Welcome to Singapore, one of the world’s great food destinations, where eating—and eating well—is a time-honored national pastime. Here you can splurge on haute cuisine from Michelin-starred chefs in some of the best fine-dining restaurants in Asia, or dig into fragrant bowls oflaksa (a spicy noodle soup) and heaping plates of char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodle
strips) at one of the island’s famous hawker centers. The wide range of food and restaurants is what brings many travelers to Singapore in the first place, and few leave disappointed. In most cities the plan of attack is to map out must-see sights to pack in as much as possible; in Singapore it's often more about maximizing your meals and eating until it hurts—and then trying to fit in some more.
You hardly ever have to go far to find one of Singapore’s casual eating houses and hawker centers, which are fun, budget-friendly places to taste as many local specialties as your stomach can handle. The city-state’s indomitable megamalls are loaded with mid-range restaurants, sprawling food courts, and snack stands. Many of the island’s more upscale restaurants are tucked away in posh hotels, and many of the newer and trendier places are inside restored Chinese shophouses and once-abandoned colonial buildings. Note that upscale restaurants often close in the afternoon between lunch and dinner—from 2:30 to 6:30, for instance.