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Singapore — the tropical city-state located at the southern tip of Malaysia — is known for many things, whether it be its financial prowess, its multicultural makeup or its hot tropical climate. The tiny country (with an area of just roughly 720 sq. km.) has established itself as a hub at the forefront of not only technology and finance, but in the creative sector in Asia as well. As an ex-British colony, Singapore experienced exponential growth in its 51 years of independence, solidifying itself as one of the biggest metropolises in Asia.
But Singapore is home to more than just the iconic Marina Bay Sands. Its lush, natural landscapes and jaggedly futuristic landmarks have become a breeding ground for some of today’s most talented urban photographers. The country’s focus on the arts has also seen the development of the National Gallery — the architecturally stunning museum that became one of Asia’s top destinations for art and culture. Despite the city’s hot climate, an eye for what’s cool coupled with a landscape friendly to entrepreneurs have forged the way for plenty of independent shops and trendy cafes serving both local and international creatives.
The predominantly English-speaking country is also particularly receptive and aware of Western trends, and the city’s youth are as tapped-into the latest hip-hop music or streetwear movements as those in the U.S. When Kanye West surprised fans with The Life of Pablo pop-up shops around the world, Singapore was the only Asian city to make that list. Virgil Abloh also picked the city as a destination for a flagship OFF-WHITE store. It’s no wonder that Singapore is home to some streetwear stalwarts — from Mark Ong (or better known as sneaker customizer SBTG) to Choo Ee, who runs streetwear blog and creative agency Streething. We also spoke to Mandeep Chopra, the man behind Limited Edt. sneaker stores (which are a frequent haunt for those lining up for the latest Yeezys or the rarest kicks) and Earn Chen, who founded The Salvages. Aside from these names, we also enlisted photographer Lee Yik Keat, singer Tabitha Nauser and New Balance’s Eugene Yeo to give their top picks for their hometown.
Three Buns. Possibly the best burger in town.
36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089143
This one’s tough. Singapore is a food lover’s paradise! At the moment it would be Pizzeria Mozza at Marina Bay Sands – amazing pizza by chef Mario Batali and a great ambiance (especially for date night)!
10 Bayfront Avenue, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 248780
Hit up the nostalgic Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant for local seafood and Zi Char (homestyle local Chinese cuisine). It’s situated in an old-school 1920s bungalow which used to face the beachfront before the coastline was reclaimed. This stretch used to be dotted with seafood restaurants when I was living in the area as a kid in the 1980s.
462 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 466508
In the sea of hipster cafes flooding the city, PS. Café would be one of the OG’s. Perfect decor, no frills, not pretentious, never fails me. Please order the sticky date pudding and turkey ham sandwich with brie.
Multiple locations, flagship at 45 Ann Siang Hill
My favourite restaurant is Aoki by Les Amis Group. It is a joint venture between its owner and chef Kunio Aoki and the Les Amis Group. All the seafood is carefully handpicked by their dedicated buyer and flown directly from Tsukiji market so the quality is assured. I would recommend the Mazechirashi bowl in which every bite has a different flavor.
1 Scotts Road, #01-19 Shaw Centre, Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208
Hillman, a Chinese casual dining restaurant that I have been going to since I was a kid and never get tired of. It’s like home-cooked food but the tastiest home-cooked food.
135 Kitchener Road, Singapore 208518
The observation deck of Marina Bay Sands. On one side you can see the entire skyline, with the river as the foreground, on the other is the futuristic Gardens By The Bay against Singapore Strait. Not to mention the famous view of the infinity pool against the city’s skyline.
10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
CÉ LA VI SINGAPORE, a rooftop club and bar on top the Marina Bay Sands hotel which is the poster shot of Singapore – also known as the Skypark. I never get tired of the view and never fails to make me proud to be Singaporean.
1 Bayfront Avenue, SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, Tower 3
Check out an alternate night view of our cityscape at Lepark. It offers a view of Chinatown and the central business district.
People’s Park Complex Level 6. 1 Park Road
Take a walk to Marina Barrage in the evening (in order not to be roasted) and you can catch one of the best view of the city during golden hours.
8 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018951
8 Marina Blvd, #33-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1
There’s a building at Enggor Street in the central business district. The rooftop has the best view of the Tanjong Pagar port.
Enggor Street, Singapore
There is really no one! Joy Carrot Cake at Kim San Leng in Bishan. Springleaf Prata. Oyster Omelette along Tampines Avenue 4. Chicken Rice at Katong Shopping Center. The list goes on…
Joy Carrot Cake: Kim San Leng in Bishan.
Springleaf Prata: Multiple Locations
Oyster Omelettes: Tampines Avenue 4
Chicken Rice: Katong Shopping Center
Zion 91 An Shun Fish Soup – the best fish soup I’ve ever had in my life. Uses only fresh non-frozen fish.
I go to this spot next to my house for lunch every Saturday and I buy another two servings to go for my dinner!
