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From slings to satay: a gourmet guide to the best eats in Singapore

From slings to satay: a gourmet guide to the best eats in Singapore

A trip to Singapore can very easily resemble one long, delicious and enthralling feast. So let me take you through some of the tastiest treats from aperitif to dessert.

A signature serve

Start your gastronomic tour with a Singapore Sling cocktail at Raffles Hotel

(Singapore Tourism Board)

Our journey begins in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, where the Singapore Sling was first concocted in 1915 (NB it’s a drink, not something to put your arm in when it’s injured).

The creator was a barman named Ngiam Tong Boon, who decided to formulate a drink resembling fruit juice so that women could order it, despite the taboo around drinking alcohol.

A splash here and a dash there of lime and pineapple juices, gin, curacao, benedictine herbal liqueur, grenadine and cherry brandy. Heaven in a glass. Incidentally, you needn’t shell out for the peanuts: they’re free, and you’re expected to drop the shells on the fine tiled floor. This tradition dates back a century, when Raffles was surrounded not by skyscrapers but by peanut plantations.

Local secrets

(Singapore Tourism Board)

Restaurants abound in their hundreds. I’m a repeat visitor to Muthu’s Curry in Little India, which has been serving delicious dishes on banana leaves since 1969. While famous for their fish-head curry, their vegetarian dishes are also uniformly excellent.

For satay, the place to be is Satay Street, just outside the Lau Pa Sat hawker centre in the middle of the city. On my most recent visit I also enjoyed the hawker centre at Holland Village, and the food court – an upmarket variant of the hawker centre – in the Marina Bay Sands complex.

Haute cuisine

Indulge in incredible Peranakan cuisine at Candlenut, headed up by celebrity chef Malcolm Lee

(Candlenut Kitchen PTE Ltd)

For a truly unique taste of Singapore and South East Asia, head for Candlenut – the first Michelin-starred restaurant featuring Peranakan cuisine. Located in the former army cookhouse now known as Como Dempsey; this large, airy barracks of a building houses several upmarket eateries.

Candlenut’s celebrity chef, Malcolm Lee, told me about his gastronomic heritage. “People always ask: what are the secret ingredients I have? I think we learnt that the secret ingredient is love for food and love for people. When you put all those things together, the food will come out delicious.”

Room for more? You could round the evening off nearby at the well-named 2am Dessert Bar in Holland Village, where dreamy chocolate…

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