Singapore is famous for its street food but the fine dining scene is just as exciting, with a host of top chefs running creative new restaurants. Aun Koh, founder of the Singapore food blog Chubby Hubby picks his favourites
Go back a few decades in Singapore’s culinary history and the only praiseworthy things were its well-known street food, a handful of upmarket hotel restaurants and Les Amis, the city-state’s first independent, high-quality French restaurant. Today, while its street food is still widely known, most locals agree that the same dishes are done much better (and more affordably) across the Straits in Malaysia. The big news in the tiny nation’s culinary scene hasn’t come from its hawkers but from its chefs – toqued, jacketed, some starred, some hatted, and many of whom have come from distant lands. Singapore, in the last 10 years, has become a nexus for great young chefs, eager to make a name for themselves and find well-heeled patrons who will not just spend freely in their restaurants but back them and their concepts financially. Chefs such as André Chiang and Ryan Clift, both foreign and both with impeccable kitchen credentials, have opened successful flagships in Singapore and have been embraced, by the country and its people, as national culinary icons.
More recently, the dining scene has become even more diversified. Chefs who have slogged it out at big-name establishments have started to branch out, opening tiny, trendy places that cater to a range of audiences. Young locals who have travelled have started emulating niche concepts, finding that Singapore’s population is ready to seek out the extraordinary culinary offerings. And smart entrepreneurs, recognising the global virality of food trends are quick to open concepts that are bang on trend.