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EATING IN SINGAPORE

 
The Regent Singapore
Orchard Road Shops / Singapore
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£58.82-£187.73
Traders Hotel Singapore
City Center / Singapore
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£54.76-£134.54
Quality Hotel Singapore
Singapore / Singapore
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£22.52-£265.96
Fraser Suites Singapore
Singapore / Singapore
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£63.83-£2,180.85
Copthorne King's Hotel
Downtown / Singapore
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£43.80-£150.18
Sheraton Towers Singapore
Downtown / Singapore
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£70.40-£312.89
Grand Hyatt Singapore
Singapore / Singapore
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£78.22-£172.09

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Along with shopping, eating ranks as the Singaporean national pastime. An enormous number of food outlets cater for this obsession, and strict government regulations ensure that they are consistently hygienic. The mass of establishments serving Chinese food reflects the fact that Chinese residents account for more than three quarters of the population. North and South Indian cuisines give a good account of themselves too, as do restaurants serving Malay, Indonesian, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese food. The closest Singapore comes to an indigenous cuisine is Nonya , a hybrid of Chinese and Malay food that developed following the intermarrying of nineteenth-century Chinese immigrants with Malay women. Several specialist Chinese restaurants and a number of Indian restaurants serve vegetarian food , but otherwise vegetarians need to tread very carefully: chicken and seafood will appear in a whole host of dishes unless you make it perfectly clear that you don't want them.

By far the cheapest and most fun place to dine in Singapore is in a hawker centre or food court , where scores of stalls let you mix and match dishes at really low prices. Otherwise there's a whole range of restaurants to visit, ranging from no-frills, open-fronted eating houses and coffee shops to sumptuously decorated establishments. Most open 11.30am-2.30pm and 6-10.30pm daily.

Breakfast, brunch and snacks
Western breakfasts are available, at a price, at all bigger hotels, most famously at the Hilton or Raffles. For a really cheap fry-up you can't beat a Western food stall in a hawker centre, where S$8 buys steak, chops and sausage. The classic Chinese breakfast is congee, a watery rice porridge augmented with strips of meat, though dim sum tend to be more palatable to Western tastes. An abiding favourite among Malays is nasi lemak, rice cooked in coconut milk and served with sambal ikan bilis (tiny crisp-fried anchovies in hot chilli paste), fried peanuts and slices of fried or hard-boiled egg.

Breakfast With An Orang-Utan , Singapore Zoo, 80 Mandai Lake Rd, Northern Singapore (tel 360 8509). A bumper American-style spread, shared with whichever orang is on duty, costs S$15.50. Daily 9-10am.

Breakfast With The Birds , Jurong BirdPark, Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim, Western Singapore (tel 265 0022). A buffet of local and Western breakfast favourites, eaten alongside caged songbirds; S$12. Daily 9am-11am.

Champagne Brunch At The Hilton , Hilton Hotel, 581 Orchard Rd (tel 737 2233). Around S$60 buys a superb free flow of delicacies - oysters, salmon, curry and cakes - washed down with litres of champagne and orange juice. Reservations are essential. Sun 11.30am-2.30pm only.

De Boa (HK) Restaurant , 42 Smith St. Right opposite the Chinatown Complex, a smashing little coffee shop offering dim sum, pau and Chinese tea. Daily 7.30am-5pm.

Mr Bean's Café , 30 Selegie Rd, Colonial District. Based in the same wedge-shaped colonial building as the Selegie Arts Centre, Mr Bean's Café draws an interesting crowd with its muffins, croissants, toast and coffee.

Spinelli Coffee Company , 01-15 Bugis Junction, 230 Victoria St, Colonial District. San Francisco-based outfit that's riding on the local mania for fresh coffee; the narrow bar is ideal for a quick expresso.

Tiffin Room , Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd, Colonial District (tel 337 1886). Have your buffet breakfast here and you won't eat again until dinner; S$25 per person. Daily 7.30-10am.

Yasinn Restaurant , 127 Bencoolen St, Colonial District. Does a roaring trade in roti prata (fried bread) and curry sauce each morning.



Hawker centres and food courts
Although hawker centres are kept scrupulously clean, they are often housed in functional buildings which tend to get extremely hot, so an increasing number of smaller, air-conditioned food courts are popping up, where eating is a slightly more civilized, if less atmospheric affair. Hawker centres and food courts are open from lunchtime through to dinner time and sometimes beyond. Avoid the peak lunching (12.30-1.30pm) and dining (6-7pm) periods, and you should have no problems in finding a seat.

Chinatown Complex , Smith St, at the end of New Bridge Road, Chinatown. A huge range of dishes with a predictably Chinese bias.

Food Junction , B1, Seiyu Department Store, Bugis Junction, 200 Victoria St, Colonial District. Happening food court where Thai, Japanese, nasi padang and claypot cusines are all represented.

Hastings Road Food Court , Little India Arcade, Serangoon Rd, Little India. Diminutive food court whose handful of stalls are labelled by region - Keralan, Mughlai, Sri Lankan and so on.

Lau Pa Sat Festival Market , 18 Raffles Quay, Financial District. The smartest hawker stalls in Singapore, and now open round the clock.

Orchard Emerald Food Court , Basement, Orchard Emerald, 218 Orchard Rd. Smart food court, bang in the centre of Orchard Road, where the Indonesian buffet is great value.

Picnic Food Court , Scotts Shopping Centre, 6 Scotts Rd, Orchard Road District. Slap bang in the middle of Orchard Road, squeaky clean, and with lots of choice.

Satay Club , Clarke Quay, Singapore River. A Singapore institution not to be missed, serving inexpensive chicken and mutton satay. Open evenings only, from around 7pm.



Restaurants
We've listed a representative selection of the thousands of restaurants that span Singapore.

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