Celebrity food blogger K. F. Seetoh wrote Makansutra, the go-to guidebook to the city's renowned hawker food stalls. He lives in Geylang, Singapore's red-light district, which is also home to the best local chefs: world-class cooks that have impressed world-class chefs like Ferran Adria and had rave reviews from Anthony Bourdain. Be prepared to eat in alleys on cheap stools at large plastic tables that you'll likely share with some questionable characters. But you're not in Geylang for the decor: Eating here, Seetoh says, is where you'll find the true taste of Singapore.
"Geylang is the unofficial food capital of Singapore – if the kitchen doesn't smell, you know the food sucks. Only in the hands of a wok master [at J.B.AH Meng Kitchen] can three simple ingredients taste so good: pepper, potato and eggplant. The white pepper chili crab is the best in the city. And the fried prawn, this is the dish that blew Ferran away, it's the salted egg yolk batter.
"For Singapore comfort food, get the fried-oyster omelete, it's flavoured with Chinese wine and fish sauce and hokkein mee [noodles fried in a seafood soup] at Swee Guan Hokkein Mee. And if you want to eat seafood where Ferran keeps coming back to – come here. [Sin Huat Eating House]. It's so fresh, the crabs and the frogs. Danny Lee is local hawker chef. We don't eat stars here, we eat food."
Find the food stalls: J.B.AH Meng Kitchen, 23 Geylang Rd., 2 Lorong; Swee Guan Hokkein Mee, 549 Geyland Rd, Lorong 29; Sin Huat Eating House, 659-661 Geyland Rd., Lorong 35.