Seah Street Deli


Who says Singapore is boring and always the same? If you look hard enough, you might find a couple of surprising places… like this American Diner on Beach Road, incorporated into the Raffles Hotel building !

Seah Street Deli is a very surprising restaurant to find in the Raffles Hotel. While you might be expecting fancy European food or beautifully served Chinese meals, Seah Street Deli will serve you typically American food! Interesting for a restaurant located in an iconic hotel of Singapore right? 🙂

Their menu includes salads, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizzas and snacks… basically anything you might be in a craving for if you are American and miss your home country. The portions are huge too, so make sure you don’t eat too much during the day before you go there 🙂

I must admit the food is sometimes a little oily or fat… However one of the reasons why I love this place is because of the atmosphere! The decoration, floor and furniture really make you feel like you are in a whole other place. There’s even a jukebox in a corner!! And even though I’m not American, I love to be able to “travel” while still being physically located in Singapore. Well, actually, located in the HEART of Singapore!!

That is yet another great thing about Singapore, it’s that it is truly global and connected to the world, and not only to Asian countries!! I guess that is why so many Foreigners choose to settle down in Singapore… not only are there great career opportunities, but it’s also a place where you can feel at home, no matter which country you are from!! And from my point of view, it is very rare to feel at home in another country… so if you are American and need a taste of home, do try out this restaurant! And let me know what you think 🙂

Singapore’s colonial heritage


You might be thinking, like many, that Singapore destroyed most of its old buildings to make way for skyscrapers and office towers… and that Singapore is something like this:

But can you spot the low old-looking building right in front of the towers? That’s the Fullerton Hotel. One of Singapore’s many colonial buildings that still exist today… Did you know that the Fullerton Hotel walls were built in 1928? That’s how old some pieces of history are in Singapore. It was once the Singapore Chamber of Commerce, before it opened as a hotel in 2001.

Another masterpiece of Singapore’s colonial heritage is the Raffles Hotel. It was in 1887 that it first opened its doors… and at that time it had only 10 rooms! And did you know that people say this is where the last tiger of Singapore was shot dead? In 1902 in the Bar & Billiard room…

Still today, the Raffles Hotel remains an iconic landmark of Singapore. You can go have a walk inside the hotel and have a look at the luxury shopping boutiques. The inside courtyard is also splendidly taken care of, and you can really feel the luxury and long history of the site when you wander around for a while. Of course, you shouldn’t miss out on the Long Bar, THE most famous place to have a Singapore Sling in Singapore… And you shouldn’t miss out on the Raffles Museum either !!

Last but not least, I would like to share with you one of my favourite things about Singapore… shophouses. They are a heritage of Singapore’s colonial era. Their structure is very simple : a shop or restaurant on the ground floor and a comfortable living space above. To give you a better idea of what they look like, here are some pictures:

Aren’t they beautiful? My favourite shophouses are located on East Coast Road. Their colours and detailed sculpted facades are simply gorgeous. You can find them basically anywhere in Singapore, like in Chinatown, Little India, or downtown around the Raffles Hotel, like on Purvis Street for instance.

Needless to say, Singapore has many hidden treasures. And unlike what people may think, she is still taking care of leftover pieces of her very valuable history!! The URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) is the organisation in charge of preserving this beautiful heritage.

Singapore’s history


Singapore is an intriguing island… If you stop and think about it, it truly is one of a kind!

Of British colonial descent, it is now mainly populated by Chinese people living together with Malay and Indian people. From a simple fishermen’s port, Singapore has become a key financial hub and the world’s busiest harbour in terms of total shipping tonnage. And did you know that Singapore’s gain of independence from Malaysia was felt by all as a failure rather than a victory?

Here are a few key dates to help you better understand Singapore’s history:

13th century: A prince of the Malay empire founds the port of Temasek where Singapore now stands.

29th January 1819: Sir Stamford Raffles arrives in Temasek and establishes a trading post for the British East India Company. Raffles separates the city in different areas for each population and Singapore gradually becomes the centre of government of the Straits Settlements, a division of the British Empire. Singapore is a prosperous colony.

1939: World War II breaks out. On 15th February 1942, Britain’s “Jewel of the East” falls into the hands of Japanese invaders. Singapore is renamed “Syonan-to” (“light of the South”) and thus begins the Japanese occupation of Singapore.

1945: At the end of the war, the British return to Singapore but change the island’s status to a separate crown colony, allowing Singapore to hold its first elections.

1962-1965: In a referendum, Singaporeans vote for a merger with Malaysia. However, racial riots in Singapore makes the Malaysian Government very angry and on 7th August 1965, Singapore is declared independent. Lee Kwan Yew, Singapore’s Prime Minister, cries on television and seems to think Singapore’s fate is doomed… Racial and political tensions are very strong.

1980s: The PAP (People’s Action Party) wins all 75 seats in the 1980 General Election. Lee Kwan Yew’s role as the “nation’s architect” begins…

I really find Singapore’s history exciting and fascinating. If you have time to deepen your knowledge of Singapore’s origins, I would recommend you to visit the National Singapore Museum, or watch this Discovery Channel DVD recommended by a friend. Absolutely worth your time!!

Clarke Quay and it’s history


For those of us who are interested in bars, clubs and parties, Singapore has a lot to offer too.

Of course, the first place the young people will tell you is : Clarke Quay!! Located by the Singapore river, Clarke Quay is overcrowded on Saturday and Wednesday nights (known as “Ladies’ night”, as girls can enter for free before midnight in some places). You might want to check out :

Bars : Chupitos for shots, Cuba Libre for great latino live music, Highlander for live hits, 7inch if you’re into rock music and like playing pool, Mulligan’s Irish pub for a pint, Indochine for a fun decoration and loud music… you can even have a shot of vodka in an ice bar in The Forbidden City! Worth a visit. Don’t worry, they lend you a jacket.

Night clubs : Attica if you are in the expat mood, Pump Room for live music, Le Noir for the French, Zirca if you’re into electro music and enjoy a young local crowd…

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This is Clarke Quay as we know it today. However there is a whole other story behind the place. Did you know that Clarke Quay played a major role in Singapore’s history?

Clarke Quay is where Sir Raffles disembarked when he first reached Singapore… on Feb 6th 1819! At that time, warehouses were built by the riverside so that European and Chinese merchants could store their goods in a safe place, which was also very conveniently located when merchandise needed to be transported on bumboats. Just try and picture how busy the river was 200 years ago…

The riverside area was then named “Clarke Quay” after Sir Andrew Clarke, Singapore’s second Governor in the 1870s. Later on, Clarke Quay became “Clarke Quay Festival Village” and underwent works to become what we see of it now, colourful disney-like shophouses…

Personally, I don’t really think the “new” Clarke Quay is very charming. However, Singapore still made an effort to keep some trace of her past by keeping the warehouses instead of having them demolished. And I truly believe we should be grateful for that!!