Ahhh traveling – in my opinion, there’s nothing better than exploring the sites, sounds, and tastes of a new place. That said, once I know where I’m going, I spend endless hours planning out where to eat. Life’s too short for shitty meals, and if I’m visiting somewhere I may never be again, well, the pressure is on!
The last time I was in Singapore was two years ago, at the tail end of an incredible Southeast Asia trip through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. You would think that I would be sick of Asian food, but no – we were only just beginning! As my husband was busy at work, I booked myself a “Wok ‘n Stroll” Culinary Adventure with the incredible Karni Tomer at the Tiong Bahru Hawker Center. I left with all buttons bursting, as well as an incredible amount of knowledge about Singaporean food and culture. Karni was an inspiration to me – an Israeli expat, who came to Singapore seven years prior for a short stay, never left, and made a business out of her extensive love of food. Moreover, she earned the respect of the hawkers, who treat her like a sister and open their stalls to her visitors.
After finding out I’d be living in Singapore for 3 months, my first phone call was to Karni asking if she wanted a partner in food exploration, and to my sheer delight, she remembered me and vowed to be my SINGAPORE big sister – Ali, put the claws away!
Singaporean food is much like Singapore itself – a blend of cultures. Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan, Indonesian, Thai… and well, Western. This city is a foodie’s dream – and everyone here takes their eating seriously. Get in a cab and ask him to bring you to Jumbo Seafood, and he will tell you that his favorite Chili Crab is at Long Beach. Strike up a conversation with a local at a coffee shop while they’re taking a break from the office, and they will write down the names and numbers of their favorite stalls in an unknown hawker center. There are over 100 hawker centers on this small island, and nearly 5,500 individual stalls… The options are endless!
Singapore isn’t only about street/hawker food; the best chefs from all over the world – Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali, Kanaseka, Tetsuya Wakuda (etc etc) – have all opened restaurants of their own here. And now finally, as of 2016, Michelin published its first ever guide to the city.
Over the next few weeks, I hope to open your eyes (and stomachs) the best Singapore has to offer – if you promise you will roll me home!
First off, here are some shots of my Hawker culinary adventures at ABC Brickworks and Tiong Bahru (currently my favorite, so keep scrolling) with Karni of Wok ‘n Stroll… Stay tuned, as my next installment will feature Tecca Center and Chinatown Center.
Check out these mouthwatering photos, and let’s go, lah!
Tiong Bahru – My FAVORITE Hawker Center so far!