I recently got the chance to travel to Singapore with Journy—and while we may have come for the World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards, we stayed for the incredible hospitality and vibrant gastronomic culture unlike that of any other city I have been to.
These were the top highlights:
My first impression while driving through Singapore from the ultra-modern Changi Airport was, this may be the most pristine city on earth. It’s as if every inch has been thoughtfully and perfectly designed, including the super lush landscape—a true concrete jungle. Sitting in the hybrid taxi looking up at the buildings, I felt like I was cruising through some kind of alternate reality.
We were quickly introduced to the bustling outdoor hawker markets: small stalls lined up in never-ending rows selling every regional dish on this side of the world. The whiplash of twisting from five-star hotel concierges to loud, gritty street food vendors was harsh at first, but quickly became a thrilling all-day dance around town.
For breakfast, we started with the Singaporean staple, kaya toast: white bread (toasted or teamed) topped with a sweet spread made of egg yolks, sugar, coconut cream and pandam leaves. A side order of soft boiled eggs with soy sauce and white pepper is highly recommended. Or go completely savory with Chinese crispy pork belly and char siu over rice—the world is your oyster out here.
You won’t be able to miss the well-known foods, like Hokkien mee, chili crab, the famous chicken rice, skewered meats and sambal-covered everything. Prepare to meet people from all over the world and taste dishes with origins from Malaysia, China, India, Thailand, Portugal and beyond. This could be at a colorful plastic table in the middle of a hawker center or at the marble counter of a gorgeous fine dining restaurant—this city is the definition of high-low.
Singapore is a place of incredible cultural influence and flavors, and it doesn't take long for you to feel yourself simmering in their melting pot.
Interested in learning more about Singaporean culture? Hear what Michelin-starred chefs, hawker stall experts, locals and expats alike had to say about what sets this island city-state apart.