all until I lived there. I think the food culture is a true reflection of the people within the country. Locals and expats alike. It is a beautiful mix of tasty food!

      Reply
  2. This is amazing! I am going to Singapore this October and I can’t wait ! There is so much food to try!! I am already afraid haha I’ve heard that Clarke Quay is super nice !

    Reply
    • Oh I hope this guide will help you on your visit. Clarke Quay is a pretty buzzing spot. Great for people watching!

      Reply
    • There really is something for everyone. I loved the Boat Quay area as there were tons of restaurants and bars too! Plus the view was just beautiful!

      Reply
    • They don’t call it a food capital for nothing πŸ˜‰ I hope you do get a chance to visit some of these areas on a future trip! Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  3. love this post!! reminded me so much of this beautiful country. Omg, would so eat a laksa now, haha. Little India is amazing and my love for spicy curry only grew there. I also love the Queys and of course Duxton Hill! xx

    Reply
    • It really is a unique little place isn’t it. I liked that each neighbourhood was so different depending on what mood or atmosphere you wanted with your food. We explored Little India a little more when my Dad came to visit. But I got addicted to roti pratas pretty early on during our time there. It was my go to comfort food. And only $2!

      Reply
  4. I’d head straight for those hawker markets for sure. I’m really hoping to do a layover in Singapore next time I head to SE Asia just so I can eat my way around the city for a couple days — I’ll keep this handy for when I do!

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    • Ooh I’m sooo excited for you! As a vegetarian, I couldn’t indulge as much as I wanted to with the hawker markets so am extra jealous of your future plans in Singapore. I hope this guide will help you work around the city. Hopefully it will save you precious time to see and taste more of Singapore during your layover! Please do let me know which was your favourite place if you can x

      Reply
  5. 1) gorgeous photography! 2) I’ve decided to just own up to the fact that I’m a foodie when I travel. Lol. So I loved this list. Little India won me over! Don’t think I had considered Singapore and now, I kinda have to. Lol.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Means a lot. I have to admit, I’ve never been a foodie when I travel. I think part of that is because I am a vegetarian so I cannot participate as well as others. However, living in Singapore, awakened the foodie in me and I’ve realised that South East Asian cuisine is my true foodie love. If you’re a foodie you’ve got to stop in Singapore and then head to Vietnam which is another country I fell in love with for the food. I’ll be doing more posts on Vietnam soon!

      Reply
  6. I have read many things about Singapore but this post stands out for bringing out its rich food culture. I like your vivid description as well. Nice post!

    Reply
    • Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it as I was a bit unsure the descriptions weren’t doing the places justice.

      Reply

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