Singapore has always had an exciting mish-mash of cuisines. It was an important port throughout history, and a bubbling melting pot of cultures as well. Having a large immigrant population, Singaporean food has always really been ‘fusion’ food. They have everything from the native Malay ethnic cuisine though to Chinese, Indonesian, Indian and of course influences from the Portuguese and English cuisine’s – if you want interesting and unique culinary fusion, then Singapore is your one stop shop.
But sadly the excitement of Singapore as a foodie destination seems to have been lost along the way. Even for us….
We have been to Singapore a few times before, but only passing through. 1 or 2 nights maximum, never actually taking the time to stay longer and see what the city had to offer. We merely grabbed some chicken rice, to feel like we were eating ‘authentic local food’ and then jumped on our plane, off to our next destination.
And I think this is the impression most people get of Singapore – Wham Bam, See ya later…..thanks for the chicken rice!
This time around we actually stayed for 5 nights total. Still not a very long time to explore and discover all that Singapore has to offer, but we decided that if there was one thing we were going to do during our stay – it was eat!
Surprise surprise huh!
Like the rest of the world ‘Gastro Mania’ has hit Singapore – hard! Gastro as in gastronomy – the art of choosing, cooking and eating good food….not the other gross kind. I seriously can’t believe how many times I’ve had to explain this recently…..
Anyways – way we wanted to check out the scene and see what to eat in Singapore, to seek out a few of the funkiest places in town that are serving up delish food with a modern fusion twist, alongside some delectable locally made craft beers and cocktails.
Dinner in Singapore
This micro-brewery is situated in an up and coming area of town. Previously known for it’s stores selling hardware, today in-between the still present stores you’ll find hip bars and restaurants popping up all over the place. What we loved about The 1925 was the fact that the owners had stayed true to the history of the building, utilising and embellishing the origins of the building to create a gastro-pub with a modern touch but with a very historical feel.
Upon arriving we met Ivan the co-owner and chef of The 1925, who warmly welcomed us and took the time to answer any of the questions we had about the bar – which was a lot. It was obvious from the very beginning that he and his brothers idea of starting a micro-brewery based on their uncle’s recipes, and creating modern fusion cuisine that blended perfectly with these beers was more than a business – it was a passion.
Their 2,400 litre microbrewery is pumping out their home made brews that all seem to come with a story of their childhood:
The Yellow Van – Pale Ale. It’s named the Yellow Van because the owners grandfather / father used to ferry them around in his trusty bright yellow van, which he also used to transport his dry goods for his grocery store.
BLK6.22 – Dark Ale
The name comes about because the beer is brewed at 6.22 ABV (alcohol by volume). This is also the block number of their grandfather / father home in Singapore.
There is so much family pride and history intertwined with this microbrewery, you can’t help but be in awe of the stories Ivan tells, each more fascinating than the next. But we couldn’t sit around drinking beer and talking all evening….there was food to be eaten.
First up came 2 paddles of pure awesome.
1. Because they were just gorgeous to photograph
2. Because they were full of tasty surprises – that we liked very very much!
The Chicken Skins – Fresh chicken skins deep fried into a golden crisp, and garnished with fresh alfafa and lemon slices. Ivan actually got inspiration for this dish while in Phuket Thailand. He hounded a local street vendor to teach him how to make the skins just the way she did – and when she refused, he stood there for 4 hours watching every move she made so he could recreate it back home. The final product is so moor-ish the paddle will be finished before you’ve even know what has happened – delish!
and the Beef Paddle – which consisted of 300g of prime rib eye served with red wine sauce. This is a dish that those that like their meat cooked a real medium rare will thoroughly enjoy. Soft, not chewy in the slightest, and full of flavour.
Next came the King Prawn Pasta – Two king prawns served in spaghetti coated in spicy chilli crab paste.
This meal was a fantastic fusion food that incorporated the flavours of the local chilli crab paste with a more western style traditional pasta meal. The end resort – a very quick ride to yum yum town!
Finally we tasted the Crispy Egg Aglio Olio which is spaghetti tossed with a gravy of minced beef, chilli flakes, garlic and olive oil. Topped with deep fried crispy egg “fluff “and Chinese Sausage.
(talk about the fusion of traditional Singaporean spices and the western pasta dish)
We left the bar full of tasty food and craft beer, and full of a brand new knowledge about Ivan, his family and their history of brewing beer and cooking throughout the years in Singapore. We really had a fantastic time!
To find out more check out The 1925 HERE
If you’ve ever glanced at our Instagram feed, you might have noticed we have a slight obsession with burgers. We love travelling the world and trying different restaurants unique takes on this classic western meal. We’ve tried Michelin star burgers in Hong Kong, camel burgers in Morocco, yak burgers in China – and everything in between. So when I came across MeatLiquor’s website while researching our trip – I knew we HAD to pay a visit.
The decor in this bar is out of this world. You’ll spend so much time staring at the walls you could forget to eat your meal…..actually that is a totally lie because who could forget they have a tasty burger sitting in front of them. But it is still a very cool place.
