Your Singapore food trip -undiscovered food concepts in the Lion City mean more reasons to visit and come back

THE CREATIVITY involved in giving live to Singapore’s culinary scene is a wonder in itself: it sheds an enticing light on restaurants, bars, cafes, and hawkers stalls, shaping unique gustatoru experience that gives tourists more reasons to visit the city.

Thousands of food concepts transform the city into a food destination, creating itineraries that digress from the usual entertainment and recreation routes. This is an admirable feat considering that most of Singapore’s raw materials are imported—but the geniuses of the chefs from kitchens work their magic to circumvent limitations on resources.

Aside from trips to Sentosa Island for museum and theme park fun, visitors can stroll Singapore’s thoroughfares to indulge in myriad treats. Every drink and dish is satisfying—even for Instagram feeds.

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SINGAPORE Squad (L-R): Deni Rose Afinidad-Bernardo, Alexis Yap, Ailene Dela Rosa, Jesse Pizarro Boga, Therese Aseoche, Erika Dizon, and Naseem Huseni

During a recent trip courtesy of the Singapore Tourism Board, I was happy to catch a glance of the ever busy food scene in the Lion City.

Our first food stop immediately set the bar high for food that is remarkably simple and familiar yet satisfying: Tai Hwa Pork Noodle in 466 Crawford Lane. This hawker stall, owned and run by Tang Chay Seng, is one of the first two street food locations in the world to be awarded a star in the Michelin Guide in 2016.

Uncle warmly welcomed us with generous servings of his award-winning pork noodles for lunch. It was easy to see why he deserved the Michelin recognition: every bowl packs flavor, texture, and aroma that ultimately defines what a good bowl of noodles is. What I had wasn’t just ordinary pancit topped with pork meat—what I had was the holy grail of pancit.

One of the highlights of our trip was the opening of the World Gourmet Summit—Asia’s premier food and wine festival.

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AN AWARD-winning bowl from Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

The big event gave me a closer look (and taste) at the pleasantly complicated culinary creations conjured by local and international celebrity chefs.

I sampled entirely foreign yet exciting dishes that included slow cooked lobster with flower jelly (what), Greater Omaha beef tenderloin (basically meat from the other side of the globe) covered with bamboo ash and served with mashed potatoes, Wagyu beef with cilantro quinoa and chimichurri, Char Siu…angus striploin (surprise, it’s not pork) buns, and chilled avocado soup.

I spent the entire night wolfing samplers and thinking that there is truly so much food to discover in the city—and a week-long trip isn’t enough time to taste all of them.

Even a small coffee shop is a thing to marvel at. 40 Hands Coffee in 78 Yong Siak Street is a must visit for coffee lovers. I appreciate the idea highlighted by the coffee concept: that it takes 40 hands to produce a single cup of coffee from bean to cup. Coffee lovers will find comfort in their usual cups, while sweet tooths like me can indulge in their range of cake slices.

Patara Fine Thai Cuisine, located in Tanglin Mall in 163 Tanglin Road, took me by surprise at how it has established Thai cuisine to be highly desirable in Singapore. The restaurant melds tradition and innovation to come up with dishes that please even the most discriminating diners.

During our lunch, we were served Instagram worthy plates that not only looked good, but also tasted better. Patara’s Goong Sarong (deep fried prawns wrapped in crispy phyllo pastry), Yum Nua Wagyu (seared Wagyu beef with Thai aubergine, chili and lime dressing), and Grilled Lamb Rack with Thai herbs became instant favorites.

Lunch was sealed with a sweet delight: coconut sticky rice with mango. #burp

During a quick stroll in the city’s hip Haji Lane, a refreshing ice cold milk tea to go instantly keeps the heat at bay. There are more quirky food specialty stores in the area that should be on anyone’s itinerary—these include a selfie coffee shop (where they print your face in your coffee because why not), an indulgent cookie shop, a juice “clinic,” and more.

A visit to Candlenut, located in 17A Dempsey Road, was a dinner to remember: it was when I was introduced to Peranakan cuisine, one of Singapore’s oldest fusion cuisines that incorporate Chinese, Malay and Indonesian influences. Candlenut is the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant. One of the noteworthy dishes served in the restaurant are those that have been cooked with Buah Keluak (black nut; more commonly known as the Asian truffle).

This gives some entrées to have a delightful bitter-ey sour-ey, and smoky taste that subtly graces the palate. Flavors of a simple braised local chicken, for example, is amplified by the black nut.

The muted essence of the black nut can also work with desserts—like the Buah Keluak ice cream served to me. My scoop was served with some French chocolate, chili and chocolate whip. I didn’t have the judgment to discern the black nut’s presence in every spoonful but I was sure I wasn’t just having normal ice cream. There was something that made my eyeballs turn into hearts—and that’s a good thing, always.

More Instagram-worthy plates were served in Fratelli – Trattoria and Pizzeria in Resorts World Sentosa. Fratelli, which means brothers in Italian, brings two dining experiences in one location: an all-day dining pizzeria and a dinner-service-only trattoria. A gratifying dinner set in this authentic Italian restaurant was comprised by pan-seared foie gras with red wine sauce, mushroom cappuccino soup, linguine pasta with white wine sauce and white clams, and sea salt chocolate fondant tart with vanilla ice cream that I didn’t share.

To rediscover Singapore as a food destination requires an adventurous palate, a big stomach, some patience (for queues), and a lot of enthusiasm. I am coming back for that pork noodle bowl.

Posted in Lifestyle