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We Filipinos definitely love our rice and ulams (viands/main dishes), especially anything that involves fried dishes and pork. Generally, we are also very accustomed to dishes that are either on the salty or on the sweet side.
Although some of the younger generation’s palates have become more adventurous when it comes to trying out foreign cuisines especially while traveling, we still have to accept the fact that some of our family members (a.k.a. parents, grandmas/grandpa, and young children) still need some time to get used to the unique culinary flavors and creative dish varieties that other countries offer, especially from a culinary melting pot such as Singapore.
If you are a Pinoy tourist and it’s your first time to set foot here (or even if you have been here many times but have been missing out on the good ones), check out these recommended dining options that are easy on the pockets and are swak-na-swak for the typical Filipino tastebuds.
|Photo from sgsnaps.blogspot.com|
Makansutra (Nearest MRT station: Esplanade)
Price Range: SG $5-$15 per order
If you know someone working or residing in SG and are planning to catch up while eating a variety of local food, they will most likely take you to this alfresco dining venue located just outside Esplanade. Best for dinners, Makansutra boasts a dozen stalls on the bay side serving the best local, inexpensive food from cereal prawns, sting rays, chicken wings, fried rice, Singapore fried noodles/Kway Teows, among many others. Craving for Pinoy dishes to add to the mix? Thank god, Gerry’s Grill also has a stall here serving your favorite pansit canton and inihaws.
|Photo from hautestuff.blogspot.com|
Din Tai Fung (Located in most malls in Singapore)
Price Range: SG $6-$20 per order
What’s a trip to Singapore without trying out their local dimsums. Din Tai Fung is probably one of the popular dimsum food chains in the country with long queues every single day. They probably have one of the most delicious truffle xiao long baos (dumplings with soup inside) and steamed buns as well.
|Photo from hungryinsingapore.wordpress.com|
Antoinette (Penhas Road, Nearest MRT station: Lavender)
Price Range: SG $12-$20
Looking for some cutesy and out of the box resto? Antoinette is a Parisian patisserie with three branches now (Mandarin Gallery, Palais Rennaisance, and their original branch at Penhas Road). Although the place may look intimidating at first because of its sophisticated ambiance and nicely decorated interiors, once you step in, you will easily feel the coziness of the place and you might even get tempted to eat all their colorful macarons at one go. They serve all-day big breakfasts, main courses such as pork bellys & braised beef, pastas, crepes, pancakes, and other delicious desserts.
|Photo from molly-mia.blogspot.com|
Food for Thought (National Museum of Singapore, Nearest MRT station: Dhoby Ghaut)
Price Range: SG $10-$20
Famous for their all-day breakfast menu, Food for Thought serves their eggs with a twist. Order the Basic Works and you will get scrambled eggs with bacon, and their freshly baked brioche (SG$7++). Upgrade it to House Works and you will get additional hash browns with thyme tomato salad (SG$12++). If you think these are not sufficient, you can order the Full Works instead and get more sides such as the garlic mushrooms and chunky sausage (SG$18++).
|Photo from danielfooddiary.com|
Wee Nam Kee (Nearest MRT station: Novena)
Price Range: SG $6-$10 per order
Located just in front of the Church of St. Alphonsus in Novena, Wee Nam Kee is the perfect hearty lunch place after your Sunday mass. Devour a whole or half chicken rice set meal with veggies on the side. You can request either roasted or steamed chicken, or even order half of each instead. Tip before eating your chicken rice: Pour the heavy dark soya sauce on your rice for a much more flavorful taste. And for your sauce, mix the garlic, chili, and the light soya sauce together and dip your chicken on it.
|Photo from symmetry.com.sg|
Symmetry (Nearest MRT station: Lavender)
Price Range: SG $12-$18 per order
Hidden in a small alley along Jalan Kubor, Symmetry is a quaint, small French-inspired cafe that serves the best waffles, tarts, and chocolate tiramisus. Customers love their cozy ambiance and cute little nooks. They also have very pretty windows and great outside views–best for muni-munis.
|Photo from pamexpatlife.blogspot.com|
Spizza (Nearest MRT station: Chinatown)
Price Range: SG $12-$15 per order
Are you into oven-baked, thin-crust pizzas? Then Spizza is your best bet for some Italian fun night-out. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll get confused and will never have enough of the dozens of pizza variations they have in store for you. From Anna (tomato, mozarella, bolognese sauce, mixed mushrooms) to Zara (nutella, banana, almod flakes), they have delish combinations ranging from A to Z.
|Photo from straitstimes.com|
Lau Pa Sat (Nearest MRT station: Raffles)
Price Range: SG $3-$10 per order
Lau Pa Sat is the eternal “food cathedral” of Singapore and is considered a glorified hawker center in the city. With almost a hundred food stalls inside, you can easily buy anything you wish to eat. From Western delights to Vietnamese phos, nasi lemaks, Indian currys, satays, ice kachangs and even Pinoy dishes such as Tapa King, Lau Pa Sat is a haven for any foodie in town. To enjoy the buzzing vibe of the place, try visiting during dinner time. Avoid lunch hours on weekdays as it’s usually packed with people working around the area.
