He’s traveled the globe in search of the world’s best eats, but chef and TV star Anthony Bourdain tells ALEX FREW MCMILLAN there’s no better city to nosh in than Singapore
Published on May 31, 2010
I hated Singapore the first couple of times I went, but it snuck up on me. The heat really hit me hard the first time, that’s for sure. And it is not the most beautiful city in Asia—it’s like a big shopping mall.
For me, going to Tokyo is like dropping acid—it is a mind-blowing experience. And I love eating around the dai pai dong in Hong Kong. But if I was looking for the best food in one confined area, and the most variety, it would be Singapore. It’s one of the more exciting places to eat, and is foodie heaven, because of the heady, natural mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian, all in that one tiny country. And there’s a strong and well-supported culture of street food and hawker centers.
You can eat very differently, and with very good food, very cheaply, every meal of every day you are there. And it’s still street food— there are pretty rigorous health regulations. When in Singapore, I tend to lean toward the Chinese spectrum of things. I’m always excited by Chinese cooking, and particularly when it’s mixed over time with Malay or Indian.
My favorite spot is a place in Geylang called Sin Huat Eating House. It’s super-casual, if not funky, with unfriendly service. It’s in the red-light district and the food is spectacular. They have a crab bee hoon there that is off the hook.
The first time I went was very soon after Kitchen Confidential came out. And then there have been subsequent visits promoting the TV show and then shooting the show. So I’m there a lot, and if there is even the most far-fetched business reason to go, I go. It’s really a function of the people I’ve met there and the friends I have made.