50 Things to Eat in Singapore Before You Die 2012
Singapore's die-die-must-try dishes, according to I-S Magazine
We’ve done it yet again folks. After many an arduous eatathon, we’ve finally narrowed it down to our 50 fave eats for 2012. As always, we present them in no particular order. And for those of you who’ve managed to eat your way through our last two 50 Things to Eat lists, good on you.
Read 2010's list and 2011's list.
1. Dubois’ lobster bisque at Balzac Brasserie
You don’t have to be a soup fan to be pleased with this rich yet not too creamy number; its accompaniment of sautéed mini Qweli prawns takes it to another level. $16.
2. Slow-cooked egg at Esquina
There’s something incredibly sexy about a properly slow-cooked egg (hint: it’s got everything to do with the beauty of runny yolk). Add on some tasty, oh-so-tomato-y brava sauce, potato espuma and shards of crisp jamón ibérico and you have yourself a real winner. $20.
3. Eggplant parmigiana at PepeNero
It’s hard to go wrong with layer upon layer of buffalo mozzarella, aubergine, aged parmesan, sundried tomato and black truffle. $21.
4. Mee siam at Old School Delights
Accompanied by fresh and juicy tau pok, firm beancurd slices and half a hard-boiled egg, the thick, full-bodied gravy complements the rice vermicelli wonderfully—a little spicy, tangy and sweet all at once. $5.50.
5. Memory at Restaurant ANDRE
You’re missing out if you’ve yet to try this signature creation by chef/owner André Chiang. Take some foie gras, whip and cook it before setting it like a jelly, then complete it with an earthy mushroom stock and black Périgord truffle coulis that’s adorned with chives. There’s an amazing depth of flavor to be found in this beautifully-presented edible work of art. $288 as part of an eight-course Octaphilosophy degustation.
6. Pepperoni pizza at Extra Virgin Pizza
Hard to pick favorites from these fresh-baked, leopard-spotted pies really, but if we must, it’d have to be the spicy pepperoni. It’s a true blue classic. $22.
7. Nigirizushi at Sushi Ichi
Don’t let the hefty Kaiseki-only price tags deter you from paying this spot a visit. The freshest seafood is flown in four times a week from Tsukiji fish market (where else?) to allow sushi maestro Yabe-san to craft superb nigirizushi; think lightly-chilled seafood and warm, firm grains of rice—paired with fresh wasabi grated by hand. From $60 for lunch and $210 for dinner.
8. Kouign amann at Tiong Bahru Bakery
Everyone’s raved about their crossiants, but it’s their kouign amann that makes us weak in the knees. A buttery coil of flaky pastry with a caramelized top balances savory with sweet perfectly; especially great with a cup of strong black coffee. $3.50.
9. Le Homard at Joël Robuchon Restaurant
A fresh addition to the menu from the world’s most decorated Michelin-starred chef at his namesake restaurant, this umami-laden dish of roasted lobster with black pepper sauce is accompanied with exquisite drapings of uni. From $160 as part of a two-course Menu Appetit.
10. Pancakes at Kookaburra Restaurant & Gastrobar
Don’t pass on fluffy pancakes, accompanied by caramelized apples, rhubarb-cinnamon ice cream and pork belly (oh yeah) at this all-day brekkie spot. $22.
11. Époisses de Bourgogne at LP+Tetsu
Forget a boring old cheese plate, celeb chef Laurent Peugeot takes a cube of Burgundy Époisses cheese, then batters and fries it till golden. The crisp exterior gives way to a soft, oozy center that’s offset by the subtle sweetness of raisins de Corinthe. $20.
12. Maryland crab cakes at nosh
We’ve had many a crab cake in our lifetime, so believe us when we say these babies with red coconut-scented curry are outstanding; a side of fresh cucumber-apple salad serves as the ideal contrast. $16.
13. Short rib hash at Bistro Soori
When we wake up, we often find ourselves craving brunch in the form of house-made short rib hash with two eggs done any style (we favor sunny side-up) and toast. $24.
14. Sichuan salad at Let’s Toss
A Chinese-style pick and mix salad of marinated veggies that’s surprisingly yummy. Our go-to options are the cucumber, lotus root, bean sprouts, kelp, beancurd strips and oyster mushrooms, tossed with lashings of vinegar and chili. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. From $4.50.
