Singapore drinks


Singapore is famous for its large variety of food delicacies. But drinks in Singapore are also quite specific to the place. If you want to go local, try out some of my favourite drinks 🙂

Non alcoholic drinks:

Milo: The local instant chocolate drink. It is actually from Australia but is immensely successful in Singapore. It’s quite sweet, and ideal for a snack at anytime of the day, be it hot or iced! A personal favourite.

Teh Tarik: It’s a hot drink from Malaysia made of black tea and condensed milk, famous for being “pulled”. Check out this guy! The taste is quite bitter but you can add sugar. Definitely an interesting beverage to try when you’re in Singapore.

Soya Bean Milk: Also called Soy Bean Juice, Soya Bean Milk is a drink made out of Soya beans (it has nothing to do with actual cow milk) that originally comes from China. It’s best if you can get it fresh from the market in Singapore, although it exists in canned version but it’s often very sweet.

Kopi-O: That’s Singaporean for “black coffee with sugar” !! “Kopi” comes from “Coffee”, and “O” means a little sugar and no milk. Try not to get mixed up with Kopi-C (coffee with milk and sugar) or Kopi-O-Kosong (coffee with no milk and no sugar)!

Sugarcane Juice: I bet you didn’t know such a juice existed. It’s actually very good and not as sweet as it sounds. Try it out in a food court where they can prepare it before your eyes by pressing sugarcane in a machine. To me, it’s an ideal cooling off drink.

          

     

Alcoholic drinks:

Singapore sling: Probably the most famous and iconic drink in Singapore. It was originally created in the Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar by a bar tender named Ngiam Tom Boon. It is made of Gin, Cherry Brandy, Cointreau, Benedictine, Grenadine, Pineapple Juice and Lemon Juice. Dee-licious. And even more so if you try it in the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel to experience the only place in Singapore where you can throw Peanuts on the floor!! Simply a must.

Tiger beer: The local beer. I don’t think it’s really the best beer ever but you cannot come to Singapore and not try it out. And given the heat, a beer is always welcomed 🙂

                    

Little India


Among Singapore’s must do areas, Little India is absolutely worth visiting. To me, Little India is the perfect place if you want to have a taste and feel of India! Here are my favourite things to do around colourful Serangoon Road.

1. Have dinner at Khansama restaurant, at the junction between Serangoon Road and Norris road. The food is excellent, the staff very friendly and prices are affordable. If you cannot really eat spicy food they can tune it down for you. And if you do not live in Singapore and are used to Indian best sellers only (like Butter Chicken or Tandoori) you will be amazed by the length of the menu… Go on, try new dishes!!

2. Wander inside Mustafa department store and hunt for bargains. Mustafa centre sells books, CDs, DVDs, electronic goods, footwear, clothing, food, house appliances… basically everything. And this is precisely what makes it fun, you can find anything there!! It’s clearly a low budget department store, so I wouldn’t recommend to go there if you are looking for high-end quality objects. However, you should go there at least once to feel the atmosphere.

3. Experience the Indian crowd on a Sunday night… if you are looking for a real foretaste of India, Sunday night is the best option. Crowds are out, shops’ products are on display in the streets, fragrances invade the streets, women wear colourful sarees…

                         

4. Visit Hindu temples and learn more about Hindu deities! Check out Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman or Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India. But there are many other hindu temples in Singapore of course.

5. Take a stroll around the area when Deepavali lights are out. What a treat!! Deepavali (or Diwali) is the Indian festival of lights. It is a public holiday in Singapore which takes place at the end of October.

6. Enjoy an Indian breakfast! Dosai, chapatis, dahl… served altogether with masala chai, and there you go, a typical Indian breakfast right in the heart of Singapore!!

Of course when strolling around Little India you have to be ready to step into the Indian atmosphere for a while 🙂 But then again, Singapore is diverse and has a lot to offer, so you might as well go for it and live different types of experiences!!

And you, what are your favourite places in Little India?

Holland Village


One of Singapore’s well hidden places is Holland Village. Not sure you’ve heard of it? I’m not surprised!!

Holland Village (“Holland V”) is a nice spot for shopping, restaurants and bars. It is quite calm during the day and very lively at night, especially after working hours when office people meet up for a refreshing beer. It is usually packed with both locals and expatriates, which makes it a great spot to meet new people and blend in with locals if you’re an expatriate!

Best outlets in Holland V include:

1. Restaurants : you can find basically anything! European, Thai, Lebanese, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Australian, Mexican food … you name it! You will find famous restaurant chains like Crystal Jade or Sushi Tei as well as less well-known places like the Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant or La Nonna Italian Restaurant.

2. Bars : Of course, the most famous one is Wala Wala bar, a two-storey bar with a terrace, usually very very packed. Harry’s bar is also always a safe bet for cocktails. But mostly, Holland Village is full of pubs and bars with live music and happy hours, so really you can just walk around and choose your favourite!

3. Shopping places : In Holland Village you will find smaller shops usually specialised in one type of product, like antiques or IT items. There is also a Shopping Mall but I think that’s less charming…

I think Holland Village is a good name for this area, as it really does capture the spirit of a “village” 🙂

A taste of Chocolate


Here is a post for all my fellow chocolate lovers with a very sweet tooth!!