#01-1197, Bee Chow Hng Eating House, 206 Toa Payoh North, 310206
There are too many so I am going to name three of them. The best for wonton noodle is Nam Seng Noodles & Fried Rice. The best for Hainanese curry rice is Loo’s Hainanese Curry. Lastly, the best for Singapore Prawn Mee is Noo Cheng Adam Road Prawn Noodle.
Nam Seng Noodles & Fried Rice: 25 China Street, #01-01 Far East Square
Loo’s Hainanese Curry: #01-88, Tai Kwang Huat Coffee Shop, 57 Eng Hoon Street
Noo Cheng Adam Road Prawn Noodle: Zion Riverside Food Centre, 70 Zion Road, Stall 4
Lagoon Leng Kee Beef Kway Teow. This is my parents’ favorite beef noodle stall. The broth is amazing and the effort to prepare each bowl is carried out with the utmost care once ordered. They only do a soup version, so don’t ask for a dry one!
1220 East Coast Parkway. #01-33 East Coast Lagoon Food Village.
There are two Michelin-starred hawker stalls in Singapore. Singapore is best known for our street food. Depending on what you like, Chinese, Malay, Indian… rice or noodles. Personally, I like this minced pork noodle store at Tiong Bahru called Hua Bee. The taste is quite bland and not overpowering. This is my go-to spot at least twice a week.
#01-19, 78 Moh Guan Terrace, 162078
Alexandra Village Claypot Laksa – you don’t have to even add the chili for a flavorful spicy broth.
Blk 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-75 , Alexandra Village, Alexandra Village Branch
Block 85 Bedok Hawker center has all the local flavors you need, from wanton noodles, satay sticks, stingrays to carrot cake. I recommend having a small bowl of Bak Chor Mee (minced pork meat noodles) with sides like chicken wings and satay/rojak.
85 Bedok North Street 4
Head to Bugis for a wide range of items available, it has two shopping malls and just opposite is Bugis Street Market which sells cheap clothing, electronics and gadgets.
3 New Bugis Street
For the best footwear offerings pay a visit to our sneaker alum Leftfoot and Limited Edt. If you’re looking for some quirky souvenirs, visit my friends, Antoinette and Stanley, at The Little Drom Store for their range of strangely Singaporean-inspired knickknacks.
Leftfoot: 8 Grange Road, Orchard Cineleisure. #02-07A
Limited Edt: 313 Orchard Road #04-13/14
The Little Drom Store:Sota (School Of The Arts), 1 Zubir Said Drive, #02-01
Leftfoot never fails to surprise their customers with the crazy assortment of footwear. Do take sometime to zoom in and out on the hundreds of footwear SKUs in-store. For lifestyle and apparel items, hit up Supplies & Co. It’s tucked away in the quieter part of Orchard Road. One of the few stores left in the city that still remind us brick-and-mortar still matter in the retail world.
Leftfoot: 8 Grange Road, Orchard Cineleisure, #02-07A
Supplies & Co.:Park House 21 Orchard Boulevard 1-23
Supplies & Co. It’s opened by my homeboy Danny Tan and it’s a furniture/design and lifestyle store with a great selection of brands that’s catered to the discerning individual.
Park House 21 Orchard Boulevard 1-23
My new favorite is the OFF-WHITE store; it gives you an amazing shopping experience.
268 Orchard Road – Unit #01-01.
There are a few stores at Peninsula Shopping Centre which I have been going there since my teens. This is the place to go if you’re into punk, bands, skate, etc. Nothing has changed much since the ’80s. It’s like a time capsule in there. You can still find some vintage Dickies, Toy Machine and other skate brands, etc.
3 Coleman St.
“Bo jio,” a Hokkien phrase which means didn’t/never invite. For example if you are at a party with other friends and you didn’t inform another friend about it, he/she can say “why you bo jio.”
“Chialak” – can mean a lot, like oh damn, or this is really bad.
“Cannot Make It,” means to try, but fall far short of any acceptable standard. Applicable to both people and objects.
“Yaya Papaya” which means arrogant. You can say, “Stop being ‘yaya-papaya’ just because you got featured on HYPEBEAST.”
“Relak Lah.” Broken down it could be translated to chill out man. However, “Relak Lah” has a more casual and endearing tone to it. We use it all time everyday.
“Okay can.” It’s basically saying “yeah i got this!” It’s super positive and I love that.
“Shiok!” It’s the most common word used and it’s distinctively Singaporean. It means “LIT” in modern terms.
A cup of teh tarik peng (“pulled” iced milk tea).
Buy an old school ice cream sandwich from the street for $1. It will be be best $1 you have ever spent.
It’s mad hot and humid here so grab an ice cold bowl of Cheng Tng – a refreshing local dessert with a mashup of ingredients. Available at most dessert stalls in food courts and hawker centers, but to me, the best one is at No Name Cheng Tng stall.
Blk 69 Bedok South Avenue 3
Ice cream from the ice cream trucks or ice kacang!