Chinatown Point (#02-01)
133 New Bridge Road
T: (+65) 6534 4233
Where: Chinatown Point
We’re: Proper dim sum joint with very local clientelle
Wear: Clothes are not important, it’s all about eating
So-called because the word ‘mouth’ sounds similar to this restaurant’s Chinese name. Hidden within the mustard coloured building in Chinatown that you’ve probably passed dozens of times before but never been in to, come here for delicious and very local dim sum (they have the usual, easy to navigate tick-list menu with Chinese as well as English). Pop over to People’s Park Complex (via the link bridge) after you’ve finished for a spot of jewellery shopping (see FUN/Artistic/Creative Fun for details on their amazingly good value jewellery shops, some of which carry ready-made options) before crossing the road to YEW HWA (see BUY ME/FOR HER/Department Stores) which is our shopping mainstay in Chinatown.
Opening Times: 11am-11pm Mon-Fri; 10am-11pm Sat & Sun
GHIM MOH WET MARKET
Ghim Moh Road (off Holland Road)
One of the most famous wet markets in Singapore and fabulous for your daily dose of fresh veggies/kampong chicken/fish etc. The food stalls here are legendary at Ghim Moh and make for the perfect local lunch stop, provided you are not looking to go on a Monday (when most wet markets are shut for cleaning). To get stuck in to the hawker fare, park in the bays to the front of the market, and walk down the right hand side of all the various stalls (vegetable, fish and clothing). You will see a sign telling you that there is a loo on your left. Keep going straight and you are there, in the midst of Ghim Moh’s hawker centre. Stalls to try that have a legendary following and that are known by most Singaporeans include GUAN KEE for fried char kway teow (#01-12; closed Mon & Fri); there is usually a terrible queue (always a good sign) as it’s just Uncle cooking all on his own…but don’t let this stop you…get in line. The roast duck at JIU JIANG SHAO LA (#01-45) is also very good and you can ask for as much or little as you want – from a whole duck, chopped, to 1 portion of breast meat only etc. Add rice, gravy and some veggie and you have lunch fit for a king.
Opening Times: Usually around 5am-2pm is the best time to visit a wet market. Generally, the earlier you go, the less crowded and cooler it is. Closed Mondays. Some stalls close on Fridays too and some are even more random and close every alternate Friday – good luck and go figure…
2 Orchard Turn
T: (+65) 6509 9660
We’re: A delicious but more low-brow version of Paradise Inn
Wear: Ion-chic gear but anything goes really
Best Chinese restaurant in Ion and really worth finding. Order anything you like from the menu but the peking duck was crispy deliciousness (have the meat served with ee fu noodles after you’ve had the pancakes). The starters were incredible and the combination of pan-seared foie gras, wasabi mayonnaise prawn and slice of peking duck with condiments is out of this world/heart attack on a plate. Far, far superior to Canton-I which isn’t worth it (although it has fabulous décor).
Opening Times: 11am-2,30pm weekdays, 11am-4pm weekends; 6pm-9.30pm daily
320 Serangoon Road (#01-26/27/28)
T: (+65) 6294 2232
Where: Little India – just next door to Mustafa (slightly further down)
We’re: Northern Indian fabulousness
Wear: Sari – we’re authentic
They’ve been here for 18 years and even have their own chappati chap outside the restaurant, making the very bread that you are going to tear up and dip in to their delicious curry sauces….Come here to eat before, or after, you’ve embarked on the madness of Mustafa (if you suffer from any form of low bloody sugar, eat before you shop)! Full of a very local clientele, you can’t go far wrong here. We highly recommend the prawn masala and the saag paneer was delicious too.