15. Kong ba bao at 40 Hands
Some of the meanest kong ba bao we’ve ever had. We’re talking serious rib-sticking pork belly that’s deliciously fatty and braised till meltingly tender in an addictive mouth-tingling spicy sauce. $7.50.
16. Chocolate cupcake at Plainvanilla
Not usually ones for cupcakes, we’ll make an exception for the goods here, specifically the ones with dark chocolate ganache topped with cocoa nibs. $3.20.
17. Greek toastoo at &Made by Bruno Ménard
While most people are ordering up the burgers (make no mistake, they’re damn fine; especially The 3 Little Pigs), it’s the understated Greek toastoo that we hanker after. The buckwheat crêpe sandwich houses a most satisfying filling of feta cheese, black olives, smoked chicken cubes and sundried tomato. Mmm… $15.
18. Pan-seared foie gras with duck at Forest
Chef Sam Leong fuses the best flavors of the east and the west in delectable mouthfuls of pan-seared foie gras with smoked duck breast on homemade crispy beancurd skin. $26.
19. French onion soup at Parsley & Thyme
Head to this non-descript shophouse for an oldie but goodie, a rich and comforting bowl of French onion soup with grilled Gruyère and Emmental cheese crostini. $12.
20. Kegani tofu at Fat Cow
Simple? Indeed. But this well-executed house-made crab tofu is amazingly silken and the pure flavor is enhanced with a truffle dressing. $22.
21. Beet burger at Skyve Bistro & Bar
One of the finest burgers in town, and it’s vegetarian to boot. The soy-based beet patty is char-grilled and hearty enough even for meat lovers; accompanied by a heaped mountain of truffle fries for good measure. $32.
22. Caramel cheesecake at Obolo Galéria
We love cheesecake and we truly adore salted caramel, so this little number, topped with a mini macaron, really is a happy marriage in our book. $7.50.
23. Parma ham focaccina at OTTO Locanda
Sandwich streaks of prosciutto, mushroom slices and stracchino cheese in a crisp focaccina: stunning. $24.
24. Bo bap thau at Little Saigon Bar & Restaurant
Exactly what the doctor ordered on a hot summer’s day.This refreshing and light sliced beef salad comes with star fruit, onion, basil, laksa leaves and roasted peanuts. $17.
25. Sticky date pudding at Pantry at the Stables
Irresistibly stodgy and dense, this hot pudding with vanilla bean ice cream is one combo we won’t soon tire of. $14.
26. Chilled durian at Majestic Restaurant
Take some top-notch mao shan wang durian, purée then chill it. Finally, drizzle on some oh-so-aromatic gula melaka; enjoy. $10.
27. Scones at Tea Lounge
They serve up some of the most delish scones (we favor the blackcurrant ones), accompanied by Devonshire clotted cream, lemon curd and a selection of different fruit jams and marmalades; as well as an impressive collection of teas to sip on, too. We’ve been known to wile away entire Sundays here. From $38 as part of an afternoon tea set.
28. Quenelle de poisson at Brasserie Gavroche
A homage to his grandpa Henri, chef/owner Frédéric Colin makes these unusual (in Singapore at least) fish quenelles swimming in a full-flavored, aromatic crayfish sauce. $34.
29. Le Petit Cancale at Le Petit Cancale
Their signature chilled seafood platter showcases delectables like freshly shucked Fine de Claire n° 3 and Normandes n° 4 oysters from Cancale, Brittany crab, clams, whelks, winkles, langoustines and shrimp, served with a yummy array of sauces. $90.
30. Dakgalbi at Big Mama Korean Restaurant
Spicy chicken cooked a la minute with a secret homemade sauce, a medley of vegetables and some of the springiest topokki (rice cakes) we’ve had since our last trip to Seoul. $15/person, minimum two people.
31. Pork belly at Loola’s by Awfully Chocolate
It takes time to braise then pan-sear pork belly, but the result is a most happy one indeed; particularly when it’s escorted by crisp lotus root chips and bubble & squeak. $28.
32. Foie gras at Osia
Just about everyone has a pan-seared foie dish on their menu, but chef Scott Webster from Down Under elevates his by first crusting it in polenta then frying it till it’s crisp for extra texture, before pairing it with seasonal (occasionally native Australian) fruits for sweetness. $32.