|Photo from hungrygowhere.com|
Orchard Road’s Street Food: Ice Cream (Nearest MRT station: Orchard)
Price Range: SG $1
Orchard will forever be in every other tourist’s itinerary. And while you shop ’till you drop and stroll along every other mall in this very busy part of the city, take a break and try out the $1 scoop of ice cream from the street vendors along Orchard Road.
|Photo from cavinteo.blogspot.com|
Chamber (Far East Square, Nearest MRT station: Raffles)
Price Range: SG $8-$10 per order
Since Filipinos are big on rice and fried chickens, Chamber’s Fried Chicken Briyani is the perfect solution to your hungry tummy come lunch time. The serving is just right (and maybe more than enough for some) and to top it all, try ordering as well a refreshing Longan Drink to cleanse your palate. They also serve Western food such as pasta during lunch. However, the chicken briyanis are only available during lunch as the alfresco eatery transforms into a bar and drinking place come dinner time and are also closed during weekends.
|Photo from sg.entertainment.yahoo.com|
PasarBella (Nearest MRT station: Farrer, Holland, or Botanic Gardens)
Price Range: SG $12-$18 per order
If you have the luxury of time while in Singapore, try heading down to the Western part of the island and experience food variety at its finest. Known to many as a “Farmer’s Market,” PasarBella will excite you as it doesn’t offer typical food stalls you will find in the city. Inside this spacious complex is a community-based environment which offers a seafood market, meat & dairy sections, wines & craft beers, and global cuisines. From paellas to the high-end cheese and freshest crops & veggies, you can purchase everything in this foodies’ paradise.
|Photo from nibblingallday.blogspot.com|
Tiong Bahru Bakery (Nearest MRT station: Tiong Bahru)
Price Range: SG $8-$15 per order
Nowadays, a lot of neighborhoods in Singapore have transformed into a hip dining/hangout place. One classic example is the Tiong Bahru estate which suddenly saw the increase of cafes and bars in the past few years. Head down to Tiong Bahru Bakery, an artisan bakery, which is best for weekend morning catch-ups and chitchats with friends. Aside from their island-wide famous croissant and coffee, try ordering their squid ink burger with salmon and ham for a unique quick bite.
|Photo from flickr.com|
Kampong Glam Cafe (Nearest MRT station: Nicoll Highway or Bugis)
Price Range: SG $5-$8 per order
Typical tourists always miss out on the “exotic”/not-so-popular spots in a country and have always been going for the more mainstream ones. In Singapore, most Pinoys often ignore the unpretentious allure of Arab Street, a small neighborhood where you can find the indie-fashion alley of Haji Lane, the Muslim mosque of Masjid Sultan, and the dozens of bars offering inexpensive shishas. For those on a tight budget, head down to Kampong Glam Cafe for some decent Malay food. From roti pratas to teh tariks (local milk teas), mee siams (spicy noodles), and rice combos (e.g. chicken, veggie and rice), you will definitely enjoy the food they offer in this tiny eatery while getting fascinated by the fun atmosphere in this side of the town.
|Photo from joonelovesfood.blogspot.com|
No Signboard Seafood (East Coast, Nearest MRT station: Bedok)
Price Range: SG $40-$60 per order of chili crab
Your Singapore experience won’t be complete without tasting the world-famous chili crabs. Although generally the prices of seafood here in SG are quite heavy on the pockets, ordering chili crabs is definitely one for the books. Tip: order sets of buns (which resembles to our very own monays in the Philippines), dip it into the crab’s sauce, and eat it alongside your crabs. Yum!
|Photo from en.wikipedia.org|
Lucky Plaza (Nearest MRT station: Orchard)
Price Range: SG $5-$8 per order
After several days of touring Singapore and going on a culinary adventure, by this time we are pretty sure you want to eat something more familiar to your Pinoy tastebuds. And where else is the best place to eat inexpensive Filipino dishes? Head down to Lucky Plaza and be surprised with the multitude of offerings they have on each floor from turons, to lumpias, and halo-halos. Kabayan (#03-25) for example serves all-day budget meals. For only $5, you can already order two viands (such as adobo, sinigang, kare-kare, and more) with rice. Or better yet, visit Jollibee’s (#06-048A) first ever store in the country for your favorite Chickenjoy or Jolly Spaghetti.
Whether it’s for a short or for a long vacation, you will definitely never run out of food choices here. But the magic lies in surprising yourself and discovering the best finds in town.
Feel free to write your comments and suggestions below if you know any other must-try dining spots in Singapore.