We sat down with the manager Ian who took us through the menu. MeatLiquor is actually a brand that started in the United Kingdom and there are some household favourites that your will find on the Singapore menu including the “Dead Hippie” Burger and the “Monkey Fingers” which are not actually fingers of monkeys – phew! But incredibly yummy battered chicken filets, lathered in housemate hot pepper sauce that you dip in a blue cheese dipping sauce. (Drooling just writing this seriously!)
These were fantastic but we were interested in also trying a few of the dishes on the menu that had it’s inspiration firmly seated in Singaporean culture and cuisine. This is why we also ordered the HDB Chicken Tower Burger, which gets it’s name from the well know high density government housing in Singapore, HDB stands for Housing Development Board.
We also chowed down some shambal fries. Shambal is a clever play on the traditional Sambal sauce used in Singaporean cooking. The “Sham” comes from the fact that it’s not nearly as spicy as the original sauce and it’s a bit of a sham…get it ????
A traditional Sambal sauce is made with a variety of chili peppers that are then mixed with other ingredients such as shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger,shallot, scallion, sugar, lime juice, and vinegar. It has some serious punch to it – which is why it has been toned down for the Shambal fries – but it is still bursting with flavour. The fries are also served with a fried egg and crispy onions as well as the shambal sauce on top. It was a really interesting fusion and one we thoroughly enjoyed.
Drinks wise, while there is a fantastic selection on beers to choose from off the menu, Ian told me about a deconstructed Pina Colada that is a house specialty. So while I arrived at MeatLiquor Singapore expecting to have some classic burgers and beers, I ended up going with Ian’s suggestion – and I’m glad I did. While it’s not the prettiest looking drink to photograph (which is why I’m going to leave it out – sorry), what it lacks in looks it makes up for in flavour. In order to even access the drink you have to break through the top of burnt coconut meringue, and let me tell you, when you do hit liquid and it mixes with the meringue in your mouth, the taste is sensational. A thoroughly delicious and refreshing cocktail – loved it!
To find out more check out MeatLiqour Singapore HERE
We actually went on a bit of a burger and beer extravaganza while in Singapore….we tried traditional local food too but I will save that for a different article.
While visiting Cook & Brew the specialty gastro-bar at the The Westin Singapore we discovered the “Hawker Burger”. A mix of traditional Char siew-style pork, crispy pork belly – yes pork on pork! sambal mayonnaise all on top of a melt in your mouth beef patty. The Char siew-style of cooking refers to a traditional Chinese way of preparing and Barbecuing the pork, often giving the pork a strong reddish colour. As you can see below the burger is certainly worthy of the title of “food porn” when it is delivered to your table.
One thing that really grabbed us about Cook & Brew was the fact that all of the food on the menu was paired with both local and international beers. The Hawker Burger was paired with Tiger beer, a Singaporean classic brew since 1932. The Steamed White Clams with house-cured pancetta, leeks, chilli, heirloom carrots, cider, herbs that we had as a starter, pairs perfectly with Mystic Peach a beer from the Haacht Brewery in Belgium. The Prime Angus Striploin 12 OZ steak with roasted mushrooms, mustard greens, stout and garlic butter that Tommo ordered as his main is best enjoyed with Guinness. And the list goes on….
We often find that these well thought through pairings can elevate your meal to a whole different level. Choosing the wrong beer can be disastrous for your meal experience, so we really appreciated the hard work being taken out of choosing an appropriate beer. Cook & Brew also have one of the most extensive beer lists we have seen in quite some time, so there is certainly something for everyone. If you are not a big fan of beer – never fear! They also have a stella cocktail selection as well. We ordered the Tiki Tuka, which I think should win the cutest looking cocktail award – if there is one!
Have you ever discovered that you can be full from eating and drinking, full to the point where you can already feel a food coma coming on….but then they bring you the dessert menu and you go “ohhhh look at that. Well, there’s always room for dessert!”.
It’s a strange phenomenon. How is it that you see some tasty dessert on a menu, and no matter how full you might be, you suddenly utilise stomach space you never knew you had in order to fit it in! We’ve all been there – we’ve all done it! And it’s exactly what Tommo and I did the night we dined at Cook & Brew!
And this is why……
Tommo has a super soft spot for Sticky Toffee Pudding, and I’m sure you’ve guessed already – it was on the menu! In fact it was described as “Molten” sticky toffee pudding, what man could possibly resist??? So I went along for the dessert ride as well and continued my night of pork indulgence by ordering the Smoked Bacon Caramel Chocolate Bar.
What can I say to describe these two desserts? Decadence!!! If you are a fan of the sweeter things in life – than this would be your own slice of heaven.
Now I’ve been rambling on about the food and booze so much I completely forgot to mention the fantastic view you get while dining at Cook & Brew. Situated on the 33rd floor of Asia Square Tower 2, Cook & Brew boasts stunning views of the Marina Bay. We happened to be visiting during the Chinese New Year and even managed to view a fireworks display during our meal which was super special.
