Singaporeans love to eat. It’s a way of life here. And for such a small country, there are a surprisingly large array of eateries and dining options. Trust me, you will never go hungry here.
The main types of cuisine are Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan. And there are an amazing number of food establishments – everything from open-air food courts to Michelin-star chefs and fine dining.
The open-air food courts are known as hawker centres, and they are dotted pretty much everywhere in suburban Singapore. Think of it like organised street food, and this is Singapore after all, so each vendor is given a food standards rating (A is the best) so look out for the sign on their stall. Most shopping centres will have a food court too, but it’s more likely to be air-conditioned. The food court at the bottom of Takashimaya department store on Orchard Road is one of my favourite haunts.
It seems almost everyone eats lunch on the dot of half past twelve. Dinner times are usually between 6.30pm and 9pm, but you’ll often find Singaporeans having a late-night snack too (how they remain so slim, I’ll never know). Some hawker stalls are open into the wee hours of the morning. I could safely say that this is a 24-hour eating city.
My personal favourite is Peranakan cuisine. Peranakan literally means ’locally born’, but in Singapore it refers to the Chinese traders of years gone by who came here and started families with the women from the Straits of Malacca and beyond. So you could say that Peranakan cuisine is a mix of Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian cooking. Personally, this is what I was brought up on, and I still have cravings for it. If I was on death row, my last meal would have to be a spicy laksa noodle soup.