Opening Times: 8am-11.15pm daily
140B Piccadilly – this is what they say their road is, but it isn’t, see below…
T: (+65) 6482 0244
We’re: Chicken wing wonder, in local, kampong setting
This place is the place to go if you want to eat buffalo wings in Singapore. In fact, it’s such a legendary, bizarre place that it’s worth coming here – and the other food is good enough to warrant it – even if you don’t. For starters, it’s deliciously obscure…and in fact an absolute mission to get to. This is mainly because the restaurant, despite what they tell you, is not actually on Piccadilly. You need to drive the length of Piccadilly before spying Old Birdcage Walk; take this road and once on it, follow any signs you see to ‘East Camp’. There is sometimes the odd ‘Sunset’ sign with rather faded arrows thrown in to the mix, so between both of them, you should be OK. Drive past the parked, private planes and helis and you are there – at the Singapore Flying Club which is where the restaurant is actually based. Super low-key, it’s actually a very well oiled machine and VERY busy. Time it wrong and with no reservation there can be an hour’s wait….(on the weekends they don’t take reservations, so it’s best to go later, just before their last order at 9pm). Other things to note are that the chilli heat of the chicken wings is rated and starts at a seemingly modest level 1 (hot, hot, hot – do not go higher) and goes up to level 10 – although they say they have an off-menu level 30 for those that dare. This makes it sound very gimmicky but actually it’s not, and the atmosphere, enhanced hugely by way of strings of fairy lights, the sounds of crickets and the sense of space the deserted green fields far from the city give you, really makes you feel like you’re on holiday. All the chilli they use here is actually Mexican – Asian chilli is apparently not hot enough. On the non-spicy front, you can actually ask for level zero buffalo wings; the burger is delicious and the full/half rack of pork ribs, very good too. Wine is chilled Italian red at around $8 a glass and there is of course Tiger. Corkage is $20 but probably not really worth it on the basis that this is low-key nosh.
Time it right and they are reputed to have a wonderful view of the sunset…and as it’s located near the Flying Club’s runway, you may even see the odd plane taking off or landing – perfect for children’s tea time…
Opening Times: 4pm-9pm Fri, Sat, Sun; 4pm-9.30pm Mon, Weds, Thu. Closed Tues
THE FRENCH STALL
544 Serangoon Road (opposite Shell petrol station)
T: (+65) 6299 3544
Where: In the most un-French place on earth: Little India
We’re: Bon marche makan
Claims to be the only French hawker stall in Singapore, with real hawker prices….which sounds pretty darn good and also rather unlikely. Certainly more ‘alfresco bistro’ than hawker, it does still managed to serve delicious and great value French fare. Owned and managed by a French chef, who allegedly used to work in a Michelin “starred” restaurant in Paris, and who produces, for the price, pretty decent French fodder. Do not go off-piste and get adventurous or you will be disappointed. Stick to the classics; we recommend the chicken liver pate to start with, followed by steak (the veal was not good and the snails weren’t either). Girls, make sure you pee before you come here as the loo is of the long drop variety – he argues that this is very French and therefore highly authentic! There is a second branch at MacPherson Lane (T: (+65) 6746 0183 – closed Mondays – check website for details).
Opening Times: 3pm-6pm (desserts only); 6pm-10pm
2 Tagore Lane
T: (+65) 6552 0020 or (+65) 9662 0020 (Benson’s handphone)
Benson’s the chap you need to speak to if you come here because he is the only person who speaks English. Only worthwhile if you are having a party and want to buy around $500 worth of beer, because, a/ they’ll deliver it free of charge – spend less and they won’t and b/the rather measily saving you make vs buying it at Fairprice ($60 for a tray of 24 cans; $54 here) is only worth it if you are bulk buying.
Opening Times: 8am-6pm Mon-Fri; 8pm-5pm Sat; closed Sun
Peninsula Plaza (#01-11/14)
111 North Bridge Road
T: (+65) 6337 4274
As fanatical as we are about a bargain and getting the best price, this is one of our top camera shops for no nonsense practical advice. You will not pay less than you should if you come here, but nor will you pay more – and they really know their stuff. Recommended to us by a professional Singaporean photographer as being good value and honest and the only place he goes to buy gear, we figured that there is no point reinventing the wheel. They also have an outlet in Marina Square but the staff are better in this branch.
Opening Times: 10am-7pm Mon-Sat. Closed Sun
SKILLS & RESOURCES CONSULTANCY
Peninsula Plaza (#03-30)
111 North Bridge Road
T: (+65) 6336 3351
A really good, non-expat maid agency that are able to suggest appropriate direct hires from the Philippines. They are also a good one-stop-shop if you want someone to help out with paperwork, regardless whether or not your maid came through them. Sadly Rina, who was brilliant, has left them, but ask for whoever is currently in charge.
Opening Times: 11am-9pm daily