33. Lemon meringue at Pollen
Sure, it’s gorgeous to behold, but it’s what this dessert of crispy and burnt lemon meringue with cucumber sorbet does in your mouth that’s so magical, thanks to talented pastry chef Andres Lara. $16.
34. Beef Wellington at Wooloomooloo Steakhouse
Few spots are brave enough to make this ambitious dish, so we can’t help but notice when they do it well. It’s a big, hearty serve, but you’ll finish every last morsel. $66.
35. Chili crab dip at Loof
It takes balls (and big ones) to make an iconic dish like chili crab and serve it as bar food. Fried mantou come with, so you can soak up all that sweet and spicy crab goodness. $16.
36. Truffle Crack & Cheese at Broadcast HQ
Just ridiculously addictive mac & cheese (Gruyère), accentuated with more than a hint of black truffle. $16.
37. Foie gras terrine at db Bistro Moderne
An unbelievably smooth foie gras terrine’s made even better when smeared on buttery homemade brioche and slightly sweet quince paste. $28.
38. Grilled eel and foie gras at The Disgruntled Chef
We didn’t expect grilled unagi to pair so brilliantly with foie gras, but it does. Daikon, fresh nashi pear and apple chips complete the we-can’t-get-enough effect. $26.
39. Kushikatsu at HAN
Sure, there’s sushi and sashimi on offer, but it’s Osaka specialty kushikatsu, deep-fried Japanese skewers, that’s the real star. Chef Seiichiro Arakawa fries up incredibly light, panko-crusted goodness such as eggplant topped with foie gras and sprinkled with truffle salt. From $75 for lunch and $120 for dinner.
40. Durian banana chocolate mousse cake at Goodwood Park Hotel
Durian lovers usually wait in anticipation for Goodwood Park Hotel’s legendary annual durian fiesta, and for good reason. The new creation that stole our hearts this year is the durian banana chocolate mousse cake, a seemingly unlikely combination of flavors that works marvelously.
41. Beef cheek at Open Door Policy
So amazingly tender, you can eat this with just a spoon. Then again, it is braised for 48 hours, so we’d expect nothing less. $29.
42. Stracciatella with bottarga at Latteria Mozzarella Bar
A real triumph of light, fresh and creamy stracciatella mozz atop roasted zucchini and rocket, crowned with bottarga. $20.
43. Bone marrow at Salt tapas & bar
We’re suckers for baked bone marrow, and this moreish rendition by Aussie celeb chef Luke Mangan is a delight—very well dressed with shiitake duxelles and air-dried olives. $16.
44. Treadfin fish curry at Lagnaa
A thick fish curry that’s flavorful and fragrant, but not cloying in the least. Best when eaten with fresh-made garlic naan. $15.
45. Crispy tofu at Restaurant Ember
We highly recommend chef/owner Sebastian Ng’s homemade crispy tofu with delish foie gras-mirin sauce. Don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to order seconds and thirds. $16.
46. French toast at Dean & Deluca
Seriously scrumptious cornflake-crusted brioche French toast, alongside salted caramelized bananas. NYC fave dirty chai latte, chai latte spiked with a shot of espresso, is a fab companion. $22.
47. Bistecca Fiorentina at Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse
If you’re game, their signature Fiorentina is the way to go. A hefty 1-1.2kg T-bone steak of (marble score six) Aussie Wagyu that’s skillfully charred on the outside and nicely pink inside; brilliant. $178.
48. Banh xeo at Annam Vietnamese Restaurant
This sizzling golden brown pancake with prawns and pork is delightfully crisp, while bean sprouts add a nice crunch. It’s a good-sized portion, but you’ll still find yourself fighting over it with your dining companions. $26.
49. Clam chowder at Luke’s Oyster Bar & Chop House
A perfect example of what clam chowder should be, this creamy New England-style version comes with nuggets of littleneck clams and potato cubes. So yummy and comforting, you’ll find yourself slurping up every last drop. $17.
50. Nasi lemak with chicken curry at Wok & Barrel
We’re big fans of chef-owner Shen Tan’s lemak coconut-scented rice, particularly when paired with a luscious chicken curry and fiery, zingy sambal (all homemade, but of course). $8.90 for lunch and $10.80 for dinner.