Singapore's food scene is a vibrant tapestry of diversity, offering culinary delights that reflect its multicultural heritage. Influenced by Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Peranakan cultures, the Lion City boasts a harmonious blend of flavours, textures, and aromas. From hawker centres and street food stalls; to high-end restaurants and private dining spots, wondering about what's there to eat is never a problem — the only question is where?
With local favourites and beloved staples such as Hainanese chicken rice, bak kut teh, laksa, chilli crab, and roti prata, MICHELIN starred, Bib Gourmand, and selected restaurants definitely bring the dining scene to greater heights. With a strong emphasis on quality, cleanliness, and food safety, Singapore is deemed a global culinary destination, where locals and tourists both flock to indulge in a tantalising array of dishes that epitomise the melting pot of cultures that defines the Lion City.
And with the recent release of the MICHELIN Guide Singapore 2023, five new restaurants are newly awarded with one MICHELIN star, including Singapore's first-ever Green Star restaurant; and 19 new establishments are awarded with a Bib Gourmand.
If you're out to discover these 24 newly awarded restaurants in the MICHELIN Guide, here's a cheat sheet with our inspectors' notes to get you started!
Housed in the quirky and historic Jinrikisha Station (a former rickshaw depot circa 1903), Born boasts a modern dining room adorned by glowing double arches, a high glass ceiling, and an ethereal paper sculpture by Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar, which reflects the chef's philosophy on life.
Speaking of the chef, Zor Tan — a protégé of André Chiang’s and having filled in the shoes of Sichuan Moon's and RAW's executive chef — cooks up a tasting menu inspired by the circle of life and his personal journey. He presents dishes that meld French gastronomy with Chinese cooking. Plates at Born are served with creative themes and crafted with globally sourced ingredients, delivering contrasts in textures and flavours.
Poise is awarded one MICHELIN star this 2023 for its tasting menu that reinvents European and Nordic classics that seem unassuming but pack flavourful punches with every bite. Laced with clever and creative combinations, as well as a nuanced layering of textures and flavours, Steve Lancaster chooses to present his culinary gems in a monochromatic room with theatrical lighting to call attention to the food.
What stood out to our MICHELIN Guide inspectors was the Chicken, Bacon, and Onion dish, which constitutes a chicken lollipop stuffed with chicken mousse, set atop a shallot purée made with bacon and onion, which imparts complexity in flavour.
Awarded with Singapore's first-ever Green Star award is Seroja, which was opened in 2022 by Kevin Wong, an alum of prestigious establishments in France, the U.S., and in Singapore.
Hailing from Klang in Malaysia, Wong pledges his love for the Malay Archipelago through his seafood-focused tasting menus that pay tribute to Malaysian culinary traditions. A generous use of local produce, spices, and techniques is exhibited in his dishes; the plating is meticulous and artful, and the flavours are subtle and finely balanced.
When it comes to exercising a sustainable thumb, Wong shares that he and the Seroja team ensure nothing goes to waste, as much as possible, with discarded odds and ends such as vegetable trimmings finding a renewed purpose in non-alcoholic beverages. Seroja also has their own compost and has a vegetable garden on the 36th floor of the same building as the restaurant.
Presenting a simple yet elegant space with a 10-seat counter made from a 200-year-old cypress tree from Nara, Japan, is Sushi Sakuta.
Chef-owner Yoshio Sakuta works closely with the all-Japanese kitchen team, creating a season-driven omakase menu based on sushi and Japanese fish, plus premium items like caviar and truffles. Prior to opening his debut sushi-ya, Sakuta has gained over twenty years of experience in the craft, working in establishments in Japan and Singapore, including two-MICHELIN-starred Shoukouwa.
Also newly awarded this year is Willow, a seafood-focused restaurant along Hong Kong Street. Willow is the debut restaurant of Singaporean chef Nicolas Tam, who has worked in a slew of prestigious kitchens. His solid French techniques come through in his pan-Asian tasting menu, featuring mostly fresh, Japanese produce such as amadai, and sporting refinement, precision, and balance. Served and introduced by the chefs themselves, the courses flow seamlessly and build upon each other.
Located in Adam Food Centre, Adam Rd Noo Cheng Big Prawn Noodle serves prawn mee using a recipe inherited from the owner’s father. Opt for the “dry” noodles tossed in prawn paste of your desired spice level, alongside a bowl of prawn soup. The prawn mee cooked à la minute and toppings like pig skin are available to lend contrasting textures to the dish.
Also located in Adam Food Centre, this mutton soup stall has been serving its secret mutton soup recipe since 1973. The broth is rich, dense, and full of herbal flavours. Apart from the popular leg, also try other lamb cuts. Bread is available to mop up the broth, as well as biryani, for those in the mood for rice.
Perfect to slurp on, especially on a rainy day, this fish soup stall located in the Whampoa Market Place serves sliced fish bee hoon (rice vermicelli) that comes in a flavourful, milky fish stock, with fried garlic bits for extra fragrance and crunch. According to our inspectors, also worth trying here are the tom yam soup, seafood soup, and fried fish head bee hoon.
