Jamie L.T. Mapa

Correspondent

  • Singapore, Asia

Jamie L.T. Mapa is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent based in Singapore. A native New Yorker raised under the influence of the Filipino “big fork and spoon,” Mapa brings a unique perspective to the southeast Asian food and social scene. She graduated from New York University and has honed her investigative and writing skills at ABC News, in addition to freelance writing on Asian sociopolitical topics. While Singapore is her base, Mapa often visits the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. Interests outside of travel include dance, baking, running along the Singapore River and a never-ending quest to find the perfect slice of pizza in the Far East.

  • On May 21, 2013
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  • On May 21, 2013
    Jamie L.T. Mapa answered the question: Jamie L.T. Mapa

    What are the best Singapore food experiences?

    Singapore is a 'foodie' heaven attracting epicureans worldwide to sample its decadent local cuisine. The country represents a diverse mix of southeast asian cultures evident in its fusion of local staples including chicken rice, chili crab, laksa, char kway teow, roti prata and carrot cake. What is the ultimate local food experience and one place where visitors can sample all of Singapore's famous gastronomical pleasures? The hawker center.

    Hawker centers are open-air complexes housing a multitude of stalls, each with their own speciality. These centers were first created in the 1950s-60s in urban areas as an inexpensive food option for the less affluent. Fast forward to the present and, while this food alternative is still quite economical, it is acknowledged by locals and foreigners alike that hawker centers offer diners the most authentic, traditional and delicious local Singaporean delights in the country.

    Please keep in mind that each local resident will have their own favorite stall and hawker depending on the dish, resulting in quite a lengthy debate. Instead of recommending the best chicken rice stall here, please find the most well known hawker centers in the country worth visiting.  At these recommended hawkers, there are certainly enough delicious and satisfying options where you can sample a variety of dishes and choose your own favorite one:
    • Old Airport Road Food Centre: Old Airport Road near Mountbatten MRT station and not far from Singapore's Indoor Stadium
    • Chomp Chomp Food Centre: located centrally in Serangoon
    • Maxwell Road: Maxwell Road near Chinatown
    • Hong Lim: Chinatown near Upper Hokien and Upper Cross Streets
    • Tiong Bahru Market: Seng Poh Road located in between Tiong Bahru and Outram Park MRT stations
    • Golden Mile: Beach Road near Bugis MRT station and Arab Street
    • Amoy Street: Amoy Street near Tanjong Pagar MRT station and located near the financial district
  • On May 21, 2013
    Jamie L.T. Mapa answered the question: Jamie L.T. Mapa

    What should I pack for a trip to Singapore?

    With its equatorial location, Singapore experiences a consistent tropical climate year round with hardly any seasonal differences like autumn and winter.  Humidity is high (70-90%) with day temperatures averaging 32 degrees celsius (89 degrees fahrenheit) slightly dropping to an average of 26 degrees celsius (79 degrees fahrenheit) at night.  While rainfall occurs almost daily throughout the year, December through March is known as Northeast Monsoon Season and is the wettest time to visit.  June through September is typically the driest stretch during the year with sporadic rain.

    Light weather attire such as shorts, tank tops, cotton shirts, short-sleeved polos, linens and summer dresses are recommended clothing when visiting.  Flip flops/sandals are daily wear for men and women and if dining or going out on the town at night, remember to pack a pair of dress shoes and button down shirts for gentlemen.  A great way to view the country is by taking a stroll or going for a run along the Singapore river; packing a pair of comfortable walking or jogging sneakers is advisable.  Since the climate is hot year round and with Sentosa Beach nearby, do not forget to bring your beach/swimming gear.  Travel accessories worth considering include a camera, sunscreen, bugspray, an umbrella (which most hotels will accommodate) and hair supplies (such as hairspray or gel).
  • On May 21, 2013
    Jamie L.T. Mapa answered the question: Jamie L.T. Mapa

    What’s the best time to visit Singapore?

    Singapore is a vibrant city all year round with events taking place monthly.  There are, nonetheless, certain annual activities you can plan your visit around including the:
    • Singapore Grand Prix also known as Formula 1 race which attracts mainstream musical acts and visitors worldwide (Singapore is contracted to host through 2017);
    • Great Singapore Sale offers eight weeks of value deals at retail shops countrywide coinciding with the Singapore International Jewelry Expo.  This time of year offers special tourist privileges with May 31-July 28, 2013 marking its 20th anniversary;
    • Singapore Food Festival: Singapore local cuisine is renowned around the globe representing a melting pot of southeast asian delights.  It's only fitting that the country displays their culinary skills and artistry at a food festival typically held in June or July.  This year likewise marks the festival’s 20th anniversary from July 12th-21st at Marina Bay;
    • Christmas in the Tropics: while Singaporeans may not experience a true 'white Christmas', the country still celebrates with well-known carols, extravagant decorations and a marvelous light show during a month long festival in December when Orchard Road beams red, green and white. 

    The annual Chingay Parade takes place during Chinese New Year, however it’s also important to note that most retail shops and restaurants close for two days during this holiday.  Chinese New Year is in January or February depending on the lunar calendar.
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