Singapore is known for being economically successful, but this thriving city-state is equally prosperous when it comes to embracing culture and diversity; cultures coexist in every neighborhood, so diversity is omnipresent.
Chowing down on pungent Indian flavors was my top priority. We ate at Tekka Center in Little India, where packed tables run between small, silver food stalls. There’s much more than just Indian food, but… when in Little India! I waited in the longest line for a heaping tray of mutton biriyani for only $5, and I was reminded that little else is as satisfying as a belly full of Indian food.
The next day, we worked our way to another cultural hub: Kampong Glam, the old Arab quarter. As I looked down Bussorah walking Street, I was impressed by the beautiful gold dome of Sultan Mosque, but the variety of restaurants really dazzled me: a Turkish Mediterranean restaurant sat caddy corner to an Indian Restaurant, neither of which were far from Lebanese and Egyptian restaurants.
I hadn’t seen anything until lively Clarke Quay, where a medley of international cuisine coils its way along the Singapore River. Singaporean chili crab, Spanish tapas, Vietnamese spring rolls, Scottish Salmon, Chinese dim sum, Japanese gyozas, Thai tom yum, Indonesian nasi goreng, and American burgers with fries, oh my! After careful consideration, we happily ate Persian falafel kebabs with the aroma of Italian pizza wafting from next door. If this isn’t a multicultural food scene, I don’t know what is.
From Clarke Quay to Chinatown Food Street, from hawker stalls to Kampong Glam and Little India- in just a few days, I had eaten delectable meals pulled directly from every corner of the world.
This surprised me the most: despite Singapore being expensive in many ways, there are plenty of food spots where you can get a lot of bang for your buck.
I get it- Asian countries love their homogenous cultures and specialty foods, but THANK YOU SINGAPORE for having it all; your diversity felt like a breath of fresh air. It was enriching and inspiring to spend time in place where an array of cultures, languages, religions, and foods mix and mingle. Singapore’s food choices are a delicious reflection of its diversity and our global, multicultural world.