Situated in the Geylang Bahru Market & Food Centre, Cheok Kee is famous for its soy-marinated duck that boasts velvety flesh. The duck sits on a bed of steamed rice perfumed by duck fragrance. It comes with chilli vinegar that aptly cuts through the richness, and an aromatic duck soup made with Chinese herbs.
Featuring two varieties of tu tu kueh, Du Du Shou Shi, located in Jurong West 505 Market & Food Centre carries two varieties of the treat — coconut and peanut. The steamed rice cake is chewy and springy on the outside; while both fillings are nutty, sweet, and aromatic. Of course, they are best enjoyed piping hot!
Positioned in the famous Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, Heng Kee was founded in the 1970s and is currently operated by its second-generation owner. The stall’s hallmark dishes are mild, well-balanced curry broth, custom-made tofu puffs and fish cakes, as well as generous helpings of velvety chicken.
Also located in Geylang Bahru Market & Food Centre, Hui Wei Chilli Ban Mian serves ribbon noodles with “soup” or “dry” options. The latter is tossed in home-made chilli sauce and topped with minced meat, meatballs, poached egg, and fried lard. You can also opt for e-fu or ramen noodles instead.
This chicken rice stall has been a selected establishment in the MICHELIN Guide Singapore in the previous years, and this year, it is awarded a Bib Gourmand. Located at the Chong Pang Market and Food Centre, Ji De Lai Hainanese Chicken Rice is recognised for its reasonably priced chicken rice sets that come served with either roasted or steamed chicken, rice, soup, and vegetables.
Having been in the business for over five decades, Kok Sen moved to another spot on the same street in 2022. Seats may be a bit cramped, but the new space has a nice feel to it. Round tables and green booth seats work well with a grey colour scheme and pale wood. Signature zhi char classics are listed in colourful light-boxes — signatures such as the Claypot Yong Tau Foo and Bitter-gourd Black Bean Sauce with Fish Meat are simply not to be missed. Some seasonal dishes may need to be pre-ordered, so plan your trip in advance if you want to make the most out of it.
This mainstay at the Newton Food Centre has over 40 years of history, making boneless braised duck that is tender, juicy, and flavoursome. It can be served with rice, congee, or noodles. Other dishes such as Hainanese chicken and char siew are also available.
Located in the 51 Old Airport Road Market, Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee has been serving just one item since it opened in 1960 — what else but Hokkien fried mee with prawns. The egg noodles and rice vermicelli are tossed in a rich broth made with prawn shells and tomalley to impart deep umami with every bite.
Along Zion Road lies this flocked-upon stall that serves kway teow noodles that are fried to order, topped with fish cake and cockles. The wok hei is impressive, with robust flavours and a hint of spiciness, while the cockles lend some brininess extra umami. The wait can be long, but it is well worth it.
Now run by its third-generation owners, Selamat Datang Warong Pak Sapari located in Adam Food Centre is famous for its mee soto and mee rebus, both of which are rich in bold, authentic Malaysian flavours. The former is served in broth, while the latter is served in a thick gravy soup. A pro tip from our inspectors: add more coriander for extra fragrance.
Another Hokkien Mee stall to try, this one located at the Whampoa Market Place is famous for its version made with rice vermicelli and yellow egg noodles, which are topped with prawns and squid for umami. Each serving of noodles is made even better with a helping of spicy home-made chilli sauce.
Located in the North Bridge Road Market & Food Centre, Soon Huat serves both “dry” or “soup” noodles, topped with butterflied prawns, fish cake, bean sprouts, and fried garlic. The delectable prawn soup on the side is also a treat. Not a fan of prawns? Try the pork rib noodles instead.
According to our inspectors, the is the place to come for a comforting bowl of soup. The broth is flavourful and sweet, and the spinach is crisp and fresh. You can also order stuffed tofu or seafood on top, or add mee tai mak for some starchiness.
Tai Seng Fish Soup, located in Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre, is a third-generation family business, which prides itself on its delicious fish soup made from scratch, served with sliced fish, deep-fried fish, or fish head. Complete your meal with noodles, rice, or congee on the side!
Now housed in a whitewashed traditional shophouse, The Coconut Club evokes tropical vibes with wicker-back chairs, wallpaper with banana leaf prints, and cheerful blue-and-white tiled flooring. The coconut theme is obvious on the menu — with the nasi lemak set as the best seller, other dishes like ayam goreng berempah (spiced fried chicken with crispy rempah crumbs); and sago pudding with pandan, palm sugar, and coconut cream deserve equal attention, too.
Lastly, Yong Chun Wan Ton Noodle serves a good bowl of wan ton mee. The owner has his springy eggy noodles tailor-made, and our inspectors share that they are best enjoyed in its “dry” form — blanched and dressed in a savoury sweet sauce. The wonton with minced pork that accompanies each bowl of noodles is fresh and firm.