A slice of Mexico in Singapore…


Do you ever get tired of Asian food? Sometimes I do… Not that I don’t enjoy it (on the contrary!!) but just that after a while it’s nice to go for a change…

When I feel like having something different for dinner, one of my favourite places is Piedra Negra, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Haji Lane. “Piedra Negra” (which means “black stone”) actually has nothing to do with Black… it’s extremely colourful!! And I love it because the atmosphere is lively and very latino-like!

Deco at Piedra Negra

Deco at Piedra Negra

Deco at Piedra Negra

Some of the deco reminds me of Barcelona, some of South America… Actually the menu is not all Mexican, as you can have Spanish tortillas or South American empanadas! Hmmm yummy all my favourites! A luxury to have these in Singapore maybe?

Piedra Negra is also a great chill out place, and I recommend you try the nachos, served with guacamole, frijoles, jalapeno chili (careful there, it’s really spicy!!), and covered in melted cheese – see picture.

Tacos muy buenosAlso a good combination, have it with a glass of cool sangria, or frozen margarita (even though in the Singapore heat it will not stay frozen for long).

Prices are reasonable too, and the staff is really friendly. There is an outdoor area as well, right along beach road, which is very pleasant on a windy evening…

Go check it out and tell me what you think! 🙂

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Bar Stories on Haji Lane


Remember Haji Lane? Small, discrete and yet trendy street hidden in Kampong Glam near Arab Street?

I was there last time I was in Singapore and although some places are still there, I must say that shops there change quite quickly! Maybe because the rent is very high… Even so, it is also nice to see new shops and places to discover, it’s a good change in a place like Singapore where people complain it’s too small and always the same… 🙂

I discovered a new place that people had told me about, Bar stories. You have to look for it, it’s not very well indicated, and on the second floor too.

The originality of this place is that you can customise your own cocktails/mocktails. And if you have no idea what combination would be best, the bartender will help you out if you tell him your usual preference (sweet/sour/fruity/else…).

I really enjoyed my drink, and so did my friend with hers. I asked for something not too sweet and refreshing and I was given a cool lime-based mocktail with little bits of kiwi, while my friend had a sweeter and fruitier drink with strawberrys. Yummy.

The setting is also quite relaxing, with nice cafe-style touches. And prices are ok (although they must be higher at night for cocktails). So go for it 🙂 I recommend it !!

More nightlife spots


When you ask people about the best bars and night clubs in Singapore, most of them will tell you to go to Clarke Quay (CQ). Of course, CQ remains a top-of-mind location for Singaporeans and Foreigners. However, there are more nightlife spots that you might want to check out.

Here are a few personal favourites:

1. Club Street

Club Street is not very far away from Chinatown. It is a small circular street where you can find many restaurants and bars worth trying out! Drinks and snacks might be a little more expensive than in Clarke Quay, but the atmosphere is more refined and relaxing, and you can also choose to go there during happy hours if you are on a budget. To me it is an ideal place to go for a drink and chill.

The best bar I can recommend is Barrio Chino. But really, you can just try any bar in the area. Club Street bars are mostly shophouses, which makes evenings there very pleasant as you can step onto the roof top for some fresh air and admire the view over Chinatown.

2. The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel

Singapore is famous for being an extremely clean city. But did you know that there is ONE place in Singapore where you are allowed to litter?

It’s the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel, where it is a custom to throw peanut shells on the floor! It’s also where the Singapore Sling was first created. Although quite pricy, the Long Bar is definitely a must-do for drinks in Singapore!!

3. Cocktail bars

If you feel like trying something a little more sophisticated, try cocktail bars! You can go to B28 on Ann Siang Road, which just recently opened not too far away from Club Street. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s definitely on my list. They also have Jazz sessions with both local and foreign musicians! Otherwise you can also go to Haji Lane and have a cocktail sip at Bar Stories, although the place is smaller.

4. More night clubs

Aside from Attica, Zirca, Rebel, Le Noir… which you can find in Clarke Quay, Singapore has more nightclubs in other areas.

Of course, Zouk is one of the most famous clubs. They have 4 different rooms and regularly have guest stars performing. And let’s not forget Mambo-Jambo night every Wednesday, where they play disco music from the 70s and 80s… Great fun! They are also very famous thanks to Zouk Out, a giant beach party organised by Zouk every year in Sentosa.

Other clubs include St John’s Power Station’s Power House, a former power station transformed in a night club, located near Harbour Front, and Butter Factory, also an icon in Singapore’s nightlife, near the Fullerton Hotel by Marina Bay (super trendy people call it “Butt Fac” !).

And you, what are your favourite nightlife spots in Singapore?

Shopping: is Singapore expensive?


Let’s say you are in Singapore and feel like going on a shopping spree. But you were told that Singapore was expensive. Well here is news for you! Singapore might not be as expensive as you think, it simply boils down to knowing the right places…

1. Garments and accessories

Of course the first place which comes to your mind is Orchard Road, the perfect place for luxury and branded items (if you haven’t been there yet, check out ION, Tangs, Ngee Ann City or the recently opened Abercrombie and Fitch store).

However, you can also find less expensive clothes in globalised brands outlets, like Uniqlo or Zara for instance. Most of these brands are in shopping malls like 313@Somerset or Vivo City near Harbour Front. If on the contrary you are willing to try unique garments, you should go for designer clothes and jewelry from Haji Lane!

Finally, if you would rather not spend too much, check out Charles and Keith outlets for shoes : they are usually comfortable, trendy and cheap. Another option for tighter budgets could be Far East Plaza’s basement, Bugis Street, Chinatown or Little India where garments and accessories are usually coming from China. Do not expect excellent quality though…

2. IT products

Singapore might not be as cheap as other Southeast Asian countries when it comes to IT, but there are still many places where you can make a bargain.

You could start with Orchard Road, the most obvious place to go first. However if prices seem to high or if you find the selection too restricted, go to Funan Shopping Mall or Sim Lim Square. Both malls are famous in Singapore for the choice they provide regarding IT products (I bought a 500GB hard drive a year ago in Sim Lim Square and it really does the job!). Also, Holland Village is a safe bet for cheap and reliable devices (try Parisilk for example).

3. Fine art and decorative objects

If you are looking for fine art or decorative objects to bring back to your home country, you can try Chinatown, Kampong Glam or Little India. They are safe bets and not too expensive compared to what you could find on Orchard Road. You might also find fine art items from Cambodia in the Holland Village Shopping Mall, and typically Peranakan objects in shophouses along East Coast Road.

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For other types of items, here is what I would recommend:
– Books : Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City for their large choice of literature,
– Fun accessories : Bugis Street for cheap and shiny party add-ons,
– CDs and DVDs : HMV, or Mustafa Center in Little India,
– Fine jewelry : Chinatown, definitely.
– Sports equipment : Queensway Shopping Center of course!

Also, do not forget that the best way to make a bargain while shopping in Singapore is to wait for the GREAT SINGAPORE SALE, which takes place every year in June and July. Discounts are really worth it !!

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.