Singapore Food Tour: Go Off the Eaten Track with A Chef’s Tour

Singapore Food Tour: Go Off the Eaten Track with A Chef’s Tour

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I’m like a dalmatian. Just mention the names of some cities and I start to salivate.

“Osaka”: {salivate}. “Bangkok“: {salivate}. “Barcelona”: {salivate}. “Lisbon”: {salivate}. These cities, for me, are synonymous with good food so the mere mention of their names makes me drool like a dog.

One of the cities that makes me drool the most is Singapore. This tiny island nation no bigger than New York City is one of our favorite destinations for food. From its myriad hawker centers and heritage stalls to its Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants, there is so much good food to be had in Singapore. And like New York City, Singapore is a melting pot of cultures with a diversity you can taste and appreciate in its food.

We’ve eaten our way through Singapore a few times but we’ve never gone on a food tour. So when our friends at A Chef’s Tour sent an email inviting me to check out their newest food tour in Singapore, you can probably guess what happened next.

{salivate}

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Plate of char siu

Off the Eaten Track: Singapore Food Tour

A Chef’s Tour is a tour provider that offers these really interesting food-focused tours in Asia and Latin America. I’ve been on most of their tours in Thailand and India as well as their recent offerings in Kuala Lumpur and Yangon. Not only will they treat you to a wealth of fantastic local dishes, but you’ll get a taste of the culture as well as seen through the eyes of a local.

This Singapore Food Tour is available from Thursday till Sunday and costs USD 175 per person, inclusive of all food and drink. You can book it on A Chef’s Tour or Get Your Guide. Be sure to check both links as one or the other may be offering a discount.

The tour starts at the exit of Farrer Park MRT station where you’ll meet Charlotte, an experienced tour guide who’ll take you on a 3-hour gastronomic romp through Singapore. With her, you’ll get to experience at least thirteen of the city’s best street food dishes while making stops at a few interesting cultural attractions.

As they say in Singapore, this tour is gonna be shiok lah!
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple

Our first stop on tonight’s tour was Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, one of the oldest and most important Hindu temples in Singapore. Its noted for its six-tier gopuram or entrance tower embellished with colorful figurines depicting the different incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Charlotte explained that this temple is the starting point for the annual Thaipusam festival. Thaipasum is celebrated in honor of the Hindu god Murugan and involves devotees piercing their tongue and cheeks with metal skewers while carrying elaborately decorated wire and feather structures called kavadis. The procession starts here and ends at Sri Thendayuthapani Temple.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

The temple’s ceiling is adorned with colorful circular patterns that represent the nine planets in our solar system.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Roti Prata

We then proceeded to the first food stop on our tour, a stall known for serving some of the best roti prata in Singapore. Roti prata is a type of Indian flatbread that’s typically served with a vegetable or meat-based curry. If you’re familiar with Malaysian roti canai, then this is the exact same thing. They just call it roti prata in Singapore.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

My beautiful pillowy disc of buttery and flaky roti prata. Ren and I love roti and often order it as an appetizer at Malaysian restaurants.

According to Charlotte, one of the things that sets this place apart is their curry, which they make with fish. They offer roti cooked with a variety of fillings like egg, cheese, onion, and banana, but for me, plain is always best. Why mess with perfection?
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Popiah, Rojak, and Satay

Our next stop was this restaurant where we had three dishes – popiah, rojak, and satay. I’ve had popiah and satay many times before, but this was my first time to try rojak. It turned out to be the most surprising dish from tonight’s tour.

Here you can see the restaurant’s servers preparing our popiah (left) and rojak (right).
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Popiah is a type of fresh Chinese spring roll popular in Taiwan and in many parts of Southeast Asia. It consists of a thin, pancake-like wrapper smeared with a sweet sauce and filled with a variety of ingredients like finely grated turnip, jicama, bean sprouts, and lettuce leaves. Depending on the individual vendor, it can be filled with other ingredients as well like fried tofu, crushed peanuts, pork, shrimp, and crab.

We eat this in our native Philippines too. We call our version “lumpiang sariwa”, or fresh lumpia.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

This is the rojak I was telling you about. Popular in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, it’s basically a salad made with fresh fruits and vegetables. Things like cucumber, pineapple, and green apple are placed in a bowl and mixed with a thick brown sauce made with shrimp paste, tamarind, sugar, chili, and crushed peanuts.

It’s a simple dish but packed with flavor and texture. It’s sweet, sour, savory, juicy, and crunchy with a nice punch of umami flavor from the shrimp paste.

Unripe fruit and fermented shrimp paste sounds off-putting at first, but it actually makes for a great combination. We do something similar in the Philippines with green mangoes and our version of shrimp paste called “bagoong”.

