With a population of 5.64 million living in a little over 728 square kilometres the city state of Singapore tops the list of most populous countries in Asia. Renowned these days as a world financial center, Singapore has always been an important trading hub on the Malacca Straits and has attracted immigrants, mainly from China and India. The influence of both of these communities together with local Malay culture has created a unique, vibrant blend that fascinates and attracts visitors. Here are some things to check out while you’re in the area.
Visit one of the hawker street-food markets
These are a mainstay of Singapore life from breakfast to dinner. Whenever you’re hungry a hawker center will fill you up for a very reasonable cost. Chinatown Market is the biggest, with a wet market downstairs and hawker stalls upstairs. There’s even Singapore’s first hawker bar Smith Street Taps so you can wash down your food with a beer.
Location: 335 Smith Street, Singapore
Try Peranakan cuisine
Also called Nyonya, these are the dishes evolved by early Chinese settlers in Malaysia and Indonesia. Using mainly Chinese ingredients with Malay and Indonesian culinary techniques and spices. One of the finest places to try this cuisine is Candlenut, a Michelin-starred restaurant run by chef owner, Malcolm Lee. Growing up surrounded by the aroma and flavor of his grandmother’s traditional Peranakan dishes he has taken these and created a modern interpretation that innovates while paying homage to this unique cuisine.
Cocktails at the Long Bar at Raffles
This heritage hotel is synonymous with the colonial era in Singapore’s history. The city state’s very own cocktail, the Singapore Sling, was first created here in 1915 by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon, or so the legend goes. If a mix of gin with cherry brandy, Benedictine, Angostura bitters, pineapple and lime juice, garnished with pineapple and a cherry is not to your taste the recently refurbished Long Bar serves up many other delicious beverage options in a relaxed atmosphere evoking the 1920s.
Play golf at Sentosa
Regarded as one of the best golf destinations in Asia, Sentosa golf club encompasses two awesome championship 18-hole, 72 par golf courses, Serapong and Tanjong. International stars players and world-class professionals are challenged and entertained by the greens and fairways with views across the sea to Singapore’s skyline. The clubhouse offers a variety of excellent dining options from award-winning fine dining at Chefs’ Table to sushi.
Visit a traditional shop house
One of Singapore’s unique sights is the row upon row of traditional shop houses. Traditionally, a shophouse has a narrow frontage with an overhanging second floor forming a sheltered pedestrian corridor at the front (called a five-foot way). You can make an appointment to visit Baba House, a three-story townhouse in Singapore’s Blair Plain district. Built around 1895 It used to be the home of a Peranakan Chinese family and preserves the early 20th century Peranakan style. The house was acquired by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2006.