Answers from Our Experts (1)
If you only have one day to see Singapore, start off with a meal at Maxwell Road Hawker Centre. A strong cup of sock-brewed kopi (coffee) and some banana and yam fritters should tide you over until you come across your next food stall. If you’re adventurous enough, try the savory sliced raw fish congee.
Spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon experiencing Singapore’s three major cultural groups’ way of life. Starting at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum across the street in Chinatown, this Tang Dynasty-style building is said to house the left canine tooth of the Lord Buddha. It was found in 1980 in a collapsed stupa in Myanmar. Afterward, leave this gold and red building to peruse the shophouse-lined streets for snacks and souvenirs.
At the beginning of Temple Street sits the oldest Hindu temple in the country — the Sri Mariamman Temple. Founded in 1827 by government clerk Nariana Pillai, the entrance to this house of worship was initially made of wood and attap. Take your shoes off, step in and observe a lunch prayer session. On the next street is Masjid Jamae (Jamae Mosque), one of the earliest mosques to be constructed in Singapore. Non-Muslims are discouraged from entering this sanctuary, but feel free to take pictures beneath the onion-topped octagonal minarets.
When through exploring, have lunch at Spring Court, Singapore’s oldest family-run Chinese restaurant. Now housed in a four-story banquet space, it has retained its traditional wooden chairs and elegant carpeted rooms with fabric-covered furniture and vaulted ceilings. Open since 1929, this Chinatown restaurant is best known for its crisp-skinned Peking duck.
After your meal, make your way to Clarke Quay. Wander through the shops along the river as you walk down toward Boat Quay and the Fullerton Hotel, a former post office. Do a tour at the Asian Civilisations Museum or go through the free art exhibits and mini museum in the lobby of the Fullerton Hotel.
Before the sun sets, head up to the Marina Bay Sands’ observation deck to watch the star dip under the horizon. Have dinner at regional celebrity chef Justin Quek’s restaurant Sky on 57. At Quek’s panoramic restaurant, hawker food — the street eats you had at breakfast — is prepared with luxury ingredients, plated in European style and paired with wines from all over the world.