Rojak is a dish that definitely tastes way better than it looks. It’s delicious, addictive, and very refreshing, my favorite bits being the pineapple chunks that exploded with juiciness in your mouth. Charlotte enjoyed them too so we had to do a bit of chopstick dueling for the last few chunks. Ha!
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

The third and final dish from this restaurant were these tasty skewers of chicken satay with peanut sauce. Popular throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia where it’s considered a national dish, satay refers to seasoned meat like chicken, pork, mutton, or beef that’s been skewered on bamboo sticks and grilled to perfection. So so good, especially with ice cold beer.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Charlotte had me wash all that delicious food down with this tall glass of warm barley water, a traditional Chinese cooling drink typically enjoyed in summer, or in sweltering Singapore’s case, all year round. Barley is said to aid in detoxification and rid the body of excess heat.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Here’s me playing hide and eat with Charlotte behind my sticks of satay.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Minced Pork with Water Chestnut, Cabbage with Fermented Bean Paste

Next up was this popular restaurant where we had two dishes – steamed minced pork with water chestnut and vegetables with fermented bean paste.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

I had never seen this dish before but according to Charlotte, minced pork with water chestnut is classic Chinese comfort food. It’s basically a steamed patty made with lightly seasoned lean pork, water chestnut, spring onion, shallots, and other ingredients.

It was at this time when I asked Charlotte the one question Ren and I love asking everyone we meet: “What is your last meal? If you were to die tomorrow, then what would you eat tonight and why?”

Being such a food lover, it took several minutes of deliberation for her to realize that her hypothetical last meal was sitting under her nose the whole time – minced pork with water chestnut. She remembered fondly how her mother would often make it for her as a child. A comforting dish indeed.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Our second dish was this interesting plate of crunchy stir-fried vegetables and bean curd in a fermented bean paste.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

The Best Char Siew Rice in the Universe

Charlotte had me try many tasty things tonight, but this plate of char siew rice for me, was the absolute best dish from the tour. Char siew (or char siu) is a popular Cantonese dish of barbecued seasoned boneless pork.

I’ve been eating char siew all my life and this was by far the best version of this dish I’ve ever had. It was tender, meaty, fatty, and juicy with ultracrisp skin and a deliciously thick savory-sweet sauce. I enjoyed it so much I wound up going back the following day on my own. This is something I’ll definitely look for on every return trip to Singapore. {salivate}
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Thekchen Choling

After polishing off that heavenly plate of char siew rice, we made a quick stop at this Buddhist temple called Thekchen Choling.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Here’s a close-up of the temple’s giant mani or prayer wheel. Charlotte explained that prayer wheels contain thousands of copies of a mantra. Instead of saying the mantra over and over, all a devotee has to do is spin the wheel which is equivalent to reciting the mantra thousands of times.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Teh Tarik

I’m not sure if this will be part of your tour but Charlotte and I stopped at this restaurant to have some teh tarik to go. Teh tarik literally means “pulled tea” and refers to a hot milk tea beverage popular in some Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Made with black tea and condensed milk, teh tarik gets its name from the act of pouring or “pulling” the mixture back and forth to aerate and mix the drink. This repeated action cools the drink and improves its flavor.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

I’ve had teh tarik may times before but never in a plastic bag to go like this. Isn’t it cute? It was delicious too – hot, frothy, and very creamy.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Appam in Little India

We then walked to Little India to have the last dish on tonight’s tour – appam. On our way there, we stopped at this shrine that contained religious objects from the Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist religions. It was an interesting display that spoke volumes about Singapore’s ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity.

If you look back at the dishes from tonight’s tour, you’ll find that each of Singapore’s three main ethnic groups is represented. There are dishes from Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian cuisine. This cultural diversity is what defines Singaporean food.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

We passed this colorful mural on the way to the appam restaurant. You’ll find plenty of colorful murals like this one all throughout Singapore.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

This must have been around 10PM but as you can see, the area was still bustling with people. It was the perfect place to end tonight’s tour.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

This is appam, an Indian pancake-like dish made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. If you’re familiar with Sri Lankan food, then you’ll recognize it as a hopper.

Commonly eaten for breakfast or dinner, it’s often served with a mound of orange sugar and a cup of coconut milk. It’s delicious, like a thin, coconut-y crepe-like pancake.
Singapore Food Tour, A Chef's Tour

Conclusion

As described at the top of this post, Singapore is one of my favorite destinations for food. There’s just so much good food to be had here that it can be difficult coming up with a sensible itinerary. With only so many days to play with, I wind up trying to cram five or six eateries into one day! And don’t get me started on the inconsistencies of hawker stall opening hours.

If you don’t have that much time and can’t be bothered to come up with your own itinerary, then going on a food tour with a knowledgeable guide like Charlotte is a great idea. She’ll do all the work for you so all you have to do is show up and eat. Singapore is a melting pot of cultures and culinary influences so it was nice to see her come up with a tour that really showcased its diversity. In three hours, you’ll get to experience what shiok Singaporean food is all about.

This Singapore food tour costs USD 175 per person and includes all food and drink. Follow the link to book it on A Chef’s Tour or Get Your Guide.

A Chef’s Tour

Website: achefstour.com
Facebook: achefstour
Twitter: achefstour
Instagram: achefstour
Pinterest: achefstour
Email: [email protected]
Cost: USD 175 per person
Availability: Thurs-Sun

For more Singapore travel tips, check out our First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Singapore

The First-Timer's Travel Guide to Singapore

Disclosure

A Chef’s Tour flew me to Singapore to document this new food tour. They covered my airfare and accommodations and gave me a complimentary food tour in exchange for an honest account of the experience. As always, all words, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone.

Some of the links in this guide are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase at NO extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves and firmly believe in. We really appreciate your support as this helps us make more of these free travel guides. Thank you!

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