Ask any Singaporean where to find the best local food, and they’ll most probably point you to their favourite hawker centres.
But, don’t forget about these stellar Singaporean restaurants either, dishing out hawker faves, Mod-Sin fare, authentic Peranakan cuisine and more.
Most Singaporean households are familiar with food ambassador Violet Oon – and this is where to go for true-blue Peranakan delicacies. Robust flavours infuse dishes like Buah Keluak Ayam (a spicy chicken stew) and Beef Rendang (beef in a tangy tamarind gravy).
1 St. Andrews Rd., National Gallery Singapore, #02-01, 178957, www.violetoon.com
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the role of Mod-Sin pioneer Chef-Owner Willin Low. While his original Wild Rocket outlet on Emily Hill closed down in 2018 (and he’s now living in Japan, where he opened up Roketto Restaurant & Bar), his casual spin-off concept Relish lives on! At its two locations, enjoy local-inspired fare including Laksa Pesto Linguine, Hae Bee Hiam Spaghettini and the surprisingly addictive Har Jeong Frog Legs.
182 Cecil St., Oasis of Frasers Tower, #02-12/13, 069546; 501 Bukit Timah Rd., Cluny Court, #02-01, 259760; www.wildrocket.com.sg/relish.html
The Quarters serves up locally inspired dishes, and is known for sweets like the Wonderffle, a waffle topped with gula melaka (palm sugar), lemongrass and pandan ice cream
16 Enggor St., Icon Village, #01-09, 079717, www.thequarters.sg
Try this respected resto’s fusion of Portuguese, Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisines, which has resulted in eclectic recipes like Curry Debal (Eurasian-style curry). Finish with the Sugee Cake, made with butter, almonds and semolina flour.
139 Ceylon Rd., Level 1 Eurasian Community House, 429744, www.quentins.com.sg
A departure from the usual renditions you’d find at most other restaurants, the Blue Lotu’s Signature Chilli Pomelo Crab is its menu star. Insider info: We also hear its Masterchef Asia (Season 1) finalist Lennard Yeong’s favourite rendition of chilli crab in Singapore!
31 Ocean Way, Quayside Isle, #01-13, Sentosa, 098375, www.bluelotus.com.sg
It can be hard to decide what to eat sometimes. Solve that by heading to this bombastic buffet, where you can sample local classics including Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Laksa (spicy noodle soup) and plenty more. Turn to page 19 to see how Grand Hyatt Singapore – where StraitsKitchen is located – is taking measures to save the planet, too.
10 Scotts Rd, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 228211, www.singapore.grand.hyattrestaurants.com/straitskitchen.html
While chilli crab gets all the attention as Singapore’s national dish, the rich and umami Claypot Crab Vermicelli Soup is a favourite dish with the seafood specialists at Kelly Jie. We recommend going in a group to order as many dishes as you like!
Lor 8 Toa Payoh, Blk. 211, #01, 11/15, 31021, www.kellyjie.sg
JUMBO Seafood is one of Singapore’s most recognisable home-grown restaurant brands, and rightly so. Die, die must-try dishes: the Steamed Bamboo Clams, Live Prawns Fried with Cereal and other ocean-inspired delicacies.
www.jumboseafood.com.sg for locations
This Michelin-starred restaurant has made a name for itself with its “new Singaporean” dining experience. Chef LG Han showcases local flavours, while combining culinary techniques from across the globe. One fan fave: the Claypot “Ang Moh” Chicken Rice (shown), a chicken rice dumpling with skin made of home-milled rice flour and braised chicken paired with his grandma’s chili sauce.
8 Raffles Ave., Esplanade Mall, #02-23, 039802, www.labyrinth.com.sg
For a restaurant so named, they’re promising a lot. And they deliver – try their signature Black Pepper Crab, a succulent crustacean doused in viscous, fragrant black pepper sauce.
1 Joo Chiat Place, 427739, http://homeofseafood.com
Despite its name, New Ubin Seafood offers much more than just seafood, including US Angus Ribeye Steak. Its all-rounded menu makes it an incredibly family-friendly option.
Level 6 Canteen, 63 Hillview Ave, 669569, https://ubinseafood.com
This gem goes way back (to 1956!), and it’s a familiar place for locals to host family gatherings even today. Classics like Sri Lankan crab can be prepared in 8 different ways, while signature dishes like the Honey Tangy Fish is great just the way they are.
1 Fullerton Rd., One Fullerton, #01-09, 049213, www.palmbeachseafood.com
By Joshua Tan and Pinky Chng / Updated in The Finder, Issue 302, March 2020 / Photos: Courtesy of restaurants or Facebook pages
More on The Finder: