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Jillian
Los Angeles

Jillian from Los Angeles asked

What are the 5 things I can't miss in Singapore?

First time ever in Asia, and I'm landing in Singapore! I'm visiting and staying with a friend for two days who lives in the Central Business District, close to Chinatown.

First things first-- I love food. What are the absolute best places to eat authentic Singaporean cuisine? Would like places that range from cheap eats to splurge style. Willing to be adventurous and try anything-- bring it on. 

Secondly, my friend will be working during the days, so I'll be exploring solo. Prefer unique experiences over tourist traps. What would I regret not seeing or experiencing while I'm there?

Singapore

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top answer by
Michael from San Francisco

The two food places I think about with bliss when talking about Singapore is Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, where you should get....the Hainanese Chicken rice :)

Next is Tian Jin Hai Seafood, which used to be a little stall in a food court, but they are now a full fledged restaurant.  They are very well known for their steamed shark head, which is all sorts of wonderful if you can get passed the weirdness of it.  While Singapore is known for the chili crab, Tian Jin Hai has an amazing black pepper crab that I would highly recommend.


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Jillian
Shark head! Ek! Well, I did say I'm adventurous... :) Thanks Michael, I'm really thankful you shared your tips with me! Can't wait.
 
 
 

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answered first by
Ashley from Singapore

Hey Jillian!

It's great that you're coming to Singapore! Here are some of my recommendations. Hope it will help you out!

Food

One thing Singapore is famous for is for her local food. I would not classify many dishes here as uniquely Singaporean as the cuisine tends to be influenced regionally.. Meaning you can find Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, etc. food all around. The best place to find local food is definitely hawker centres. Hawker food is cheap, (if you find the right ones) good and can be found all over Singapore.

If you're staying in the CBD, check out Lau Pa Sat Festival Market (Meaning Old Market in Chinese. Everyone knows it by the chinese name). I believe it reopened a couple of weeks ago after going through a $4m facelift. You can definitely find local hawker food there. (Nearest MRT: Raffles Place)

You can also checkout places like Maxwell Food Centre (located in Chinatown), Chomp Chomp Food Centre (Serangoon Gardens, abit inaccessible without a car), Old Airport Road Market & Food Centre (Nearest MRT: Dakota) Newton Hawker Centre (Abit pricey for hawker food) and East Coast Lagoon Food Village (Abit inacessible without a car). These are generally the more popular local hawkers. Once again, you can find hawkers almost anywhere.

In terms of individual dishes, it really helps if you love spicy food. Spicy is the foundation of every great dish here in SG. Check out Local foods for specific dishes!

See & Do:

Another thing Singapore is famous for is shopping. But like IMO, it is nothing special. Everything is just conveniently located together. Nevertheless, you can always take a stroll down Orchard Road where you see miles and miles of shopping malls! (Nearest MRT: Orchard)

One of the more famous areas locals get cheaper stuff from is Bugis Street. My gf loves shopping in that area as everything is relatively cheaper to their branded counterparts. (Nearest MRT: Bugis)


If you're into culture, definitely go to Little India! Spend an evening there, walk the streets and have some grub by the road. There is quite abit to see and experience.


You can also walk the grounds of Gardens By The Bay, basically two greenhouses and lots of plants. You must pay to enter the greenhouses though. Do not buy food from there, it is expensive. Either pack food or head elsewhere.

You can wander around Marina Bay Sands and the shopping centre. They are located right next to gardens by the bay. Enjoy the city skyline. There is even a water show at night.


If you're adventurous like I am, take a $2 Bumboat (One way) to Pulau Ubin (Island). Rent a bicycle and spend the morning cycling around the small island. Located on the island is probably one of the last kampung community in Singapore. There is an abandoned Quarry and also one of Singapore's last coral reefs.

For $3, you can take the sky train into Sentosa Island. It is considered to be one of Singapore's beach destination. Pack a picnic as it might get abit spicy. There are loads to see and do on the island (Butterfly parks, beaches, clubs, luge, flying fox, etc.).

There are loads of things to do in Singapore but the above are just a few. Hope it helps!

Just remember, when in doubt, hungry and there are only expensive restaurants in sight, go to a macdonalds and get a mcspicy. We have it quite good here.


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Jillian
Wow, thank you so much Ashley! This info is hugely helpful :)
 

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Alex
Oh I love love love the hainan chicken rice in Maxwell Street Market. Actually, I love love love all foods in all street markets of Singapore, most indulgently glutonous city on earth!
 
 
 

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  1. Lau Pa Sat Festival Market (attraction)
  2. Maxwell Food Centre (restaurant)
  3. Chomp Chomp Food Centre (attraction)
  4. Old Airport Road Market & Food Centre (attraction)
  5. Newton Hawker Centre (restaurant)
  6. East Coast Lagoon Food Village (attraction)
  7. Orchard Road (attraction)
  8. Bugis Street (attraction)
  9. Little India (neighborhood)
  10. Gardens By The Bay (attraction)
  11. Marina Bay Sands (hotel)
  12. Pulau Ubin (Island) (attraction)
  13. Sentosa Island (attraction)
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answered by
Mathilde from Venice Beach

Hey Jillian! If you like Indian cuisine, there is an amazing Indian restaurant Zaffron Kitchen that really worth the 10' taxi drive. The area around this restaurant is awesome; it's called Joo Chiat, you'll love it! Another restaurant I loved, the best for Thai cuisine, was First Thai, 5' walking distance from City Hall MRT station, so very central. For Vietnamese cuisine, go to Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant, bo buns are sick!

What I particularly loved while leaving there was:

1) before sunset, walk from Marina Bay Sands to the Marina Barrage, to get the best view ever on the CBD while sunset comes, it's awesome!

2) the Singapore City Gallery, which is a great and not-boring way of learning about Singapore's recent history

3) if you're more adventurous, rent a bike and ride along the East Coast Park(you can go up to the airport, and grab a coffee/fresh juice Chock Full Of Beans. Both ways it's about 50km and a great spot along the "sea".

Have fun there, Singapore is a fantastic city! 


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Jillian
thank you, Mathilde! I love your bike idea-- will definitely have to try this. I really appreciate it!
 
 
 

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  1. Zaffron Kitchen (restaurant)
  2. Joo Chiat (neighborhood)
  3. First Thai (attraction)
  4. Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant (attraction)
  5. Marina Bay Sands (hotel)
  6. Marina Barrage (attraction)
  7. Singapore City Gallery (attraction)
  8. East Coast Park (attraction)
  9. Chock Full Of Beans (restaurant)
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answered by
Maelle from Rennes, France

Go try the Dim Sum at 126 Sims Ave and the Vietnamese delicious Pho at Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant. If you like Indian food you hae to try Zaffron Kitchen. As you can see I am a big fan of the "east coast area". You should definitely visit and walk along Joo Chiat Rd with the historical Peranakan neighborhood. 


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Jillian
Thank you, I really appreciate your tips! :)
 
 
 

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  1. 126 Sims Ave (attraction)
  2. Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant (attraction)
  3. Zaffron Kitchen (restaurant)
  4. Joo Chiat Rd (attraction)
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answered by
Vicky from Los Angeles

You're so lucky to go to Singapore! It's such a great place for foodies. I just got back from a 10-day trip there and had some time to explore the new and revisit old faves.

First, the new. You'll love the Chinatown area - the areas along Keong Saik Rd and Tanjong Pagar / Duxton Hill are totally happening with new restaurants and bars. Esquina Tapas Bar is a must go for its yummy tapas & sangrias - from the fab folks who opened 22 Ships in Hong Kong. It's fun to sit at the bar and watch the chefs in action right in front of you. From the same folks is The Library,  a hidden speakeasy-style bar next to The Study - ask for the password to enter when you're at Esquina. Check out the exterior of the iconic building of Potato Head Folk - it's whimsical inside, with a rooftop bar, too. These are the must try local food: laksa, Hainanese chicken rice, nasi padang, bak kut teh (if you like spare ribs), Peranakan food (fusion of Chinese and Malaysian cuisines), and of course, Chilli Crab. You'll see the first 4 at every hawker centers like Maxwell Food Centre or Lau Pa Sat and food courts (a good one is the Food Republic at Wisma Atria on Orchard or the one at Marina Bay Sands). Long Beach Seafood and Jumbo Seafood are known for their Chilli Crabs. Of course, everyone has their favorites and can get very opinionated! For laksa and Peranakan food, explore the shops and cafes on East Coast Rd in the quaint Katong area. Most beloved is 328 Katong Laksa

Gardens by the Bay is beautiful in the early evening when the Supertrees (which remind me of scenes from Avatar) come alive with lights and sounds - take a stroll there from Marina Bay


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Jillian
Thanks, Vicki! I have to check out Esquina and The Library. Thanks for the tip on the password!!! I really appreciate you helping me out-- amazing advice for my first time in Singapore. :)
 
 
 

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  1. Keong Saik Rd (attraction)
  2. Esquina Tapas Bar (restaurant)
  3. The Library (restaurant)
  4. The Study (restaurant)
  5. Potato Head Folk (restaurant)
  6. Maxwell Food Centre (attraction)
  7. Wisma Atria (attraction)
  8. Long Beach Seafood (restaurant)
  9. Jumbo Seafood (restaurant)
  10. 328 Katong Laksa (restaurant)
  11. Gardens by the Bay (attraction)
  12. Marina Bay (attraction)
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answered by
Christian from Manhattan Beach

Woah. Singapore? Jealous.

Start at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which is probably the most beautiful place on the planet. Set aside 45 minutes for the National Orchid Garden, which has the largest collection of orchids in the world. 

There are several hundred random markets scattered throughout the city. You can identify them by the ugly yellow paint on cheap fiberglass - don't be deterred. The best food in Singapore can be found in these random markets. I'd give you an exact location, but they're off the radar. Get stingray or chili crab. Also, you need to get tea in a bag. Amazing.

Visit Little India for the best curry in Southeast Asia.


Attend an event at the American Embassy, which is oddly fun and quite lovely.

Check out Raffles Place when you're ready for some shopping. Nearby, there's an intersection with a Louis Vuitton next to another Louis Vuitton on top of a Louis Vuitton. I'm not joking, Jillian: Singapore is literally that amazing.

I don't know how much time you have, but please please please visit Kampong Glam You'll find a beautiful mosque only a few blocks from the subway stop, and the food in this area is unbeatable - my favorite Teh Halia "barista" is just a few blocks away. Ever seen an 80+ year old Malay pull two-meter strings of condensed milk and ginger through the air? You will.

Oh, and be sure to catch a $30 flight to Thailand/Nepal/Cambodia on RyanAir, get PADI certified for $60 bucks, and try some durian. Don't bring it on the bus, though: it's forbidden!

Have fun.


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Debbie
I need to get in on this Louis Vuitton on Louis Vuitton on Louis Vuitton business!
 
 
 

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  1. Singapore Botanic Gardens (attraction)
  2. National Orchid Garden (attraction)
  3. Little India (neighborhood)
  4. American Embassy (attraction)
  5. Raffles Place (attraction)
  6. Kampong Glam (attraction)
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answered by
Muskan from New Delhi

Kindly check the following suggestions for food, stay & things to see. Hope this will help you out!

 

Food-

  1. Zaffron Kitchen- famous for south Indian and north Indian cuisine. Here you will get option for curries & tandoors. It is located on east coast road.
  2. Jewel Of India Restaurant- It is the finest Indian Restaurant in Singapore on Kitchener Road. They specialize in North Indian and Indian Chinese Cuisine.

 

      Stay-

  1. PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road- this hotel is located in the heart of Little India and next to the City Square Mall. The famous Orchard Road (shopping centre) is 15 min away from the hotel. The rooms in this hotel are well furnished.

 

         Other facilities Include:

  • Fitness centre
  • Spa Centre
  • High speed Internet
  • Swimming pool

 

The price range between $132 - $ 205

  1. Albert Court Village Hotel- This hotel is 25min drive from the airport and is located near Orchard Road. The hotel rooms are well furnished with Chinese décor.

 The price ranges between $158 -$ 221per room per night.

To See-

  1. Marina Bay Sands- This is the most expensive building that features a hotel, a convention, exhibition, theaters, and restaurants.
  2. Sentosa Island Tour- This is a beach destination, having hotels and two golf courses
  3. Universal Studios Singapore- this is an American film Studio

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  1. Zaffron Kitchen (restaurant)
  2. Jewel Of India Restaurant (restaurant)
  3. PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road (hotel)
  4. Little India (neighborhood)
  5. City Square Mall (attraction)
  6. Orchard Road (attraction)
  7. Albert Court Village Hotel (hotel)
  8. Marina Bay Sands (hotel)
  9. Sentosa Island (attraction)
  10. Universal Studios Singapore (attraction)
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answered by
Valerie from Singapore River

oh Singapore is a food haven. :)

for local cuisine, you have to try:

The list goes on, really. I doubt you'd have enough time to eat everything in 2 days. :)

You can check out food and stall reviews & recommendations on http://ieatishootipost.sg. It's pretty informative, even I refer to it for recommendations frequently.

As for places to go, I'd recommend Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park.. or take a walk around Chinatown or Little India... 

Welcome to Singapore and enjoy yourself here! :)


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Jillian
Thank you so much! My mouth is seriously watering. :) Can't wait to get there and try your recommendations!
 
 
 

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  1. Wee Nam Kee (restaurant)
  2. Song Fa Bak Kut Teh (restaurant)
  3. 328 Katong Laksa (restaurant)
  4. Newton Circus Food Centre (attraction)
  5. No: 18 Zion Road Fried Kway Teow (restaurant)
  6. Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle (restaurant)
  7. Blanco Court Prawn Mee (restaurant)
  8. Gardens by the Bay (attraction)
  9. Singapore Zoo (attraction)
  10. Night Safari (attraction)
  11. Jurong Bird Park (attraction)
  12. Chinatown (neighborhood)
  13. Little India (neighborhood)
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answered by
Kristin from Phnom Penh

Singapore is lovely. Lots of great food, including cheap options, and excellent galleries. There is surprisingly great French food (see: http://bit.ly/1oA3JPi), and I would highly recommend trekking it to Immanuel French Kitchen. I love strolling through Fort Canning Park, and you can easily walk to Singapore Art Museum from there. National Gallery Singapore is also great. Aside from the excellent fine dining, Singapore has amazing food courts where you'll find a huge variety of cheap, tasty Chinese and fusion food stalls. Also be sure to check out a few restaurants in ChinatownLittle Indiaand Holland Village Park are also cool spots to explore. Sentosa Island for beach. And amazing middle eastern food and boutiques in Haji Lane!


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Jillian
Thank you, Kristin! This all looks amazing. Really excited to try your recs!
 
 
 

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  1. Immanuel French Kitchen (restaurant)
  2. Fort Canning Park (attraction)
  3. Singapore Art Museum (attraction)
  4. National Gallery Singapore (attraction)
  5. Chinatown (neighborhood)
  6. Little India (neighborhood)
  7. Holland Village Park (attraction)
  8. Sentosa Island (attraction)
  9. Haji Lane (attraction)
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answered by
Jen from Sydney

Hi Jillian,

Singapore is a great city and full of contrasts. You can get a really cheap meal on one corner and on the next, the most expensive you've had in your life.

For cheap eats try one of the many hawker centres scattered around the city. You'll get the authentic SIngapore cuisine along with cuisine from neighbouring countries all done to perfection and costing you next to nothing.

I really liked dining at Clarke Quay and Boat Quay but you won't find much authentic cuisine there, rather cuisine from all over the world.

With just two days I would suggest just wandering around some of the cultural areas like Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam Park. They are full of wonderful sights, sounds and smells and will easily keep you happy and busy for two days. Also don't miss checking out the Marina Bay area all lit up at night. The Helix bridge is pretty amazing.

Have a blast in Singapore and onwards through Asia.

Cheers 

Jen


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Jillian
Thank you, Jen! Going to have to try the hawker food for sure. I really appreciate you helping me!
 
 
 

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  1. Clarke Quay (restaurant)
  2. Boat Quay (attraction)
  3. Chinatown (neighborhood)
  4. Little India (neighborhood)
  5. Kampong Glam Park (attraction)
  6. Marina Bay (neighborhood)
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answered by
Jason from Singapore

You've some awesome suggestions by others here, so in not repeating the obvious like laksa, otah, here are some awesome others to try.

1. Sugarcane juice (any hawker centre in Chinatown). Price $1.50 - $2.00

2. Crispy curry puff Killiney Rd. Stall is called Killiney Curry Puff. Try the normal (think it's called potato) or sardines. Yummmms.

3. Egg tart. Best in all of Asia. Shop name is Tong Heng Confectionery at 285 South Bridge Road. Around Chinatown.


4. Ming Zhang Kueh. Soft pancake loaded with sweet grounded peanuts. There's one on Telok Ayer Street. A very nondescript stall with no name.

5. Ham Jin Pang at Maxwell Food Centre. Google it. It's famous. Cheap. D-I-Y. Quite an interesting experience.

6. Oyster cake at Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake. Only 2 or 3 places sell this. And hands down best one is at Maxwell Food Centre.

7. Tau Huay at Rochor. Go late night. After 10 p.m. Super roadside atmosphere. Crispy fried dough stick with silky smooth bean curd (known to locals as "tau huay".


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  1. Killiney Rd (attraction)
  2. Tong Heng Confectionery (restaurant)
  3. Maxwell Food Centre (attraction)
  4. Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake (restaurant)
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answered by
kenneth from Singapore

Fatty Weng Restaurant (Badminton Hall) has been a popular spot for locals and tourists. Try the local specialty - Chilli crab. Also dont miss your chance to sample durians.


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answered by
Danny from Singapore

Singapore is a food paradise and you have to be adventurous. 

For new exotic taste, try our delicacies below: 

* laksa 

* Rojak 

* fish head curry 

* frog legs 

* chicken feet 

* pig organs soup 

* century egg porridge  

* tempeh 

* otak 

* dumplings 

* nonya kueh

Update: All these food are these food are commonly found in our food centres aka hawker centres or food courts. You don't really need to go to restaurants. Moreover, they are valued for money at these hawker centre. For eg, a pig organ soup with rice can cost about sgd $4.50 (one of my fave food). Surprised? The trick is to follow the crowds and look at the queues. Best of all, follow your noses and also look at what others are eating. Oh ya, I have missed out durian and mangosteen! Check them out too!


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Jillian
Thanks, Danny! These all look adventurous and amazing! Can you edit and add in your answer above some of your top restaurants to try these at? Can't wait to eat my way through Singapore! :)
 

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Danny
All these food are These food are commonly found in our food centres aka hawker centres or food courts. You don't really need to go to restaurants. Moreover, they are valued for money at these hawker centre. For eg, a pig organ soup with rice can cost about sgd $4.50 (one of my fave food). Surprised? The trick is to follow the crowds and look at the queues. Best of all, follow your noses and also look at what others are eating. Oh ya, I have missed out durian and mangosteen! Check them out too!
 
 
 
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answered by
Karolis from San Francisco

You should not miss two items: Chili crab and steam boat. Not sure where, but you'll find a good spot once you're there. 


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Jillian
Thanks! I've been hearing so much about this Chili crab-- can't wait to try it!
 
 
 
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answered by
Inez from Rome

Sounds really great! Singapore is definitely a food-haven :)

Other than hawker centres and night markets where you could find cheap and authentic local cuisine, you might also want to try out dining at local's homes.


I'm running a startup, based here in Singapore, called BonAppetour. Our team have handpicked some of the best local talents to become BonAppetour hosts. They are ready to invite you to dine at their home so that you could truly experience Singapore's culture through its local cuisine.

Do check it out:

www.bonappetour.com/s/Singapore
Have a great day!


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answered by
Jass from Tampines

Get a chance to watch free outdoor shows like :

1) The Gardens Symphony - a synchronized Light & Music show at Gardens by the Bay every night at 7:45 & 8:45 pm

2) The Wonderfull Show - a free outdoor water, lights, and music show in front of The Shoppes Mall at Marina Bay Sands every night at 8:pm & 9:30 pm



3) The Crane Dance - Another fantastic water, lights and music show featuring a love story of 2 robotic cranes :) at Resorts World Sentosa every night at 9pm.