Where to stay in Singapore
Singapore is overflowing with accommodation options, and with so many out there it can be hard to know which would be ideal for your stay. Some people want convenience to the airport for quick stop overs, some want to experience some of the uber luxury Singapore has to offer. Others like us, like to be in the heart of it all. To stay in a place that is well positioned so that we can get around easily on public transport, or even walk to the sights we want to see. This is why we decided to stay in Singapore’s Chinatown.
klapsons, The Boutique Hotel was an instant choice for us as it is a boutique hotel with a strong emphasis on design. Design hotels are becoming more and more popular, and we really like staying in a place that is more than just a place to sleep. Design hotels like klapsons, The Boutique Hotel are a place to explore fascinating and unique aspects of the hotel, but also a place that offers all of the latest in modern technology to make sure your hotel experience is just as memorable as the major sights you see during your trip.
We booked into The Executive room which we were surprised to discover had a little outdoors area with seats and a shower. It was stinking hot when we were in Singapore and I really enjoyed heading outside for a refreshing shower whenever I wanted. There was also a shower inside the room but in a very unique location to most hotel rooms…..LOL
I do also have to mention that we fell in love with the beds.
Both Tommo and I slept like babies during our stay. The rooms are quiet, there are blackout curtains to keep out the light (which is great seeming there are floor to ceiling windows) and you can’t hear the traffic of Singapore at all – it was everything we love in a hotel room.
Sadly when we were there the upstairs bar Fabrika was closed for Chinese New Year, but we have heard that it is a funky place to hang out and enjoy a cold beer on a hot day in Singapore. We were sad we missed it – but it’s certainly a bar we want to check out next time we are in Singapore.
For more info or to book a room at klapsons, The Boutique Hotel CLICK HERE
While we were in town we were also interested in checking out the Adler hostel, which is Singapore’s first luxury hostel.
Adler Hostel is nestled right in the heart of the historical district of Chinatown and is in a great spot to explore the city with ease. Built in a converted traditional Chinese shop house, the Adler Hostel perfectly blends old history with new modern design. Upon entering the hostel we were surprised to find it set out like the comfortable yet stylish front room or lounge room of someone’s home. It feels really homely and welcoming. Below is the common area, reception and also where you will find your complimentary breakfast in the morning – eggs, toast, pancakes, orange juice the works. Yum!
We had booked into the Kings Cabin mixed dorm, which we discovered was on the 4th floor. Just as a heads up, there is no lift in the hostel. As I said before it is a traditional Chinese store – they weren’t really around when this was built! But even though we had to climb a few flights of stairs (it’s not that difficult honestly) – the blast of air conditioning that welcomed us as we entered the dorm room was sensational.
The King dorm is what you might imagine – a mixed dorm room that has king size beds instead of just a single bed. We love this concept as it it perfect for friends or couples who are perhaps looking for a more affordable accommodation option, but without having to split into separate beds. Also the privacy that is offered for each pod is incredible.
Each space comes with:
1 x king mattress with extended shelving and safe space
1 x comfy pillow of choice (feather & foam)
1 x fluffy down quilt
1 x fresh white hotel quality linen set
1 x fresh white towel
1 x clothes hanger
1 x pair of ear plugs
Also the curtains that surround the pods are blackout curtains, so you are guaranteed a peaceful nights sleep.
Just checked into the first luxury hostel in Singapore. Located right in the heart of china town, this hostel is the perfect place to relax in style and easily experience the best of Singapore! Look at our cute little double bed dorm – so cozy! @visit_singapore @adlerhostels #singapore #luxury #hostel
A photo posted by Megsy & Tommo (@foodfun.travel) on
Adler Hostel does also offer the traditional single bed dorm room, as well as 2 dorms for the ladies. They have a single bed room and queen bed room that are completely female only. A fantastic option for solo female travellers.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Adler Hostel – Singapore’s first Luxury Hostel. The staff were friendly and very helpful, it’s in a fantastic location, and the design of the hotel and the rooms was beyond our expectation. The showers were even rainwater shower heads. Everything was carefully considered for today’s modern flashpacker at Adler Hostel.
For more info or to book a room at the Adler Hostel CLICK HERE
More boutique hotel options:
Set in vibrant Little India, this hip, high-concept hotel is a 5-minute walk from a metro station and 2 km from the Singapore Flyer observation wheel.
A stone’s throw away from Chinatown and Singapore’s CBD, The Club is an ideal spot to explore the best of Singapore.
This boutique luxury hotel is located within walking distance of Little India, and a short taxi ride away from the heart of Singapore and Marina Bay.
(click he hotel name for more information)
Of course Singapore airbnb is a great option for accommodation as well! We love airbnb!
So there you have it – 5 days of solid eating and drinking, with a bit of sightseeing on the side. As it was Chinese New Year in Singapore there wasn’t a whole lot of things to do, it is a 4-5 day public holiday for most people. So we figured that eating ourselves stupid and chillin’ in funky boutique accommodation was a great way to spend our time.
As I mentioned earlier, we did also visit quite a few hawker markets and local restaurants to experience more traditional Singaporean food. But you’ll have to stay tuned for that article…..COMING SOON!
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