If you are in Singapore on a rainy Sunday afternoon and feel like trying something new for tea time, or if you have a sudden crave for chocolate and want to share a good slice of cake with your friends… go to Awfully Chocolate!! It’s my favourite place when I’m in a chocolate mood 🙂

My personal favourites include:

– The classic All Chocolate cake

– The Super Stacked Chocolate cake (if you are really hungry and fancy a strong taste)

– The Hei Ice Cream, the most tasty dark chocolate ice cream I’ve had so far

There are currently 8 Awfully Chocolate outlets in Singapore so find the closest one and give it a try! Their hot drinks are also quite good.

A second great chocolate experience for you could be on top of Marina Bay Sands, at The Club. They have an all-you-can-eat Chocolate Buffet where you can enjoy more refined chocolate desserts.

You can find more pictures and information on this great blog. And the best part is, you can take a swim on top of MBS when you’re done (that is if you are discreet about it because you are technically not allowed in if you are not a hotel guest).

Finally, do feel free to try out any chocolate places you stumble upon, most of the ones I tried were wonderful. Check out how cute this dessert is! I had this one at Max Brenner Chocolate Bar in Vivo City last summer.

Local delicacies


What do Singaporeans talk about ? FOOD !!

If you really want to localise and blend in, you have to know a few typical Singaporean dishes… I can guarantee this will enable locals to relate to you easily!!

Chilli Crab – Simply a must do on the island, and there are many seafood restaurants where you can order it, like Jumbo Seafood Restaurant for instance.

Satay Sticks –  Beef, mutton or chicken on a stick, served with peanut sauce, chilli, rice cakes and cucumber. De-li-cious. Especially when you buy it as a take-away at East Coast Lagoon Food Village and eat it on the beach directly from the plastic bag while enjoying the late breeze by the sea. Hmmm.

Hainanese Chicken Rice – Some people say it’s Singapore’s national dish ! Originally from the island of Hainan in the South of China, the dish is simply boiled chicken served with rice cooked in the chicken broth. It’s even more delicious with thick black sauce !! A personal favourite 🙂

Fish head curry – or « Ikan Merah » in Malay. Red snapper head cooked in a curry and coconut sauce.

Laksa – A Peranakan (mixture of Chinese and Malay culture) specialty. Laksa is a super fragrant and quite spicy noodle soup. Curry Laksa is the best, with coconut and curry in it.

Nasi Lemak – In Malay, « nasi » means rice and « lemak » means coconut. Therefore it is rice cooked in coconut, served with peanuts, cucumbers, fried fish and sometimes deep fried chicken. Don’t worry if it’s served in a banana leaf, it’s clean (trust the Singaporeans)! A second best favourite 🙂

Bak Kuh Teh – A fragrant Chinese pork rib soup.

Char Kway Teow – Very famous in Singapore (and can also be found in Singaporean restaurants in other parts of the world too !). Thick rice noodles (« kway teow ») cooked in dark soya sauce and served with Chinese vegetables, eggs and usually prawns or beef.

Ice Kachang – Try this desert ! It’s grated ice with red bean, jelly and syrup. It looks very colourful, you can’t miss it.

These dishes are very local and can mostly be found in hawker centers, food courts or coffee shops (rarely in restaurants). For more information on where to go, be a true singaporean and refer to www.hungrygowhere.com !!

Man I’m hungry now !!

More typically Singaporean dishes available here

Haji Lane


I decided not to write about the major « must-do » places in Singapore (Marina Bay Sands, Sentosa, The Singapore Eye, The Raffles Hotel…) to begin with. I’d much rather share my personal experience of the city and write about the places I like most.

One of my favourite areas is definitely Haji Lane. It’s a tiny alley buzzing with energy and new ideas, where entrepreneur and artists of all ages start their own shop, a place where you can simply walk around and enjoy the atmosphere, while having a look at outlets’ fashionable and original products on display… and who knows ? You might just end up buying the item you had been looking for for a long time !

Why don’t most tourists stop by Haji Lane ?

Well you see, when you are stopping over in Singapore for a few days, guidebooks and travelling websites will recommend you to go to Arab Street to experience the “muslim district” by the mosque, but few will really tell you about the charming lane hidden between Arab Street and Bali Lane (where the Blu Jazz Cafe is, also quite famous). So as a result, you might end up walking up and down Arab Street, thinking it’s mainly full of touristy shops, and leave a little disappointed. My recommendation : take the time to walk around famous places ! You will discover quaint places that you are bound to love.

What is there to do on Haji Lane?

1. Eat

We all know this is a major subject of interest for both tourists and locals. There are a few eateries on Haji Lane that you might want to check out : the Altazzag serves delicious Egyptian food, the Bistro Parisien will provide you with French-halal food, while Piedra Negra has delicious tapas and mexican delicacies… And they are all really good!

2. Shop

Of course, you will want to shop. Haji Lane is a great place to find original designs and fashionable items, ranging from vintage clothes to home furnishing, women’s accessories and jewellery, books and DVDs, paintings… To me it is the perfect place to search for items you couldn’t find elsewhere.

3. Chill

Coffee and Ice Cream places on Haji Lane are very relaxing and not that expensive. Also, Going Om is one of my favourite spots. It’s a very nicely decorated sheesha place, with decorative paintings on the walls and a very charming second storey too. I definitely recommend it for a chilled outing.

Inside Going Om

For more information on Haji Lane, try this.