Singapore's melting pot of cultures each has their own cuisines, so its quite easy to find Chinese, Indian, Malay and Indonesian food. The closest thing Singapore has to a native cuisine is generally referred to as Nonya and mixes Chinese ingredients with Malay herbs and spices. Of course, as with any big international city, you can easily find the foods of just about every culture on the planet. You just have to know where to look.
Over the last few years are so, numerous "historical" areas have been developed, such as Bugis Junction, Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Chinatown. These are very tourist-oriented areas, where the development has a Disneyland quality to it. The buildings have been completely gutted, and some even built from scratch, to conform to an ideal of what we think old Singapore should look like, rather than what they really were. That doesn't make them bad places for eating a relaxing dinner, though and most of them are almost entirely devoted to restaurants.
Our favorite was Clarke Quay. It had the requisite compliment of far too many restaurants to choose from easily, but unlike Boat Quay just down the river, it also has carts and small curio shops to poke around in while trying to decide what kind of food you're in the mood for. It had a fairly radical facelift in 2005 and 2006 that saw big plastic umbrellas installed over the open areas, and the carts and curio shops closed. At Boat Quay almost all the dining area is right on the river. Across the river, the neo-classical museum is brightly lit at night, making a highly romantic setting for an intimate dinner. After dinner, take a stroll down past the end of Boat Quay where the plaza of a large modern office complex affords many places to sit and watch the lights play on the water.
[July 2003] -- The latest place to dine with a great view is the collection of restaurants attached to the new Esplanade performing arts center. It sits on the waterfront near the Suntec City and Marina complexes, facing the skyscrapers of the business district. Restaurants range widely in both cuisine and levels of service.
Other Dining Areas
There are little collections of restaurants all over Singapore. This is a town that loves to eat! Here are some other handy ones to know:
Lau Pa Sat
In the heart of the financial district, where Sinapore's seafront used to be, is the huge Victorian cast iron gazebo now called Lau Pa Sat. Originally, this was Singapore's first fish market, now its a glorified food court. Its popular with office workers for lunch, and also with tourists as well as late-working businessmen in the evening.
Far East Square
This partly covered street of restored shophouses off Cross Street around Telok Ayer Street is popular day and night with a variety of bars and restaurants.
Ann Siang Hill
The curving lane of Club Street on Ann Siang Hill is interesting architecturally in the daytime, but at night the wine bars and other entertainment venues open up, and Club Street becomes a very mixed and casual place to relax in the evening.