New on the Food Scene
The latest in a destination that prizes its foodie culture
• On Sept. 1, Marina Bay Sands introduced New York City’s Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer to the Singapore populace. The opening marks the Asian debut for the chain, which went from a 15-seat gourmet burger joint in SoHo just three years ago to seven restaurants around the world today — including a spot in the Venetian Las Vegas, also owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp. The 140-seat restaurant offers its acclaimed burgers, craft beers and over-the-top CrazyShake milkshakes, in addition to salads, vegan options and, soon, items unique to Singapore. More than 15 shakes are on the menu at the CrazyShake bar. The adult-beverage bar includes 20 craft beers, including local brews, and a variety of signature cocktails. Read more here.
• Singapore is campaigning to nominate its hawker culture for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status. The nation is famous for its hawker centers, which are indoor markets packed with traditional street-food stalls, where hawkers prepare and serve inexpensive, traditional dishes. The centers have come to be representative of Singaporean culture as a whole, with their multiethnic mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian specialties, among others, served and enjoyed in a communal space. To be awarded a place on UNESCO’s 2020 list, Singapore will need to submit the official nomination by March 2019. Officials are seeking to preserve the culinary traditions and skills for which hawkers are known, and ensure they are passed down to future generations. Read more here.
• The first MasterChef Asia winner, Wai Leong Woo, opened Restaurant IBID in March. The Nanyang-style contemporary Chinese restaurant combines the East-meets-West sensibility of Wai Long's own background and examines the concept of creations that come from the same source — ibid, in Latin.
• Caffe Fernet opened in February 2018, a 130-seat restaurant and bar at the Customs House. The fare is light Italian-inspired and the ambience casual, but part of what distinguishes the spot is the pedigree of the owners, who are behind some of the most lauded bars in Singapore (Gibson, Jigger & Pony). This new enterprise features an extensive cocktail list as well as entrées like spanner crab spaghetti and sheep's ricotta agnolotti.
• The LAVO Italian Restaurant and Rooftop Bar debuted atop the towering Marina Bay Sands in January of this year, in partnership with the TAO Group. Don't miss the famous LAVO Meatball, made from Imperial Wagyu beef and Italian sausage. The space offers a 180-degree view of the cityscape from 57 stories up, and a DJ keeps the scene lively at night at the outdoor bar and terrace.
• In the works for 2019 is a restaurant from French master Alain Ducasse at the iconic Raffles Hotel. The hotel currently is in the midst of an extensive renovation and is slated to reopen this fall. Details about the new restaurant, Ducasse's first in Singapore, are still to come. The legendary chef, who now owns more than 60 establishments globally, was the first to operate three-Michelin-star restaurants in three different cities.
Uncle Tour Guide
Walking tours are an ideal way to discover Singapore's colorful ethnic enclaves, but you can likewise experience the sights, sounds and scents from the comfort of a trishaw, which seats two alongside the guide who does the pedaling. Trishaw Uncle is licensed by the Singapore Tourism Board and provides a variety of tour experiences, including in Little India, Chinatown and Kampong Glam, the Arab quarter. Trishaw Uncle is experienced in creating customized tours for groups as well, from corporate outings to special occasions, team-building exercises and more.
Stay Another Day
The Singapore Zoo now remains open after sunset to offer Rainforest Lumina, a multimedia night-walk experience among the sleeping tenants of the zoo. The half-mile trail takes guests through 10 interactive light installations and multisensory zones. The experience, which is S$22 for adults and S$16 for children, kicked off on July 1.
City in a Garden
Gardens by the Bay is a sprawling, 250-acre swath of waterside botanical gardens and futuristic structures, combined into a colorful indoor/outdoor extravaganza. Visitors can tour countless ecosystems, explore the Flower Dome, ascend the suspended walkways within a Cloud Forest conservatory and much more. A number of spaces within can be rented for private events. Or check out the Supertree grove, filled with man-made tree-like structures as tall as 165 feet — which provide shade during the day and light up at night for a Vegas-like light-and-music show.
For those iconic views of Marina Bay, you'll want to ride the Marina Bay Sands elevator up 57 stories to the Sands Skypark. A spacious wraparound observation deck provides a dramatic perspective of the bay and Singapore's city skyline. Even more dramatic is the world's largest rooftop infinity pool, just above the deck, although only hotel guests are currently permitted to immerse themselves.
Singapore is world-renowned for chilli crab; anyone who leaves without sampling the dish would be remiss. Chilli crabs are stir-fried with a slightly sweet, slightly savory tomato and chili-based sauce and served with steamed or fried buns on the side. Every local will have his or her favorite joints, but one good bet is Jumbo Seafood, which has five locations throughout the city. Try the Riverside Point branch, an expansive restaurant and patio on the river amid a slew of tourist-friendly sites, and with five private dining rooms available within. Pro tip: Ask for the crab market price to avoid financial surprises following the feast.
Outskirts / Side Trips
The fact that Sentosa — known as Singapore's getaway island resort — is only 15 minutes away is testament to the compact allure of the city. The 1.2 million-acre island is owned by the Sentosa Development Corp. and designed for fun: It's home to Resorts World Sentosa and a Universal Studios theme park, as well as luxury hotels, spa retreats, rainforests, beaches, golf courses, a deep-water yachting marina and swanky vacation homes. Arriving via cable car from Mount Farber provides the best views.
National Parks maintains and cultivates four nature reserves and more than 300 parks across Singapore, allowing for countless opportunities to convene with nature. The MacRitchie Nature Trail offers one popular hiking option just three miles from the city center and populated with macaque monkeys. Free guided tours are available for MacRitchie and many of the popular trails, but National Parks also makes it easy for visitors to explore on their own: Download a free walking guide and map — complete with hike times (from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the hike), difficulty ratings and explanations of all of the sites on each trail. At last count, 40 DIY walking guides were available.
Down on the Farm
The D'Kranji Farm Resort, in the northwest of Singapore, provides a full-on local farm-stay experience, with an atmosphere that seems a million miles away from the city. The resort offers a wide variety of tours, workshops, prawn fishing and koi feeding, as well as 35 villas for those who wish to stay a night or two. There are three eateries on-site: a farm-fresh-ingredients restaurant, a vegetarian establishment and a pet-friendly café.
That's the Ticket
Singapore has become known for some world-class events throughout the year. Consider these when planning your meeting.
• Singapore Food Festival (July): The destination celebrates the food festival's 25th anniversary this year, which promotes the rich history and diversity of the local cuisine, from hawker centers to cafés to Michelin-starred restaurants.
• Singapore F1/Singapore Grand Prix (September): Formula 1's first-ever nighttime grand prix is held annually at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
• Singapore Art Week (January): The acclaimed event will hold its seventh edition in 2019, a 12-day celebration with art fairs, gallery openings, exhibitions, lifestyle events and more.
Guest Rooms - 392
Meeting Rooms - 9
Largest Conference Room - 705 sq. ft.
Total event space - 163,777 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $292-$468
Guest Rooms - 1,252
Meeting Rooms - 18
Largest Conference Room - 24,294 sq. ft.
Total event space - 72,237 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $202-$434
Guest Rooms - 608
Meeting Rooms - 15
Largest Conference Room - 16,420 sq. ft.
Total event space - 37,959 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $354-$1,278