Take a glimpse of the following shows (Source below) :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoWkFz4USGw&list=PLKdVhniD3HemCKnSf8LR-Vi2lktMN8Mm4


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answered by
Nikola from Devon

Raffles Hotel Singapore - this is a must. 


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answered by
JK from Singapore

Amongst many others, I would say

1. tian tian hainan chicken rice Maxwell Food Centre, which is in chinatown

2. grilled skate from a stall called Lucy BBQ Seafood Chomp Chomp Food Centre, stall 5

3. also Chomp Chomp Food Centre, hokkien prawn noodle ( ah hock fried noodle ), stall 27

3. pig innards soup Tiong Bahru Market

4. fried carrot cake 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, it is a big market + food centre right smack in the heartlands.

5. then of course, chilli crab or white / black pepper crab which you can simply google and it will show alot of results


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  1. Maxwell Food Centre (attraction)
  2. Chomp Chomp Food Centre (attraction)
  3. Chomp Chomp Food Centre (attraction)
  4. Tiong Bahru Market (attraction)
  5. 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh (attraction)
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answered by
Nupur from Pune

Hello!

You should try out the street food at Chinatown. It is fresh and delicious. 

Go to Bugis Street for shopping. You will get local and inexpensive things. It is where most of the locals go shopping. 

Close by is also the Arab St where you can sample authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. 


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  2. Bugis Street (attraction)
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answered by
Gan

Go to any housing estate to find Singapore-style Hainanese chicken rice. Visit agrotechnology parks in Choa Chu Kang and Sungei Tengah Roadin the north, explore Pulau Ubin (Island) and the Singapore River. Avoid expensive travel by taxis if you can although taxis run by meter.


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  1. Choa Chu Kang (attraction)
  2. Sungei Tengah Road (attraction)
  3. Pulau Ubin (Island) (attraction)
  4. Singapore River (attraction)
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answered by
Janelle from Charleston

1.  Eat at a "hawker centre" (outdoor food court).  They're dirt cheap yet clean, and the food quality is as good as you would get in a full service restaurant.  Most hawker centres feature several dozen stalls serving one regional cuisine (e.g. Chinese, Hokkien, Malay, South Indian, etc.) and you can spend several hours sampling different dishes from that region.  Golden Mile Food Centre (Chinese/Thai), Maxwell Road Hawker Centre (Chinese), and Old Airport Road (Malay) centres are the best ones I found. Bring hospital gloves for food that is spicy or that stains your hands.

2. Go to the Botanical Garden singapore.  Go early in the day to avoid the worst of the heat and humidity and spend hours admiring the indigenous flora.  It's a small bit of rainforest in the middle of a concrete jungle.

3. GO SHOPPING!  Singapore has the best shopping for all budgets anywhere in the world.

4. Go to Kampong Glam and visit the Chinese Temple and Malay Heritage Centre

5. Eat lunch at The Banana Leaf Apolo.  Sure it's touristy and featured on all the travel programmes, but it's hardly a tourist trap.  You won't be disappointed.  Bring hospital gloves...you eat with your hands, and if the spicy curry gets into a hangnail or a paper cut it hurts like no one's business.


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  1. Golden Mile Food Centre (restaurant)
  2. Maxwell Road Hawker Centre (attraction)
  3. Old Airport Road (attraction)
  4. Botanical Garden singapore (attraction)
  5. Kampong Glam (attraction)
  6. Chinese Temple (attraction)
  7. Malay Heritage Centre (attraction)
  8. The Banana Leaf Apolo (restaurant)
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answered by
Rodger

Gardens by the bay, MRT train system ride, day and night safari at zoo, the flyer,  merlion square


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answered by
Jae from Singapore

Choices and more choices- Singapore has more restaurants than you can shake a stick at. If you get overwhelmed with the number choices and want to get a video preview of what hawker places and stalls look like, check out this cool t.v. series: Makan Places Lost and Found


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